In 1977, Tilley received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Texas. In 1982, he earned his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley for his research on organolanthanide chemistry with Professor Richard A. Andersen. Afterwards, he conducted post-doctoral research with Prof. Robert H. Grubbs and Prof. John E. Bercaw at the California Institute of Technology and with Luigi Venanzi and Piero Pino at ETH in Switzerland, during which he developed the chemistry of the (pentamethylcyclopentadienyl)ruthenium fragment ([Cp*Ru]). He started his independent research career at UC San Diego in 1983, where he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1988, and to Professor in 1990. In 1994, he accepted appointments as a Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Throughout his career, he has published over 430 papers on various subjects in organometallic and inorganic chemistry, as well as materials science. Since 2005, Tilley has also served as the North American Associate Editor for Chemical Communications.
Tilley’s research group conducts exploratory synthetic, structural, and reactivity studies of inorganic and organometallic systems. His research program includes: organometallic chemistry and homogenous catalysis, materials chemistry and heterogenous catalysis, organic electronic materials, supramolecular chemistry, and solar energy conversion.
Awards and honors
- Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1988)
- Union Carbide Innovation Recognition Award (1991–92)
- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship (1993)
- Alexander von Humboldt Award for Senior Scientists (1998)
- Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (1998)
- ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry (2002)
- Wacker Silicon Award (2003)
- Centenary Lectureship and Medal of the Royal Society (2007-8)
- CS Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry (2008)
- Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013)
- Edward Mack, Jr. Lecture, OSU (2013)
- ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry (2014)
- American Chemical Society Fellow (2014)
- Lipke, M.C.; Liberman-Martin, A.; Tilley, T.D.. "Electrophilic Activation of Silicon–Hydrogen Bonds in Catalytic Hydrosilations." Ang. Chem. Int. Ed. 56.9 (2017): 2260–2294.
- Nguyen, A.I.; Ziegler, M.S.; Oña-Burgos, P.; Sturzbecher-Hohne, M.; Kim, W.; Bellone, D. E.; and Tilley, T.D. "Mechanistic Investigation of Water Oxidation by a Molecular Cobalt Oxide Analogue: Evidence for a Highly Oxidized Intermediate and Exclusive Terminal Oxo Participation." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137.40 (2015): 12865–12872.
- Gessner, V.H.; Tannaci, J.F; Miller, A.D; and Tilley, T.D. "Assembly of Macrocycles by Zirconocene-Mediated, Reversible Carbon−Carbon Bond Formation." Acc. Chem. Res. 44.6 (2011): 435–446.
- Sadow, A.D., and Tilley, T.D. "Homogeneous Catalysis with Methane. A Strategy for the Hydromethylation of Olefins Based on the Nondegenerate Exchange of Alkyl Groups and σ-Bond Metathesis at Scandium." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125.26 (2003): 7971-7977
- Waterman, R.; Hayes, P.G. and Tilley, T.D. "Synthetic Development and Chemical Reactivity of Transition-Metal Silylene Complexes." Acc. Chem. Res. 40.8 (2007): 712–719.
- Tilley, T.D. "The Coordination Polymerization of Silanes to Polysilanes by a "σ-Bond Metathesis" Mechanism. Implications for Linear Chain Growth."Acc. Chem. Res. 26.1 (1993): 22–29.
- Tilley, T.D., Grubbs, R.H., Bercaw, J.E. "Halide, hydride, and alkyl derivatives of (pentamethylcyclopentadienyl)bis(trimethylphosphine)ruthenium." Organometallics, 3.2 (1984): 274–278.
- "T. Don Tilley". www.cchem.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "T. Don Tilley | College of Chemistry". chemistry.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- Waterman, Rory (2014-10-01). "Editorial". Inorganica Chimica Acta. Special issue: Dedicated to Don Tilley. 422: 1–2. doi:10.1016/j.ica.2014.07.048.
- Tilley, T. Don; Andersen, Richard A.; Zalkin, Allan (1982-06-01). "Tertiary phosphine complexes of the f-block metals. Crystal structure of Yb[N(SiMe3)2]2[Me2PCH2CH2PMe2]: evidence for a ytterbium-.gamma.-carbon interaction". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 104 (13): 3725–3727. doi:10.1021/ja00377a033. ISSN 0002-7863.
- Tilley, T. Don.; Andersen, Richard A. (1981-10-01). "Pentamethylcyclopentadienyl derivatives of the trivalent lanthanide elements neodymium, samarium, and ytterbium". Inorganic Chemistry. 20 (10): 3267–3270. doi:10.1021/ic50224a025. ISSN 0020-1669.
- Tilley, T. Don; Grubbs, Robert H.; Bercaw, John E. (1984-02-01). "Halide, hydride, and alkyl derivatives of (pentamethylcyclopentadienyl)bis(trimethylphosphine)ruthenium". Organometallics. 3 (2): 274–278. doi:10.1021/om00080a019. ISSN 0276-7333.
- "T. Don Tilley - Chemical Sciences Division Chemical Sciences Division". commons.lbl.gov. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Publications". www.cchem.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- Chemistry, Royal Society of (2015-05-22). "Chemical Communications". www.rsc.org. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Research". www.cchem.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry - American Chemical Society". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- AG, Wacker Chemie. "WACKER SILICONE AWARD". www.wacker.com. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "RSC Centenary Prize Previous Winners". www.rsc.org. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry - American Chemical Society". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of lnorganic Chemistry - American Chemical Society". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "2014 ACS Fellows - American Chemical Society". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2017-07-07.