T. T. Chao Symposium on Innovation

Conferences & Symposia
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
3:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m. EST (UTC -5)

Innovations in Sustainable Chemistry

The T. T. Chao Symposium on Innovation explores, celebrates, and encourages innovation and sustainability in the chemical sciences. This annual event brings together established and emerging leaders in the technical, entrepreneurial, healthcare, and policy arenas to share innovative ideas that address society’s needs in the 21st century.

This year’s virtual symposium will feature opening remarks by Albert Y. Chao, president and CEO of Westlake Chemical, and David Cole, president and CEO of the Science History Institute, who will moderate a panel discussion by green chemistry and sustainability experts.


Sustainable Sources of Clean Water

Daryl Boudreaux
Founding Director, Office of Technology Transfer, Rice University (retired)

Daryl Boudreaux is a physicist whose research is primarily focused in the areas of condensed matter physics and materials science. He has worked in both academic and business environments, both as a scientist and as an executive. He is now retired and living in Philadelphia.

Mechanochemistry: Catalyzing the Future of Sustainable Synthesis

James D. Batteas
D. Wayne Goodman Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University

James Batteas is the D. Wayne Goodman Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU). He earned a BS in chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin in 1990 and a PhD in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995. He is an expert in materials chemistry of surfaces and interfaces, with research activities spanning a broad range of fundamental surface and interfacial phenomena. These include studies of charge transport in organic molecular assemblies on surfaces, measured by scanning tunneling microscopy and modeled by density functional theory, nanoparticle catalysis, plasmonics, tribology, “smart” surfaces, and self-organizing nanoscale materials for device applications in optoelectronics and chemical sensing. His research in tribology focuses on the bridge between chemistry and mechanics, were his lab conducts atomic force microscopy studies of atomic scale friction and wear of oxides and 2D nanomaterials. He had recently extended this work into fundamental studies of mechanochemistry and directs the new NSF Center for the Mechanical Control of Chemistry. He has been recognized twice by TAMU for excellence in teaching, receiving Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Awards at both the college and university levels. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012 and is an editorial board member of RSC Advances and sits on the editorial advisory board of ACS Central Science.

Nanoparticle-Based Photocatalysis for Sustainable Industrial Chemistry

Naomi Halas
Professor, Rice University and Co-Founder, Syzygy Plasmonics

Trevor Best
Co-Founder and CEO, Syzygy Plasmonics

Naomi J. Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University, where she also holds faculty appointments in the departments of Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, Materials Science and Nanoengineering, and Bioengineering. She received her baccalaureate degree in chemistry from La Salle University in Philadelphia and her PhD in physics from Bryn Mawr College. She was a graduate fellow at IBM Research and a postdoctoral fellow at AT&T Bell Laboratories.  She is the author of more than 350 refereed publications, has more than 20 issued patents, and has presented more than 600 invited talks. Halas has been elected to the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering (US), the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Trevor Best is the founding CEO of Syzygy Plasmonics. He went to Texas Tech University with a triple major in international business, marketing, and management, and a minor in Spanish. Before starting Syzygy, he worked for Baker Hughes. There he steadily progressed into management, where he gained expertise in quality assurance (Six Sigma Black Belt), regulatory compliance, technology development management, project and personnel management, supply chain management, internal and external communications, and business process architecture. With Syzygy he has successfully raised three funding rounds and is currently focusing on bringing Syzygy’s revolutionary photochemical technology to market.

Sustainable Separations to Meet Emerging Needs in Critical Metals

Eric Schelter
Director, NSF Center for Sustainable Separations of Metals and Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania

Eric Schelter is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. For the past 12 years, he has developed an internationally recognized research program in synthetic inorganic chemistry and separations chemistry. Much of his work focuses on the discovery of chemical methods to separate critical metals from natural and anthropogenic sources that are efficient and reduce waste. Schelter’s work and leadership on sustainable metals separations have been recognized by the Department of Energy, American Chemical Society, Environmental Protection Agency, and other organizations. He also has more than 10 years of experience in public outreach efforts related to the chemical, social, and political aspects of critical materials.

The T. T. Chao Symposium on Innovation is an annual event designed and hosted by the Science History Institute and made possible by a gift from the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation in Houston.