Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2007 awarded to Professor Gerhard Ertl for groundbreaking studies in surface chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2007 was awarded for groundbreaking studies in surface chemistry. The Award acknowledges the impact of Professor Ertl’s catalysis related work upon the semiconductor industry. Gerhard Ertl has founded an experimental school of thought by showing how reliable results can be attained in this difficult area of research. His insights have provided the scientific basis of modern surface chemistry, especially applied to catalysis: his methodology is used in both academic research and the industrial development of chemical processes. The approach developed by Ertl is based not least on his studies of the Haber-Bosch process, in which nitrogen is extracted from the air for inclusion in artificial fertilizers. This reaction, which functions using an iron surface as its catalyst, has enormous economic significance because the availability of nitrogen for growing plants is often restricted. Ertl has also studied the oxidation of carbon monoxide on platinum, a reaction that takes place in the catalyst of cars to clean exhaust emissions.
 
Credits to http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2007/press.html

Tobin Marks Awarded 2005 National Medal of Science by President Bush

Congratulations to Professor Tobin J. Marks, who on May 29, 2007 was one of only eight scientists awarded the 2005 National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush. The National Medal of Science was established by the 86th Congress in 1959 as a Presidential Award to be given to individuals “deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences.” In 1980 Congress expanded this recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences. The National Science Foundation administers the award; for more information about the National Medal of Science please visit www.nsf.gov/nsb/awards/nms/medal.htm. A Committee of 12 scientists and engineers is appointed by the President to evaluate the nominees for the award. Since its establishment, the National Medal of Science has been awarded to 425 distinguished scientists and engineers whose careers spanned decades of research and development.

Marks’ research focuses on the design, synthesis and in-depth characterization of new substances having important chemical, physical and/or biological properties. His work is credited with having major impact on contemporary catalysis with seminal research in the areas of organo-f-element homogeneous catalysis, metal-ligand bonding energetics, supported organometallic catalysis and metallocene polymerization catalysis. Tobin joined Northwestern in 1970, and is a leader in the development and understanding of single-site olefin polymerization catalysis (now a multibillion dollar industry) as well as in the study of new materials having remarkable electrical, mechanical, interfacial and photonic properties. He designed a co-catalyst that led to what is now a standard process for producing better polyolefins, including polyethylene and polypropylene. Found in everything from sandwich wrap to long underwear, these versatile and inexpensive plastics are lighter in weight and more recyclable than previous plastics. In his molecular optoelectronics work, Marks designs arrays of “smart” molecules that will self-assemble into, or spontaneously form, structures that can conduct electricity, switch light on and off, detect light and turn sunlight into electricity. These structures could lead to the world’s most versatile and stable light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and to flexible “plastic” transistors.

Gabor Somorjai wins ACS Priestley Medal

Professor Gabor Somorjai of the University of California at Berkeley was selected as the ACS Priestley Medal Awardee for 2008. The Priestley Medal is the highest honor of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and is named for Joseph Priestley, who reported the discovery of oxygen in 1774. Gabor is receiving this award, which will be presented at the spring 2008 ACS national meeting, “for extraordinarily creative and original contributions to surface science and catalysis.” Widely recognized by his peers as the father of modern surface science, he has authored more than 1,000 scientific papers and three textbooks on surface chemistry and heterogeneous catalysis, and has mentored more than 300 Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows.

Jim Dumesic is the 2007 Robert Burwell Lecturer

The North American Catalysis Society is pleased to announce that Professor James A. Dumesic is the recipient of the 2007 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis. Jim is the Steenbock Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, Wisconsin. 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 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.

