Cover: Early Main Group Metal Catalysis by Sjoerd Harder

Early Main Group Metal Catalysis

Concepts and Reactions



Edited by
Sjoerd Harder








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Print ISBN: 978-3-527-34448-2

ePDF ISBN: 978-3-527-81801-3

ePub ISBN: 978-3-527-81803-7

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Tá an leabhar seo tiomnaithe do ghrá mo chroí Nollaig agus Darragh James


I remember having mixed feelings when Wiley-VCH approached me about editing a book on early main group metal catalysis. On the one hand, I was very excited, because the well-known blue/white Wiley-VCH books stand for quality in scientific publishing. An offer like this meant that the very young and emerging field of s-block metal catalysis has now matured to a discipline of its own. On the other hand, I knew it would be a tough and time-consuming challenge. Currently scientists are rated on successful research grants and the number and impact of scientific papers and therefore it would be hard to find committed authors.

Excitement apparently won from worries about stony roads. The book in your hands is the first monograph fully devoted to catalysis with early main group metals. It is a testimony to the very rapid developments in a field that is normally dominated by precious transition metals. When I started doing chemistry with the more exotic alkaline earth metals Ca, Sr, and Ba in the middle 1990s, I never could have dreamt that these metals catalyze stereoselective alkene polymerization or hydroamination, hydrosilylation, and even alkene hydrogenation. Transition-metal-free hydrogenation breaks the dogma that partially filled d-orbitals are needed for C=C bond activation. Now, more than 20 years later, the urge to replace precious metals by abundant elements is more critical than ever. In view of an exploding world population and increasing demands to share our rising welfare, thoughts about our planet's resources are a moral imperative. Sustainable chemistry not only needs renewable resources but also “green” catalysts based on metals that are not threatened to be depleted soon. Therefore, this publication could not have been launched more timely.

This single book does not have pretensions to be comprehensive – a series would be needed instead. It will, however, cover the most important aspects of early main group metal catalysis. It aims at not only specialists in the field but also beginners. The latter group will profit from the introductory chapter, which discusses the bare fundamentals of s-block chemistry and the working principles of its catalysts. Each of the chapters that follow deals with a specific topic. They aim to be educational rather than encyclopedic, describing major breakthroughs while emphasizing differences between early main group and transition metal catalysis. I am greatly indebted to the many authors who contributed to these specialist chapters. These experts in the field wrote from a personal perspective and their different styles give this book the vibrancy that typifies this field of research.

Although it is clear that s-block metal catalysis still has many shortcomings, there are nevertheless several interesting advantages that make it worthwhile to follow this path. During one of my visits to the TU Berlin, the late chemist Herbert Schumann professed that the ultimate goal should be to do catalysis with those elements you find in your backyard. I hope that this collection of reviews in early main group metal catalysis will inspire a larger group of researchers to join the club and look forward to the many future breakthroughs in this field!

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May 2019