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

Stuart Soled is 2006 Ciapetta Lecturer

It is my pleasure to announce that Dr. Stuart Soled of ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Co. is the 2006 F. G. Ciapetta Lecturer. This award is sponsored by Grace Davison Catalysts and administered by The North American Catalysis Society. The award is given in recognition of substantial contributions to one or more areas in the field of catalysis with emphasis on industrially significant catalysts and catalytic processes and the discovery of new catalytic reactions and systems of potential industrial importance. The Award consists of a plaque, an honorarium and additional money is available to cover traveling expenses to visit many of the local clubs in North America. The local clubs should contact Dr. Soled directly (908-730-2577) to make travel arrangements.

Stu has a long and distinguished record in industrial research. His nominators cited his many contributions to the synthesis, structural and functional characterization, and use of catalytic solids. Stu has made discoveries and fundamental advances in bulk solid oxides, molecular oxide clusters, sulfides, and carbides applied to Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, hydrodesulfurization, oxidation, and acid catalysis. Most recently, his work on novel, mixed metal catalysts have had a dramatic impact on the desulfurization of diesel fuels. These Nebula catalysts offer significantly enhanced activity which allow refiners to retrofit existing hydrotreaters with little additional capital cost and to produce a product which exceeds the governmentally mandated clean fuels standards around the world. Well over one million pounds of the Nebula catalyst has been deployed throughout the world for the production of ultra low sulfur fuels.

Dr soled is probably best know for his work in the area of solid acidity. His 1993 paper on the chemistry of sulfated zirconia has been cited over 100 times in the last five years, and it provides the definitive account of the structural requirements for isomerization of larger alkanes on these materials. He continued this work with the novel family of tungstated zirconias. Stu also led an effort in understanding aspects of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis that are critical components of the AGC-21 process and led the generation of a new generation of more stable catalysts.

Stu has been at ExxonMobil in Annandale, N.J. since 1979 where he is a senior member of the technical staff with the title of Distinguished Research Associate. He received his Ph.D. in 1973 from Brown University and his B.S. in Chemistry from City College of New York (graduated Magna Cum Laude). He has received the 2003 NY Catalysis Society Excellence in Catalysis Award and the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award in 2002 which is given for product innovations and important scientific breakthroughs originating in the State of New Jersey.
John Armor
President, North American Catalysis Society

Catalysis and the 2006 Nobel Prize in chemistry

Updated: 12:08 p.m. ET Oct. 5, 2005
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Americans Robert H. Grubbs and Richard R. Schrock and Yves Chauvin of France won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for discoveries that let industry create drugs and advanced plastics in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way.

The trio won the award for their development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis — a way to swap groups of atoms between molecules that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences likened to a dance in which couples change partners.

Israel Wachs receives Herman Pines Award

The Catalysis Club of Chicago is pleased to announce that the 2005 Herman Pines Award in Catalysis is presented to Professor Israel E. Wachs from Lehigh University.

The Herman Pines Award is presented annually by the Catalysis Club of Chicago at its Spring Symposium for outstanding research in the field of catalysis. Herman Pines was an outstanding research scientist, and his work revolutionized the general understanding of organic chemistry, particularly the chemistry of hydrocarbons interacting with strong acids. The award in his honor is sponsored by UOP where Herman began his industrial career in 1930 and amassed 145 US patents over a 23-year period. The award is being co-sponsored by the Catalysis Club of Chicago of which Professor Pines was a founding member.

Formal presentation of the award will take place at the 2005 Spring Symposium of the Catalysis Club of Chicago on Wednesday, May 18, 2005, where Professor Wachs will present the keynote address.

Fabio Ribeiro awarded NY Catalysis Society Excellence in Catalysis Award

The Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York is pleased to announce that Professor Fabio Ribeiro of Purdue University is the 2005 recipient of the Society’s Excellence in Catalysis Award, sponsored by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. Professor Ribeiro is being recognized for his creativity and outstanding accomplishments in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. His work is broadly recognized and characterized by complete attention to detail, and careful experimental design to precisely answer important questions in catalysis. This award recognizes Professor Ribeiro for his use of the combination of structural characterization, chemical kinetics, and ab initio calculations to understand catalytic systems at a fundamental level. Professor Ribeiro’s career is marked by success and achievement at every stage including graduate and post graduate studies with Michel Boudart and Gabor Somorjai, industrial research at Catalytica Incorporated, and faculty appointments at Worcester Polytechnic and PurdueUniversity. In a relatively short period of time, Professor Ribeiro has provided key insights into numerous important and diverse catalytic systems, such as catalytic combustion, hydrodechlorination, hydrocarbon rearrangement on alloy surfaces, and properties of oxygen-modified transition metal carbides.

