Birth and education
In his Nobel Prize autobiography  he says, "In some places, my birthplace is listed as
Calvert City, Kentucky and in others Possum Trot (both in
Marshall County). I was actually born between the two, so either one really is correct." He spent his early childhood in Marshall County and attended public school at McKinley Elementary, Franklin Junior High and
Paducah Tilghman High School in Paducah, Kentucky. Grubbs studied chemistry at the University of Florida where he was awarded a
B.S. and an
M.S.. He worked with
Merle Battiste in Florida University, and Columbia University, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1968. He was taught by Ronald Breslow in Columbia.
He next spent a year with
James Collman at Stanford University. He was then made part of the faculty at Michigan State University. In 1978 he moved to California Institute of Technology where he still works as the
Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry.
His main interest is for organometallic chemistry and organic chemistry. These interests are for catalysts, such as
Grubbs' catalyst for
olefin metathesis and
ring-opening metathesis polymerization and
norbornene. He also produced some important work on "