Professor Johannes Lercher receives the 2013 Tanabe Prize in Acid-Base Catalysis

The 2013 Tan­abe Prize for Acid-Base Catal­y­sis will be award­ed to Johannes A. Lercher, who receives the prize in recog­ni­tion of his sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tions to the field of acid-base catal­y­sis.

The award cer­e­mo­ny will take place at the 7th Inter­na­tion­al Sym­po­sium on Acid-Base Catal­y­sis in Tokyo, Japan May 12–15, 2013.

Johannes A. Lercher stud­ied Chem­istry and received his PhD at TU Wien. After a vis­it­ing lec­ture­ship at Yale, he joined TU Wien as lec­tur­er and lat­er Assoc. Pro­fes­sor. 1993 he was appoint­ed Pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty Twente, Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Tech­nol­o­gy, and moved in 1998 to his cur­rent posi­tion as Pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal Tech­nol­o­gy at TU Munchen. Since 2011 he is also Direc­tor of the Insti­tute for Inte­grat­ed Catal­y­sis at the Pacif­ic North­west Nation­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry.

He is exter­nal mem­ber of the Aus­tri­an Acad­e­my of Sci­ences and Mem­ber of the Acad­e­mia Europaea, and holds sev­er­al Hon­orary Pro­fes­sor­ships. He serves cur­rent­ly as Edi­tor-in-Chief of the Jour­nal of Catal­y­sis.

Research is focussed on fun­da­men­tal aspects of oxide and mol­e­c­u­lar sieve based sorp­tion and catal­y­sis, new routes to acti­vate and func­tion­al­ize hydro­car­bons, decon­struc­tion and defunc­tion­al­iza­tion of bio­mass, the mech­a­nis­tic under­stand­ing of hydrotreat­ing cat­a­lysts, and the in situ char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of cat­alyt­ic process­es.

The Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Call for Nominations of The 2013 Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award

Each year the Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia rec­og­nizes an out­stand­ing mem­ber of the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty, who has made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the advance­ment of Catal­y­sis. Such advance­ment can be sci­en­tif­ic, tech­no­log­i­cal, or in orga­ni­za­tion lead­er­ship. The Award con­sists of a plaque and a $1000 cash prize.

We appre­ci­ate your help in sub­mit­ting nom­i­na­tions. The entire nom­i­na­tion pack­age, includ­ing a resume and rec­om­men­da­tion let­ters, should not be more than 10 pages and should include a ½ page ten­ta­tive award announce­ment. The dead­line for the receipt of nom­i­na­tions is April 19, 2013. Pri­or nom­i­na­tion pack­ages sent in 2011 or lat­er will auto­mat­i­cal­ly be con­sid­ered for the 2013 Award.

Nom­i­na­tion let­ter along with sup­port­ing mate­ri­als should be emailed to
Joseph Fedeyko
John­son Matthey ECT
436 Devon Park Dri­ve
Wayne, PA 19087
Tel. 610–341-8218
Fax 610–341-3495
Past Recip­i­ents of the Award
1968 Adal­bert Farkas
1969 Charles J. Plank
1970 Paul H. Emmett
1971 G. Alex Mills
1972 Alfred E. Hirschler
1973 Paul B. Weisz
1974 Roland C. Hans­ford
1975 Paul Venu­to
1976 Heinz Heine­mann
1977 G.C.A. Schuit
1978 George W. Par­shall
1979 Alvin B. Stiles
1980 Abra­ham Schnei­der
1981 James F. Roth
1982 Robert Eis­chens
1983 Edward Rosin­s­ki
1984 James R. Katzer
1985 N.Y. Chen
1986 Bruce C. Gates
1987 James E. Lyons
1988 George Koko­tai­lo
1989 Mau­rice Mitchell, Jr.
1990 Wern­er O. Haag
1991 John A. Sofranko
1992 Fran Waller
1993 George Kerr
1994 Theodore A. Koch
1995 John N. Armor
1996 Mae Rubin
1997 Leo E. Manz­er
1998 Ray Gorte
1999 Anne M. Gaffney
2000 Hen­ry C. Foley
2001 Mark Barteau
2002 Steven D. Ittel
2003 Frank E. Herkes
2004 Jing­guang Chen
2005 Israel Wachs
2006 James Dumesic
2007 John Vohs
2008 David Olson
2009 Ted Oya­ma
2010 Chuck Coe
2011 Chun­shan Song
2012 Ros­tam Madon

Nominations open for the Herman Pines Award in Catalysis

Herman Pines

Her­man Pines

The Catal­y­sis Club of Chica­go is solic­it­ing nom­i­na­tions for the Her­man Pines Award 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 co-spon­sored by UOP, where Her­man Pines began his indus­tri­al career in 1930 and amassed 145 US patents, and by the Catal­y­sis Club of Chica­go of which Her­man Pines was a found­ing mem­ber.

The Award will be pre­sent­ed at the 2013 Catal­y­sis Club of Chica­go Spring Sym­po­sium and con­sists of a plaque, a cash award of $1,000 and reim­burse­ment for trav­el and lodg­ing as a ple­nary speak­er at the Spring Sym­po­sium.

