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Robert West

Robert West (b. 1928) is a Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and world-renowned chemist best known for his groundbreaking research in silicon chemistry, as well as for his work with oxocarbons and organolithium compounds.


West received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Cornell University in 1950, proceeding on to Harvard University where he received his Master of Arts in 1952 and Ph.D. in 1954.

Notable Work

West's most well-known discovery was the synthesis of the first ever silicon-silicon double bond in 1981, a feat which broke the so-called "double-bond rule" (which stated that main group elements below row two of the periodic table could not form double bonds). West later discovered the first example of a stable silylene, a form of divalent silicon, the silicon analog to the catalytically important carbene. West also developed a new model for understanding rotations in polymers, generalized for all polymer systems of which the rotational states in organic polymers proved to be a subset. West's numerous other discoveries include a siloxane-based electrolyte which has made possible revolutionary rechargeable implantable batteries for biomedical applications including the treatment of spinal injuries and nerve damage. In 2004, West was listed as one of the most cited scientists during the period 1981-1999, according to a citation survey by Thomson ISI.

Other Interests

In addition to chemistry, West is an accomplished pilot, boasts several first-ascents on mountains in British Columbia, and is known for his eccentric lifestyle, liberal political views, and activism for women's reproductive rights. Earlier in his career, West discovered the first proceeding glacier in North America. In the early 1970's, West established the first fund in Wisconsin for women seeking an abortion but unable to afford proper medical care.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Robert_West". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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