New STEM-Lecture Series of the Gymnasium Broich featured Ben List

December 14, 2020

"Life without catalysis is not conceivable", said Ben List.

Getting students excited about scientific topics and also introducing them to fields of work in the natural sciences is the aim of the new „MINTeresse project“ at the Mülheim Gymnasium Broich. Under strict hygiene rules, the STEM lecture series started in November with the topic "Water4Life". On December 1st, Department Director Benjamin List from the MPI für Kohlenforschung was a invited to speak to the ninth graders. In his lecture, "Catalysis for a Better World," the researcher introduced the students to the world of basic chemical research and showed them how important catalysts are for biological processes and for sustainable chemical processes. "Life without catalysis is inconceivable," List said at the beginning, explaining how enzymes, as organic catalysts in the human body, control important metabolic processes, or how plants use catalysts in photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide from the air with water into oxygen. The students learned that almost all industrial processes - such as the production of fertilizers or medicines - use catalysis as a key technology and that, in addition to well-known metal-based catalysts, organic catalysts such as amino acids are now coming into focus as non-toxic and sustainable alternatives.

Benjamin List has been conducting research in the field of organocatalysis for many years and found the exchange with the pupils very inspiring. For some of the students, too, the lecture with Ben List acted as a catalyst that spurred them to approach the MPI with a desire for an internship. The institute will be pleased to host them for an exchange and thanks STEM-coordinator Dr. Corinna Kieren for initiating the lecture series.

Benjamin List forscht mit seinem Team seit vielen Jahren im Bereich der Organokatalyse und empfand den Austausch mit den Schülerinnen und Schülern als sehr schön und inspirierend. Auch für einige Schülerinnen wirkte die Vorlesung mit Ben List als Katalysator, der sie dazu antrieb, sich mit einem Praktikumswunsch an das MPI zu wenden. Das Institut freut sich, die Schülerinnen zu einem Austausch zu empfangen und dankt MINT-Koordinatorin Dr. Corinna Kieren, die die Vorlesungsreihe MINTeresse ins Leben gerufen hat.

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