Evening Lectures - Pensacola

Steven Nolan

THE TALK: What can gold do for you? A synthetic chemist’s perspective

February 6, 2024


Gold! A cry dating back to various gold rushes. This simple word has provoked and still provokes various emotions in us. Our fascination with gold continues today from its use in jewelry to silly yet fascinating shows about earth moving equipment digging up various landscapes in search of nuggets. Here the larger the better!

From this synthetic chemist’s perspective, gold has permitted the discovery of countless treasures. The reasons behind the interest in gold chemistry and catalysis will be presented as well as the inner workings of chemical transformations enabled by gold.


Steven P. Nolan was born in Québec City. He obtained his B.Sc. from the University of West Florida in 1983 before moving to the University of Miami to work with Prof. Carl Hoff on the thermochemistry of organometallic compounds. After a postdoctoral stay with Prof. Tobin J. Marks at Northwestern University, he joined the University of New Orleans in 1990 rapidly raising to the rank of University Research Professor in 1999. In 2006 he joined the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ). In early 2009, he moved to the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and in 2017 moved to his present position in the Department of Chemistry of Ghent University as Senior Full Professor.

Professor Nolan’s work has been recognised with numerous awards such as the recent A. C. Cope Scholar award from the ACS (2023) along with various other recognitions such as an ERC advanced grant and election to learned Societies. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the European Academy of Sciences.

Steve has published 3 monographs and over 650 research papers. His work has a H-index of 119. Professor Nolan’s research interests revolve around the design and synthesis of catalytic complexes enabling organic transformations.