Pesquisador de Princeton é tido como um dos químicos mais importantes do início do século. Ele avisou que quer tomar caipirinha e ver um jogo de futebol no Brasil
O escocês David MacMillan figura nas muitas listas de candidatos ao Prêmio Nobel de Química. Ele trouxe imensas contribuições à organocatálise foto redox e foi apontado por algumas listas especializadas como um dos químicos mais importantes deste início de século. Ex-chefe do Departamento de Química da prestigiada Universidade de Princeton (EUA), MacMillan é um dos palestrantes keynote do 46º. Congresso Mundial de Química (IUPAC-2017), que será realizado em São Paulo, de 9 a 14 de julho.
"A essência da minha palestra será as novas formas que desenvolvemos de aplicar luz em reações químicas. Nós utilizamos a luz para fornecer energia, via fótons, aos catalisadores. Estes catalisadores então podem trocar elétrons com moléculas orgânicas, o que permite o desenvolvimento de novas reações químicas, que por sua vez podem ser utilizadas na descoberta de novos fármacos ou na produção mais eficiente de fármacos existentes", explicou ao Boletim SBQ.
MacMillan é um entusiasta da aproximação entre indústria e academia e mantém pesquisas de seu grupo em conjunto com a indústria farmacêutica Merck com o objetivo de identificar e sintetizar novos candidatos a fármacos. Também participa do conselho de uma série de periódicos e é atualmente o editor chefe da Chemical Science.
É piloto amador, embora não tenha voado recentemente por falta de tempo. "Não há nada que alivie a cabeça mais das preocupações cotidianas do que voar", declara. Fã de vinho e esportes, MacMillan esteve no Brasil uma vez, onde ficou marcado pela generosidade e hospitalidade da comunidade química. "Desta vez, espero tomar caipirinha e assistir um jogo de futebol. Gosto de interagir com os químicos dentro e fora do Congresso", avisa.
Leia a íntegra da entrevista exclusiva de David MacMillan ao Boletim SBQ:
Sobre o futuro da Química:
In terms of what new borders chemists will open in the next five years, I can tell you an interesting anecdote. When I worked at Caltech, Bob Grubbs (Nobel prize winner), who was my colleague used to say that when people asked him what he will be working on in 5 years, he we would say "If I knew that I would be doing it now!" The point being it is almost impossible to predict the future. For example if people had told me 13 years ago, I would be working with light and chemistry, I would have told them they were nuts. That being said, there are some obvious areas that have huge room for improvement in organic chemistry and probably the most likely to be pursued will be electrochemistry as applied to chemical synthesis.
Sobre seu dia-a-dia:
In a typical Princeton day, I divide my time between i) holding research subgroups ii) bothering my students with questions and ideas that will not work, iii) bothering my colleagues with questions and ideas that will not work, and generally having a lot of fun interacting with the really smart people around me. I have a pretty balanced family life as I breakfast/drop off my kids at school in the morning, have dinner and family time from 6-9pm, then head back to lab for more of II and III.
On a typical on the road day, I usually am up by 6am to deal with email, prior to consulting or departmental visits, which include evening socialization (which is usually a lot of fun). I am usually back to my hotel by 10pm for more email and family FaceTime.
Sobre vinhos, aviões e esportes:
Hobbies... I haven't been doing any amateur piloting in a while due to time constraints, but I am hoping to get back to it. There is nothing that will take your mind off your day to day concerns more than flying. I really do enjoy wine and I thoroughly enjoy learning as much as I can about wine regions, producers and the incredible diversity of grapes that exist. I believe drinking wine really helps me think more expansively about chemistry and in particular how to contextualize what we are currently doing and where we are going (both to myself and eventually audiences). My other hobbies are sports (soccer, golf, American football in particular). I really enjoy being current on what is happening in each of these sport areas and moreover I enjoy a weekend flutter (gamble) on soccer or NFL games depending on the season.
Sobre o Brasil:
I have been to Brazil once before and I was really taken aback by the warmth of the people. Everyone was extremely generous with their time and hospitality. I am very much looking forward to enjoying my time in Sao Paulo and I hope to try and get as much a sense of the people (in and out of chemistry). I look forward to interacting with the chemistry community there both professionally and socially. I know I will have exposure to remarkable food, and incredible (cachaça) cocktails. If I can get to a Sao Paulo soccer game that would be just fantastic. Everything about Brazil just seems so colorful and alive to me (music, dancing, style, food, humor), and I hope I can experience as much of it as possible.
Uma mensagem aos químicos brasileiros:
My message to Brazilian chemists would be to try and bring as much of your own personality and identity to your research as you possibly can. I realized about 20 years ago that I couldn't really operate as an organic chemist in the classical sense as I just wasn't smart enough (or driven enough) to be a scholarly chemist in the traditional sense. However, I learned that by ignoring the traditional ideas about how to be an academic, I could easily undertake research on my own terms in the ways I wanted to do it and based only on the things I cared about. Remarkably (at least to me), our ideas were embraced with enthusiasm by the community and I learned a valuable lesson about not worrying too much about what other people think (that's the fastest way possible to derivative science).
Seis artigos relevantes:
"New Strategies for Organic Catalysis: The First Highly Enantioselective Organocatalytic Diels–Alder Reaction", K.A. Ahrendt, C.J. Borths, D.W.C. MacMillan, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 4243.
“Enantioselective Organo-Cascade Catalysis”, Y. Huang, A. Walji, C.R. Larsen, D.W.C. MacMillan, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 15051.
“Enantioselective Organocatalysis using SOMO Activation”, T.D. Beeson, A. Mastracchio, J.B. Hong, K. Ashton, D.W.C. MacMillan, Science 2007, 316, 582.
“Merging Photoredox Catalysis with Organocatalysis: The Direct Asymmetric Alkylation of Aldehydes”, D.A. Nicewicz, D.W.C. MacMillan, Science 2008, 322, 77.
“Merging Photoredox with Nickel Catalysis: Coupling of a-Carboxyl Sp3-Carbons with Aryl Halides”, Z. Zuo, D. Ahneman, L. Chu, J. Terrett, A. G. Doyle, D.W.C. MacMillan, Science 2014, 345, 437.
“Switching on Elusive Organometallic Mechanisms with Photoredox Catalysis”, J.A. Terrett, J.D. Cuthbertson, V.W. Shurtleff, D.W.C. MacMillan, Nature 2015, 524, 330.
Série de entrevistas de David MacMillan:
Página do MacMillan Group: