James P. Collman

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James P. Collman (born 1932 in Beatrice, Nebraska) is an American Professor of Chemistry. He is professor emeritus at Stanford University. Collman's research has focused on bioinorganic and biomimetic chemistry, by studying synthetic analogs of metalloenzymes.[1]


Collman received B.S. (1954) and M.S. degrees (1956) in Chemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1958 under Reynold C. Fuson. He joined the faculty of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, remaining there until 1967, when he moved to Stanford University where he is George & Hilda M. Daubert Endowed Chair in Chemistry.

Research contributions[edit]

Collman has contributed to several aspects of transition metal chemistry, as documented in over 366 scientific papers.

In the 1960s his group demonstrated that certain metal acetylacetonates undergo Friedel-Crafts-like reactions, indicating that these chelate rings have aromatic character.

In the area of organometallic chemistry, through reviews as well as original research, his group popularized the oxidative addition reaction, leading to the discovery of new low-valent complexes including Ru(CO)3(PPh3)2 and IrCl(N2)(PPh3)2. Collman's reagent, Na2Fe(CO)4, prepared in his laboratories, enables certain C-C coupling reactions in organic synthesis. He coauthored an influential textbook that went through three editions.[2]

He popularized the use of tetraphenylporphyrin as a biomimetic ligand for exploring the structure and function of myoglobin, cytochrome P450, and cytochrome oxidase.[3]

Awards and honors[edit]

Collman has advised many academic researchers, many of whom have gone on to notable careers. Two of his postdoctoral researchers at Stanford, Karl Barry Sharpless and Robert H. Grubbs, later received Nobel Prizes in Chemistry.


  1. ^ James P. Collman and Lei Fu "Synthetic Models for Hemoglobin and Myoglobin" Acc. Chem. Res., 1999, volume 32, pp 455–463. doi:10.1021/ar9603064
  2. ^ James P. Collman, Louis S. Hegedus, Jack R. Norton, and Richard G. Finke "Principles and Applications of Organotransition Metal Chemistry" University Science Books, Sausalito, 1987. ISBN 0-935702-51-2
  3. ^ Chemical & Engineering News, 19 January 2009, p. 73
  4. ^ Chemical & Engineering News, 19 January 2009, "2009 ACS National Award Winners", pp. 72-73