During the 70's it has become drastically apparent that our natural resources, including energy, are not in unlimited supply. This realization is strongly felt in the economic turmoil that is occurring, but its effects will penetrate into other areas, even causing moderate social changes. Chemists playa major role in coverting the world's natural resources into products. The public consumes these products and now depends upon them to keep the high standard of living to which they have become accustomed. This topic could easily be expounded into a whole article, but it is sufficent to say that almost everything-from the use of lightweight, strong polymers which are replacing the use of metals in today's automobiles, to the curing of diseases with asymetrically synthesized drugs-is related to the endeavors of chemistry. Catalysts have played a major role in transforming resources to useful products. Since a catalyst lowers the activation energy required for a particular reaction, and often for only one specific pathway where normally many exist, it is not surprising within the extant climate that researchers are now increasing their efforts and focusing their priorities on improving and discovering more efficient and selective catalysts.
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers Group