WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Emphasis - March 16

Mar 16, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is Western Illinois University chemistry professor Thottumkara K. "TK" Vinod. They talk about "green" chemistry.

Vinod said green chemistry is the practice of creating chemical products with the least amount of adverse impact on the environment.

"By doing green chemistry, chemists are thinking of producing chemical products so that we don't have to deal with chemical waste at the end," Vinod said.

He said the idea of green chemistry started in the early 1990s.  He started practicing green chemistry a few years later as he sought a niche for his area of research.

Vinod said the field of green chemistry is still evolving.

"The people who practice traditional chemistry have a toolbox full of appliances or tools they can use. Green chemists have a toolbox that is almost completely empty," Vinod said.

"What green chemists are doing is to build the necessary tools so that we can replace all the old tools from traditional chemistry and then do chemistry in a more environmentally friendly manner."

He estimated it will take 50 years to replace all the tools traditional chemists currently have.

Vinod will give the WIU Distinguished Faculty Lecture on Monday, March 19, 7:00 pm in the COFAC Recital Hall on WIU's Macomb campus.  He will also give the presentation on Monday, April 9, 3:00 pm in Room 102 of WIU's Quad Cities campus.

His speech is titled "Green Chemistry: Retooling of Chemistry and Making it More Sustainable."