University of California, Riverside

Department of Chemistry




Richard Schrock
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & George K. Helmkamp Endowed Chair


Harvard University - Ph.D in Inorganic Chemistry (1971)
University of California, Riverside - B.A. (1967)

Office: 202 Pierce Annex
Phone O/L: (951) 827-7262/2045
Research Area: Inorganic Chemistry


Richard R. Schrock was born in Indiana, but spent his high school years in San Diego, California, and obtained his B. A. degree in 1967 from the University of California at Riverside.  He attended graduate school at Harvard University, from which he received his Ph. D. degree in inorganic chemistry in 1971 (awarded 1972) as a student of J. A. Osborn.  He spent one year as an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University working in the group of Lord Jack Lewis.  In 1972 he was hired by Earl Muetterties of the Central Research and Development Department of E. I. duPont de Nemours and Company.  After three years in the group of George Parshall he moved to M.I.T. in 1975 where he became full professor in 1980 and in 1989 the Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry.  He received the ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry (1985), the Harrison Howe Award of the Rochester ACS section (1990), the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry (1996), the Bailar Medal from the University of Illinois (1998), an ACS Cope Scholar Award (2001), the F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry (2006), the Theodore Richards Medal from the Northeast ACS section (2006), and the Basolo Medal from the Chicago ACS section (2007).  In 2005 he received the August Wilhelm von Hofmann Medal from the German Chemical Society and shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Y. Chauvin and R. H. Grubbs.  In 2014 he received the Paracelsus Prize from the Swiss Chemical Society and in 2017 the James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award from MIT.  He has received honorary degrees from the Universities of Zaragoza, Rennes, Aachen, and St. Andrews.  He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of London.  He was Associate Editor of Organometallics for eight years, has published more than 600 research papers, and has supervised over 190 Ph.D students and postdocs.  He is now the Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at MIT and the Distinguished Professor and George K. Helmkamp Founder’s Chair of Chemistry at the University of California, Riverside.

                Schrock is perhaps best known as the discoverer of alpha hydrogen abstraction reactions in high oxidation state metal alkyl complexes that yield high oxidation state "carbene" (alkylidene) and "carbyne" (alkylidyne) complexes.  High oxidation state alkylidene complexes ("Schrock carbenes") are the active catalysts for the olefin metathesis reactions, and much effort has been expended in learning how to design, synthesize, and control the activity of olefin metathesis catalysts.  Schrock also showed that alkylidyne complexes (again high oxidation state) were the active species in the acetylene metathesis reaction, and that alkylidynes could be prepared in a reaction between metal-metal triple bonds and acetylenes.  His interests include kinetic and mechanistic studies of high oxidation state early metal organometallic species, as well as the development of molybdenum and tungsten catalysts for metathesis reactions of relevance to organic synthesis.  He also is active in studies concerned with the ring-opening-metathesis polymerization (ROMP) of cyclic olefins.  Finally, he was the first to show that molecular nitrogen could be reduced catalytically to ammonia under mild conditions by a molybdenum catalyst in the presence of protons and electrons. 



More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Chemistry
Chemical Sciences
501 Big Springs Road

Tel: (951) 827-3789 (Chair's Assistant)
Fax: (951) 827-2435 (confidential)