Robert Crabtree (Le. 1960-66) is an organometallic chemist focused on developing catalysts for water splitting to oxygen and hydrogen or other fuel molecules.
Crabtree is serving as Whitehead Professor of Chemistry at Yale University in the United States and is now a naturalised citizen of the United States. He is particularly known for his work on "Crabtree's catalyst" for hydrogenations, and his textbook on organometallic chemistry.
His research has applications in alternative energy strategies, such as solar energy, nitrogen fixation, ammonia oxidation, and hydrogen storage. The Crabtree laboratory has collaborated with colleagues, notably Gary Brudvig and Victor Batista, to answer complex challenges surrounding solar energy storage. The Energy Sciences Institute at Yale focuses on one facet of that work.
Crabtree has long-established ties with the French research community, including an early research position and a postdoctoral research position in the laboratory of Hugh Felkin at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique laboratories in Gif-sur-Yvette, France. In addition, he has been committed to creating research bonds between American and French chemists via collaborations and discussions. Notably, he has served as chair of the inorganic division of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific community, and prize co-sponsors, along with the French Chemical Society (SCF). In 2020, Clarivate Analytics named Crabtree a Highly Cited Researcher, a distinction reserved for about 0.1% of the world's researchers and he was awarded The French & American Chemical Societies (SCF & ACS) 2020 Franco-American Lectureship Prize, and as part of his prize, Crabtree gave the virtual lecture "Adventures in Water Oxidation" at the French Chemical Society meeting in Clermont-Ferrand, France, on 4th October 2021.