Jonas C. Peters
Bren Professor of Chemistry; Director, Resnick Sustainability Institute
Assistant: Julianne Just
Jonas Peters received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry at the University of Chicago in 1993, where he worked with Professor Gregory Hillhouse on synthetic methods in inorganic chemistry, specifically with regard to the stabilization of reactive species including HN=NH and HNO. Jonas then spent a year as a Marshall Scholar at the University of Nottingham, UK, working with Professor James J. Turner, FRS. Jonas studied physical inorganic chemistry including photochemical generation and the detection of short-lived transients by rapid time-resolved methods. In the fall of 1994, Jonas left Nottingham to begin his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Christopher C. Cummins at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jonas' research focused on the activation and functionalization of small molecules using low coordinate tris-amido molybdenum and titanium complexes. After receiving his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in 1998, Jonas was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, under the guidance of Professor T. Don Tilley. At Berkeley, Jonas concentrated on the synthesis and employment of novel phosphine, silane, and phosphino silane ligands relevant to late metal Si-C, Si-H, C-H, and C-C bond breaking and forming processes. Jonas began as assistant professor in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech in August of 1999, was promoted to associate professor in 2004, and to Professor of Chemistry in 2006. In July of 2007, he relocated to the MIT Department of Chemistry as the W. M. Keck Professor of Energy. Jonas returned to Caltech in January 2010 as Bren Professor of Chemistry and in 2015 he was appointed Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute.
Peters has published some 200 primary research articles and is well known for his work towards the development of catalysts and photocatalysts with applications in renewable solar fuel technologies, distributed nitrogen fixation for fertilizers and fuels, and new bond constructions for organic chemists developing pharmaceuticals. Peters and his coworkers are recognized for preparing fundamentally new inorganic materials that push the boundaries of our understanding of electronic structure and bonding, particularly ones with relevance to global carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles, and energy applications. As Director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, Peters is leveraging Caltech’s unique strengths to innovate solutions for a more sustainable planet.