Enrique Iglesia awarded the 2005 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis

Professor Enrique Iglesia of the University of California at Berkeley has been awarded the 2005 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis. The award is sponsored by Johnson Matthey Catalysts and administered by the North American Catalysis 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.

Enrique Iglesia’s work has created fascinating stories connecting the chemistry of materials, kinetics, in situ characterization, and reaction-transport models to understand industrial catalysis and to design new catalysts. Examples include oxide nanostructures as acid and oxidation catalysts and exchanged cations and metal clusters for alkane conversion. Before moving to his current position at Berkeley, he spent about ten years at Exxon Research and Engineering, where he made significant contributions in the area of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and alkane activation. His continuous interest in industrial problems is reflected in his filing of eight patents since joining Berkeley. The main thrust of his work, however, has been all along the understanding of structure and function in catalytic phenomena. The scope of his work uses many tools to assemble and coalesce this knowledge. It starts with the synthesis of active oxide domains or metal clusters within porous materials and is followed by detailed characterization of atomic arrangements. The number of these sites is counted, and in situ spectroscopic techniques such as IR, Raman, UV-visible and X-ray absorption are used to identify their local geometric and electronic properties. Finally, steady-state and transient kinetic studies, including extensive use of isotopes, are combined with in situ spectroscopic techniques to identify adsorbed intermediates and ultimately the identity and kinetic relevance of elementary steps. The quality, quantity, and impact of his fundamental publications are very impressive. Enrique is a popular lecturer; he has been very active in the organization and operation of many catalysis meetings. He also serves our community as the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Catalysis.

The lectureship provides an honorarium and a travel stipend that will allow him to visit many of the local clubs of the North American Catalysis Society. Local clubs should contact Professor Iglesia directly [iglesia@cchem.berkeley.edu] about speaking arrangements over the next two years. More information about this award, the awards process, and previous awardees are available within the Awards folder on the NACS home page (www.nacatsoc.org).

2005 Eugene J. Houdry Award to Henrik Topsøe

The 2005 Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catalysis to Dr. Henrik Topsøe of the Haldor Topsøe Research Laboratories, Lyngby, Denmark. 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.

Henrik’s work and leadership have made a significant contribution to the understanding of hydrotreating catalysts. Henrik has been an essential contributor to many commercial applications on hydrodesulfurization and other catalysts and one of the principal forces behind the position that Haldor Topsøe A/S holds in commercial deployments in catalysts and processes. “Henrik Topsøe’s work provided the concepts and definitive evidence for the CoMoS description of the synergy between MoS2 structures and Co and Ni promoters.” “His passionate efforts to bring state-of-the-art tools and concepts into the solution of complex industrial problems are without equal in the international catalysis community today.” With all this Henrik has been a prolific industrial contributor to the scientific literature. Also, “he has been a key intellectual and physical motivational force behind the emergence of the academic Danish catalysis community.”

Henrik will give a plenary lecture and be recognized at the Spring 2005 North American Catalysis Society meeting in Philadelphia. 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 Matthew Neurock selected as 2005 Emmett Awardee

I am pleased to announce that Professor Matthew Neurock has been selected
for the 2005 Paul H. Emmett Awardee 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.

Professor Neurock’s interests include computational heterogeneous catalysis, molecular modeling, and kinetics of complex reaction systems. “Matt is recognized for his pioneering contributions to theoretical methods for the analysis and prediction of catalytic rates and selectivities. Matt has developed and applied theory and atomic-scale simulation in concerted and well-constructed efforts aimed at the elucidation of catalytic reaction mechanisms on metal and oxide surfaces and at understanding and designing active sites as they exist in realistic and complex reaction environments. He and his group have brought ab initio quantum mechanical methods together with kinetic Monte Carlo methods to simulate catalytic performance and the effects of the explicit reaction environment. His studies have brought fundamental insights into the roles of surface structure, crystallite size, surface coverage, alloying, condensed media, and transient intermediates.” Other’s remark that “Matt has been extremely successful at applying quantum chemical methods to a broad range of problems in surface chemistry.”

Matt will give a plenary lecture and be recognized at the Spring 2005 North American Catalysis Society meeting in Philadelphia. 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