Robert Bergman is the Gerald E. K. Branch Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carleton College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He completed his post-doctoral research at Columbia University.
Bergman’s work in organic chemistry has yielded important insights into the thermal cyclization of cis-1, 5-hexadiyne-3-ene to 4, 4-dehydrobenzene diradicals – a process which is now known as Bergman cyclization. He has also studied the synthesis of organometallic compounds and their reactions to transition metals such as metal-oxygen and metal-nitrogen.
Bergman’s work began gaining attention and recognition before he even graduated, receiving a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award. He has received a number of awards for his work, including the American Chemical Society’s Award in Organometallic Chemistry, the Arthur C. Cope Award, a National Institutes of Health Merit Award, the James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry and a Wolf Prize in Chemistry.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the California Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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