Margaret Sheil Lecture: Prof. Colette Boskovic, University of Melbourne – School of Chemistry Margaret Sheil Lecture: Prof. Colette Boskovic, University of Melbourne – School of Chemistry

Margaret Sheil Lecture: Prof. Colette Boskovic, University of Melbourne

Friday, 28 April 11:00am – 12:00pm

This seminar will be delivered in Chemistry Lecture Theatre 4 and Online Zoom Please email for zoom link and password.

Speaker: Prof. Colette Boskovic, University of Melbourne

Host: Prof. Elizabeth New

Title: Australia, Women and Rare Earth Chemistry

Abstract: The RACI Margaret Sheil Leadership Award was established to honour the trail-blazing contributions of Professor Margaret Sheil AO, the first Australian female Professor of Chemistry.  Through numerous and varied leadership roles, Margaret has worked tirelessly to progress the participation, success and recognition of women in chemistry, and science and engineering more generally.  In this lecture I will present my own journey as a woman in chemistry and discuss some of the challenges that remain for the full participation of women in science.  I received this award largely in recognition of the efforts that I have made to mentor younger women in chemistry, so I am delighted to have the opportunity to present some exciting research discoveries in the area of rare earth chemistry from outstanding women researchers in my research group:  Dr Elodie Rousset and Dr Moya Hay.    Rare earth metals are increasingly important for a range of technological applications that make use of their unique electronic, magnetic and optical properties, as well as their chemical reactivity.  The term “rare earth” is a misnomer for these relatively abundant metals and Australia is the sixth largest source of rare earth minerals.   We are interested in the fundamental chemistry of the electronic structure and resulting optical and magnetic properties of complexes of rare earth metal ions. One area of particular emphasis is metal- and ligand-based redox activity.1  As part of this investigation we have discovered novel charge-transfer properties and approaches to chemically tuning the rare earth metal redox potential and optical properties.2–4   An ultimate aim of this work is to use the insights gained to develop a new class of switchable molecular materials based on rare earth metals with a view to new applications in sensing, displays, optics and electronics for these critical Australian commodities.

(1)        Hay, M. A.; Boskovic, C. “Lanthanoid Complexes as Molecular Materials: The Redox Approach”. Chem. – A Eur. J. 2021, 1–31.
(2)        Rousset, E.; Gable, R. W.; Starikova, A.; Boskovic, C. “Tetrahalocatecholate Rare Earth Complexes: Dinuclear Motifs with Intramolecular RE···XC(Ar) Interactions”. Cryst. Growth Des. 2020, 20, 3396–3405.
(3)        Rousset, E.; Piccardo, M.; Gable, R. W.; Massi, M.; Sorace, L.; Soncini, A.; Boskovic, C. “Elucidation of LMCT Excited States for Lanthanoid Complexes: A Theoretical and Solid-State Experimental Framework”. Inorg. Chem. 2022, 61, 14004–14018.
(4)        Hay, M. A.; Gable, R. W.; Boskovic, C. “Modulating the Electronic Properties of Divalent Lanthanoid Complexes with Subtle Ligand Tuning”. Dalton Trans. 2023, 52, 3315–3324.

Bio: Colette graduated from the University of Melbourne with a BSc(Hons) degree and a PhD. After postdoctoral stints at Indiana University, USA, and the University of Berne, Switzerland, she returned to the School of Chemistry in as a Lecturer in 2004, where she is now a full Professor.

Colette was awarded the 2004 Selby Research Award from the University of Melbourne, the 2013 Alan Sargeson Lectureship from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Inorganic Chemistry Division and the 2014 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (Teaching and Research) from the Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne. She received an ARC Future fellowship in 2019 and the RACI Margaret Sheil leadership award in 2022.

Colette was elected a Fellow of the RACI in 2020. She is presently the Chair of the RACI Inorganic Chemistry Division Committee. She is a member of the International Advisory Boards for the International Conference on Molecule-based Magnets (ICMM), Asian Conference on Molecular Magnetism (ACMM), Asian Conference on Coordination Chemistry (ACCC) and 11th International Conference on f Elements (ICFE-11).


Apr 28 2023


11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Chemistry Lecture Theatre 4
Level 2, School of Chemistry

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