David Laviska, Ph.D

David Laviska, Ph.D

Portfolio Manager for Green Chemistry & Sustainability in Education

American Chemical Society


“Green and sustainable chemistry: What is it? and why should you care?”

A quarter century ago, few people had heard the term “green chemistry” and there was a lot of confusion about what it meant. Since then, chemists (and scientists across all disciplines) have started to recognize the value in thinking broadly about the impact of their experiments, research, manufacturing processes, etc. In our global community, the word “green” has become connected with a broad spectrum of vaguely “environment- related” ideas and initiatives. But “green chemistry” refers specifically to a beautifully complex, holistic view of chemical reactions that takes account of everything from the sourcing of reagents (are they renewable?) to energy consumption, to the impact of by-products and disposal of waste materials. Broadly speaking, these latter variables are also intimately connected with the ubiquitous term “sustainability”; so much so, that it’s hard to imagine a future on our planet in which green chemistry doesn’t permeate every part of the global chemistry enterprise. In this talk, I will comment on what green chemistry is (and isn’t) and describe how it has shaped my career through various stages, including a “first career” at the USEPA as an environmental specialist, followed by more than a decade of teaching and research in academia, and finally, to my current position at the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute. I will discuss both challenges and opportunities regarding the propagation of green chemistry and share some details of the goals we’re committed to accomplishing with your help.

David Laviska, Ph.D

David A. Laviska is the Portfolio Manager for Green Chemistry and Sustainability in Education. Prior to joining the ACS GCI, he was an Assistant Professor at Seton Hall University where he is co-director of the Academy for Green Chemistry, Stewardship, and Sustainability. As a pedagogical innovator, he led the effort to incorporate the principles of Green Chemistry throughout the Organic and General Chemistry curricula and was recognized by the College of Arts and Sciences as “Professor of the Year” in 2020. As a first generation college student and member of the LGBTQIA+ community, he took leading roles in working with undergraduate STEM students from across the spectrum of underrepresented groups. His research focuses on green(er) synthesis and characterization of late transition metal complexes with unique optical properties and hetero- and homogeneous catalysis. His research students also develop and pilot green(er) experimental protocols for use in undergraduate teaching labs. Prior to his second career in academia, Dr. Laviska worked for more than a decade as an Environmental/ Analytical Specialist with the EPA (Region II) and earned degrees in chemistry from Rutgers University (Ph.D.), University of Washington (M.S), and Cornell University (B.A.).

Start date
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, 4 p.m.
End date
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, 5:30 p.m.

331 Smith Hall

Zoom Link