Bob Burwell was a catalytic explorer who used a combination of chemical knowledge and insatiable curiosity to dramatically expand the understanding of catalysis. It is a hard act to emulate, but Jim Dumesic’s excellence, leadership, and succession of important contributions to heterogeneous catalysis make him an ideal recipient for this prestigious award. He set the bar high in his graduate work extending the use of Mössbauer spectroscopy to relate magnetic properties of small particles to their structure and using that and other surface-specific measurements to explain the structure sensitivity of iron ammonia synthesis catalysts. Early in his career at Wisconsin he continued to combine spectroscopic and adsorption methods to a widening variety of problems, adding IR to the spectroscopic analysis and pioneering the use of calorimetry to gain new information on the energetics of adsorption and the energetic heterogeneity of surface sites. His development of microkinetic analysis in the early 90’s set a new standard for the modeling of the kinetic behavior of catalytic systems, combining knowledge of gas/solid behavior over a wide range of conditions and extending that knowledge with quantum computations to produce self consistent, robust quantitative predictions of performance. One of many examples of the power of the method is his elegant dissection of the kinetics of catalytic cracking. This superb body of work helped to earn him the Colburn and Wilhelm Awards of AIChE, the Emmett Award, and Election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1998. Remarkably, over the past five years he revolutionized the field of catalysis yet again by opening new directions for the generation of chemicals and fuels from biomass. He is quoted at the end of a feature Science article on his biomass work as saying “…no matter how technologies for biofuels and biorefining evolve, catalysis is sure to be an important part of the mix”. The picture of Jim’s contributions to catalysis would not be complete without mention of his service to the catalysis community and his teaching. He was the Editor of the Journal of Molecular Catalysis and until recently Associate Editor of the Journal of Catalysis. His teaching contributions were recognized by the Polygon Award and the Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award of the University of Wisconsin. His lectures in technical meetings are known for the clarity and the amusing vignettes he always adds. He has over 300 publications in collaboration with more than 40 PhD students who occupy prominent positions in academia and industry.

Local clubs should contact Professor Dumesic [dumesic@engr.wisc.edu] 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

Professor Robert Davis has been selected for the 2007 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis

Professor Robert Davis has been selected for the 2007 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis. The award consists of a plaque and a prize. The purpose of the Award is to recognize and encourage individual contributions (under the age of 45) in the field of catalysis with emphasis on discovery and understanding of catalytic phenomena, proposal of catalytic reaction mechanisms and identification of and description of catalytic sites and species.

Since 2002 Bob has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Bob has made numerous lasting contributions to the fundamental science of heterogeneous catalysis with exceptional advances in acid, base, bifunctional acid/base, and base-promoted metal catalysis. He is recognized here for his pioneering contributions to the use of in-situ spectroscopic methods coupled with both steady-state and transient kinetic methods to elucidate how oxide supports and basic promoters alter the active catalytic sites for a variety of reactions, including the selective oxidation of hydrocarbons, acid/base conversions, and ammonia synthesis. A distinguishing characteristic of Bob’s research is its integration of multiple experimental techniques for characterizing heterogeneous catalysts and the kinetics of reactions occurring on their surfaces. Bob has employed a comprehensive set of spectroscopic tools including extended X-ray absorption fine structure, X-ray absorption near-edge structure, infrared, Raman, nuclear magnetic and electron spin resonance, adsorption microcalorimetry, electron microscopy together with steady state as well as transient kinetic analyses to determine the local electronic and geometric structure of the active site(s), the influence local environment, and the reactivity of novel supported catalysts under working conditions. This wide array of tools has enabled him to discover the fundamental features that control a wide range of important catalytic systems.

In addition to his outstanding research accomplishments, Bob has proven to be a leader in educating students and advancing the field of catalysis and reaction engineering. He is the co-author of a relatively new undergraduate/graduate textbook “Fundamentals of Chemical Reaction Engineering” published by McGraw-Hill. His leadership has also been well recognized by the field as Bob has chosen to lead the programming efforts for Catalysis in the Division of Catalysis and Reaction Engineering of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and currently serves as a Division Director. He has also organized and participated in a number of workshops to promote catalysis in Asia, South America and Africa for the National Science Foundation. He is one of the founders as well as the past President of the Southeastern Catalysis Society. He also recently chaired the 2006 Gordon Conference on Catalysis.

Bob will give a plenary lecture and be recognized at the 2007 North American Catalysis Society meeting in Houston. The Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis is sponsored by the Davison Chemical Division of W.R. Grace and Company. It is administered by The North American Catalysis Society and is awarded biennially in odd numbered 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.

New Award: Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis

Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis

 
An Award presented jointly by the North American Catalysis Society and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies.

The Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis is sponsored by the Haldor Topsøe Company, and is administered jointly by the North American Catalysis Society and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies. The Award will be presented biennially in odd numbered years. The recipient will give plenary lectures at the biannual meetings of the North American Catalysis Society (NAM) and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS) (EuropaCat). The award consists of a plaque or object of art and a prize of $6,000. Up to an additional $2,000 will be made available for otherwise non-reimbursed travel expenses.

The Award recognizes and encourages individual contributions to the elucidation of the mechanism and active sites involved in catalytic phenomena and to the development of new methods or concepts that advance the understanding and/or practice of heterogeneous catalysis. The Award selection process will emphasize accomplishments and contributions published within the five preceding years. Candidates may be nominated without any restriction of national origin, thus reflecting the international scope of the career and contributions of Michel Boudart.

The recipient of the Michel Boudart Award will be selected by a committee of renowned researchers appointed jointly by the Presidents of the North American Catalysis Society and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies. The selection shall be made without regard for age, sex, affiliation, or national origin.

Nominations should clearly state the qualifications and accomplishments of the nominee and should also include a biographical note and two supporting letters. A critical evaluation of the significance of publications and patents should be made, as well as a statement of the particular contribution(s) on which the nomination is based.
One complete electronic copy of the nomination packages for the 2007 Boudart Award should be sent to the President of The North American Catalysis Society (John Armor; jnagcat@verizon.net) or the President of The European Federation of the European Catalysis Societies (Roel Prins; prins@tech.chem.ethz.ch) by 20 November 2006.

2007 Eugene J. Houdry Award to Stacey Zones

The 2007 Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catalysis to Dr. Zones of Chevron Energy Technology Company, Richmond, CA, USA. The award is sponsored by Süd-Chemie, Inc., and administered by the North American Catalysis Society. The purpose of the Award is to recognize and encourage individual contributions in the field of catalysis with emphasis on the development of new and improved catalysts and processes representing outstanding advances in their useful application.

Dr. Zones primary focus has been in the area of zeolites and zeolite catalysts. He has invented over 20 new zeolite materials. Perhaps Stacey’s most important commercial work has been the development of a proprietary zeolite that he invented and is used in the extremely successful second generation Isodewaxing® catalyst. This contribution has led to the expansion of the feeds useful for the preparation of lubricant oils, via the application of catalytic dewaxing. It was first successfully commercialized in a refinery in 1996. Since then Dr. Zones has played a role in Chevron’s Catalyst Group and Technology Marketing organizations in developing other zeolite-based technologies for use in refining, separations, and petrochemical applications. In addition, Dr. Zones has focused on scaling up zeolite synthesis routes, via the development of more cost-effective approaches.

Stacey will give a plenary lecture and be recognized at the 2007 North American Catalysis Society meeting in Houston. 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.

ORCS Presents Three Awards at 21st Conference

Three recipients were selected to receive awards for excellence in organic catalysis at the 21st Conference of the Organic Reactions Catalysis Society(www.orcs.org) sponsored by the Organic Reactions Catalysis Society(ORCS) on the week of April 2, 2006 in Orlando, Florida. The 2005 Paul N. Rylander Award went to Dr. Jean-Marie Basset, Laboratoire de Chimie Organometallique de Surface, CNRS, Lyon, France and the 2006 Paul N. Rylander Award was presented to Professor Gadi Rothenberg, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The 2006 Murray Raney Award, sponsored by the W. R. Grace Co., was presented to Professor Isamu Yamauchi, Osaka University, Japan.

The Paul N. Rylander Award is an annual award, sponsored by ORCS, made to an individual who has made significant contributions to the use of catalysis in organic reactions as exemplified by Paul N. Rylander. The Murray Raney Award is made to an individual who has made significant contributions to chemistry and the chemistry industry via catalyst technology based on that originally developed by Murray Raney.

Bassett’s research has been on the forefront of the correlation of reactions which occur at the active sites of heterogenized surface organometalllic catalysts and solution phase reactions of organometallic catalysts. This has allowed him to design well defined surface catalysts that catalyze reactions that sometimes won’t occur in the homogeneous phase. His presentation was titled “New Catalytic Reactions Discovered via Surface Organometallic Chemistry”.

