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Pure Appl. Chem., 2001, Vol. 73, No. 2, pp. 209-220

Organometallic chemistry at the threshold of a new millennium. Retrospect and prospect

Jack Halpern

Department of Chemistry, The University of Chicago, 5735 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Abstract: The evolution of organometallic chemistry during the second half of the 20th century has transformed chemical science and technology to a degree and in ways that have rarely been matched throughout the history of chemistry. These include the discovery of radically new types of chemical compounds; novel structures and bonding modes; unprecedented reactivity patterns; unsuspected roles of organometallic chemistry in biology; powerful new synthetic methodologies; new materials; and whole new classes of catalysts and catalytic processes of extraordinary versatility and selectivity. The impact of these developments, which still are unfolding, has been truly revolutionary. Some milestones in this remarkable chapter of chemical history, as well as challenges and opportunities confronting organometallic chemistry today, will be examined.