Terrence Collins

Photo: Jonathan Greene

Terrence Collins

Special Focus on Global Change
16th Heinz Awards - 2010

An internationally distinguished professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Green Science, Dr. Terrence Collins received the 16th Heinz Award with Special Focus on Global Change for his pioneering “green chemistry” and for training future generations of scientists.

Dr. Collins developed TAML activators, catalysts that activate hydrogen peroxide to oxidize molecular pollutants and hardy pathogens in water to non-toxic compounds. Tailoring his invention to eliminate a wide variety of pollutants and for disinfection, Dr. Collins is continuing his research while working with partners at the Carnegie Mellon University startup company, GreenOx Catalysts, Inc., to commercialize the catalysts for widespread industrial use.

Dr. Collins was the first educator in the United States to teach green chemistry classes starting in the early 1990s. Today, he is considered one of the world’s most distinguished university professors in the field of green chemistry. According to Dr. Collins, chemistry is central to all aspects of our lives. It is critical that today’s students - tomorrow’s leaders - receive an education that enables them to develop a more sustainable world. Furthermore, it is important that chemistry students bring their unique perspectives to designing safer chemicals and developing chemicals from renewable resources.

Dr. Collins has made priceless contributions to the development of green chemistry and science education. He has pioneered efforts to detoxify hazardous substances, like anthrax and dangerous pesticides. It is generally accepted that if the still emerging field of green chemistry is going to have the impact required to allow chemists to play a central role in designing a safer, healthier and more sustainable world, the next generation of scientists needs to learn the fundamental framework of green design principles. Dr. Collins’ efforts to prepare these young researchers for the challenges ahead will leave a lasting impact on the planet for years to come.

Note: This profile was written at the time of the awards’ presentation.

Every human being, every animal, every fish, every aquatic organism deserves to thrive on or in water that is uncontaminated by the products and byproducts of the chemical enterprise. Bringing this about is one of the greatest sustainability challenges of our time.”

— Terrence Collins


Terrence Collins, Chemist who Detoxifies Hazardous Materials Using Green Chemistry - Heinz Awardee

Terrence Collins, Heinz Awardee speech, 2010 Heinz Awards presentation, Folger Theatre