Haibo Ge is a Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and works on the development of novel transition metal-catalyzed C–H functionalization processes and structure-activity relationship studies of anticancer agents. His group recently published a paper entitled “Site-selective C–H arylation of primary aliphatic amines enabled by a catalytic transient directing group” in Nature Chemistry.
1. What made you want to be a chemist?
I was amazed by the “magic” results from arranging different elements when I was a middle school student. Later, I was attracted by the art of synthetic chemistry and the applications in pharmaceuticals.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be — and why?
If I weren’t a chemist, I would want to be a pilot since I enjoy the feeling of flying “freely” in the sky. However, I have never had this experience, and thus it might not be realistic.
3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?
We are working on the site-selective C–H functionalization of simple substrates such as aliphatic amines and aldehydes via transition metal catalysis. I hope that it will lead to the practical use of these methods in process chemistry.
4. Which historic figure would you most like to have dinner with — and why?
Mozi, an ancient Chinese philosopher and the founder of the school of Mohism. More impressively, he was also a great scientist with prominent knowledge in geometry, physics, optics, etc.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab — and what was it?
I was running a Suzuki-Miyaura coupling reaction together with a new graduate student about two weeks ago if that counts.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?
For the book, I would like to take the ancient Chinese book Strategies of the Warring States. For the music album, I would like to have the Collection of Chinese Classical Music with me.
7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions — and why?
Vy Dong because she is such a creative chemist.