The North American Catalysis Society is pleased to announce that Professor Bruce Gates is the recipient of the 2009 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis. Since 1992 Bruce has been on the faculty of the University of California at Davis, where he has the title of Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering. His interests include Catalysis, Catalytic Reactors, Chemical Reaction Engineering, Material Micro Structure, and Sol-Gel Processing.
This award is sponsored by Johnson Matthey Catalysts Company and administered by the Society. The award consists of a plaque and an honorarium as well as a travel award to provide the recipient with funds for visiting (until funds run out) any of the 14 local clubs comprising the Society. The award is given in recognition of substantial contributions to one or more areas in the field of catalysis with emphasis on discovery and understanding of catalytic phenomena, catalytic reaction mechanisms, and identification and description of catalytic sites and species.
For almost 40 years he has made significant contributions in three areas: the preparation and characterization of surface organometallic complexes, catalysis by strong solid acids, and the kinetics and reaction pathways of hydroprocessing catalysis. In the catalysis by strong solid acids, Bruce both expanded the applications and furthered understanding of underlying mechanisms. More recently, in a series of papers beginning in 1998, Bruce (with Bob Grasselli and Helmut Knözinger) explained the surface chemistry of tungstated zirconias with and without Pt, highlighting the role of surface reduction to W5+ and –OH in generating the active sites for alkane isomerization. Bruce’s contributions to hydroprocessing catalysis are equally notable. His two review articles greatly assisted those requiring introduction to the field; each has been cited in excess of 375 times. The scientific contribution was his recognition (with James Katzer and George Schuit) that complex hydrodesulfurization and hydrogenation networks could be understood in terms of a small number of reactions whose rates could be quantified using model substrates. One supporter remarked that Bruce’s work in metal clusters revolutionized the field of surface organometallic catalysis. Here also he has authored widely read reviews, and several influential, extensively cited papers. Much of this recent work has targeted catalysis by gold clusters or nanocrystals, work characterized by multi-technique correlation of catalytic activity to surface structure, careful interpretation of EXAFS data characterizing surface coordination, and proper consideration of how the catalysis alters the as-synthesized materials. Bruce was an early user and proponent of EXAFS and XANES in catalyst characterization. Many “nanoscience” papers in the literature today follow along paths he pioneered years ago.
Finally it should be noted that Bruce has educated two generations of catalytic scientists and industrial practitioners, through his widely used teaching texts (“Chemistry of Catalytic Processes” is a worldwide best seller), the many short courses he helped develop and teach (the one based on this book was taught for over 30 years at the University of Delaware, and at many industrial research centers) and not least through his mentoring of over 130 graduate students, postdocs and visiting scientists. Bruce has been a tireless cheerleader for the field of catalysis and in all his lectures strives for understanding, arousing curiosity, and getting down to the essentials of a problem. He has also been a very active member of the Board of the North American Catalysis Society.
Local clubs should contact Professor Gates [firstname.lastname@example.org] directly about speaking engagements over the next two years. More information on this award, the awards process, and previous awardees can be found inside the Awards folder on the NACS home page: www.nacatsoc.org.