Rothenberg’s research has provided novel, ligand-free catalysts for carbon-carbon coupling reactions, as well as unique catalysts for selective oxidative dehydrogenation. Recently he has developed high-throughput data analysis methods and catalyst descriptor models to better find the best homogeneous catalyst for a particular transformation. His presentation was entitled “How to Find the Best Homogeneous Catalyst”.

Yamauchi’s research investigated improved methods for preparing precursors to skeletal catalysts, novel bimetallic compositions, and application of improved copper catalysts to the hydration of acrylonitrile and hydrogenation of carbon dioxide. His talk was entitled “Synthesis and Features of New Raney Catalysts from Metastable Precursors”.

The proceedings of the meeting including the award addresses will appear in a future volume of the Chemical Industries series.

James C. Stevens is the recipient of the ACS award in Industrial Chemistry

James C. Stevens, a research fellow at Dow Chemical in Freeport, Texas, is the recipient of the ACS award in Industrial Chemistry for discovery and commercial development of catalysts used in the polyolefin production. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to chemical research in the industrial context.

His work on designed ligands for titanium- and zirconium-based catalysts led to the discovery of the “single-site, constrained-geometry catalyst system” in the late 1980s. Stevens and his colleagues refined the technology, transforming it “from a lab curiosity to a commercial reality” for the production of polyolefins. More recently, his collaboration with Symyx Technologies led to the discovery of a new class of hafnium-based single-site catalysts for the polymerization of propylene. Stevens holds 75 patents and his work have resulted in commercial success for Dow. The catalysts he helped to develop are used in the production of more than 1 billion pounds of plastics and elastomers per year.

Tobin J. Marks, a catalysis chemistry professor at Northwestern University, says Stevens is “the kind of superb industrial scientist and technologist who comes along only once in a generation.” Marks adds that Stevens’ work “has permanently changed the face of modern polymerization science, and has led to a number of multi-billion-dollar processes that produce cleaner, greener, more recyclable, and more processible polymeric materials than ever believed possible. Moreover, due to Stevens’ incisive work, the intimate mechanistic details of catalyst function are understood at a level never before thought possible for an industrial olefin-polymerization catalyst.”
 
Past Recipients

  • 1991 James F. Roth
  • 1992 David R. Bryant
  • 1993 Larry F. Thompson
  • 1994 Marion D. Francis
  • 1995 Lynn H. Slaugh
  • 1996 Gordon W. Calundann
  • 1997 Robert M. Sydansk
  • 1998 William C. Drinkard, Jr.
  • 1999 Madan M. Bhasin
  • 2000 Guido Sartori
  • 2001 Paul S. Anderson
  • 2002 Bipin V. Vora
  • 2003 Bruce E. Maryanoff
  • 2004 Joseph C. Salamone
  • 2005 Edwin A. Chandross
  • 2006 James C. Stevens

James Dumesic is the recipient of the Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis

James A. Dumesic, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the recipient of the Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis sponsored by the Gabor A. & Judith K. Somorjai Endowment Fund.

Prof. Dumesic research group is currently working in the broad areas of heterogeneous catalysis and surface science. Particular emphasis is given to measuring surface properties under reaction conditions and relating these properties to catalyst performance. In addition, they use computational techniques such as quantum chemical calculations and chemical reactor simulations to help them identify new catalytic systems for study.

This award recognizes outstanding theoretical, experimental, or developmental research resulting in the advancement of understanding or application of catalysis. The award was established by the ACS Board of Directors in 2002. It is supported by the Gabor A. Somorjai Endowment Fund. A prior ACS Award for Creative Research in Homogenous or Heterogeneous Catalysis sponsored by the Shell Oil Foundation was established in 1997.
 
Past Recipients

  • 1999 Sir John Meurig Thomas
  • 2000 Gabor A. Somorjai
  • 2001 Alexis T. Bell
  • 2002 Jack H. Lunsford
  • 2003 Robert H. Grubbs
  • 2004 Bruce C. Gates
  • 2005 D. Wayne Goodman
  • 2006 James A. Dumesic