The nom­i­nee must meet the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria:

  • Great achieve­ments of catal­y­sis research in the past five years
  • For year 2013, the award will be giv­en to Aca­d­e­m­ic / Nation­al Lab researcher
  • Active mem­ber in catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty
  • A res­i­dent of North Amer­i­ca

Dead­line for nom­i­na­tion is Feb­ru­ary 28, 2013. Nom­i­na­tion should describe the spe­cif­ic work for which the nom­i­nee should be rec­og­nized. Com­plete cur­ricu­lum vitae with let­ters of sup­port for the nom­i­nee must be includ­ed in the nom­i­na­tion, togeth­er with the descrip­tion of work.

Let­ters of nom­i­na­tion and sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion must be sent by Feb­ru­ary 28, 2013 as a sin­gle PDF doc­u­ment to:
Rafael Alcala
Pres­i­dent – Catal­y­sis Club of Chica­go (2012–2013)
150 West War­renville Rd, Naperville, IL-60563

In Memoriam: Laszlo Guczi (1932–2012)

Professor László Guczi

Pro­fes­sor Lás­zló Guczi

Pro­fes­sor Lás­zló Guczi a wide­ly known and respect­ed sci­en­tist passed away on 20th Decem­ber 2012 after a long bat­tle with ill­ness. He showed us what a clas­sic schol­ar is like: pro­fes­sion­al, knowl­edge­able, patient and kind.

Lás­zló Guczi was born on 23th March 1932 in Szeged, Hun­gary. As a young­ster he was a tal­ent­ed vio­lin play­er and planned to become a musi­cian. Luck­i­ly for the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty he accept­ed the argu­ments of his moth­er and enrolled at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Szeged. He grad­u­at­ed with an MSc degree in chem­istry in 1959 and start­ed his career in the Iso­tope Lab­o­ra­to­ry of the Research Insti­tute of Soil Sci­ence and Agro­chem­istry, Hun­gar­i­an Acad­e­my of Sci­ences. He was involved in the study of the inter­ac­tion of alkyl iodides with car­bon and red phos­pho­rous using the dif­fer­en­tial iso­tope method.

In 1962 Pro­fes­sor Tétényi invit­ed him to work at the Insti­tute of Iso­topes, Budapest. This insti­tute was his “head­quar­ter” over 50 years. The catal­y­sis research at the insti­tute was focused on the mul­ti­plet the­o­ry of Balandin apply­ing iso­topes as trac­ers. In hydrogenol­y­sis of ethane on Ni, Pt and Pd metal­lic pow­ders the bond­ing of reac­tants to the sur­face was char­ac­ter­ized by C13 and C14 label­ing as well as
H‑D and H‑T exchange. In this peri­od he spent one year in 1964/65 as post doc­tor­al fel­low at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sheffield with Pro­fes­sor J.V. Tyrrell. He received the degree of “Can­di­date of Sci­ence” and “Doc­tor of Sci­ence” from the Hun­gar­i­an Acad­e­my of Sci­ence in 1968 and 1976, respec­tive­ly.

In 1976 he estab­lished the Research Group on Catal­y­sis. He devel­oped the “Dou­ble Label­ing Method” and applied it in the study of the mech­a­nism of the selec­tive hydro­gena­tion of acety­lene and buta­di­ene. Togeth­er with Pro­fes­sor Tétényi and Pro­fes­sor Paál he received the Hun­gar­i­an State Prize in 1983 for the devel­op­ment of the prin­ci­ple of the “cat­alyt­ic sys­tem”. The essence of this prin­ci­ple is that the cat­a­lyst and the sub­strates togeth­er form the “active sites” act­ing not as sta­t­ic for­ma­tions but change con­tin­u­ous­ly dur­ing the life of the cat­a­lyst. He ini­ti­at­ed study of the struc­ture-activ­i­ty rela­tion­ship apply­ing high­ly dis­persed sup­port­ed met­al cat­a­lysts. At the begin­ning, Fe, Ru and FeRu bimetal­lic car­bonyl clus­ters as cat­a­lyst pre­cur­sors were stud­ied in the Fish­er-Trop­sch reac­tion. He intro­duced Möss­bauer spec­troscopy for in situ char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the cat­a­lysts. Based on this research he was invit­ed as ple­nary speak­er to the 9th ICC in 1988 to give a talk about clus­ter catal­y­sis. Lat­er on he extend­ed the research to inter­fa­cial chem­istry in mod­el cat­a­lysts to define the sur­face species at mol­e­c­u­lar lev­el and their influ­ence on the activ­i­ty and selec­tiv­i­ty, elec­tron prop­er­ties of nanopar­ti­cles, gen­e­sis of bimetal­lic par­ti­cles geo­met­ri­cal­ly con­fined in zeo­lite cage, role of bimetal­lic cat­a­lysts in deNOx, in CO hydrogenation/oxidation and methane acti­va­tion to form hydro­car­bons. In 1993, he was award­ed by Repub­lic’s Order Offi­cer Cross. In the last two decades he turned to the catal­y­sis by gold. He was espe­cial­ly devot­ed to study of the inter­ac­tion of gold with pro­mot­ing oxides apply­ing nan­odis­persed sys­tems pre­pared by col­loidal meth­ods and mod­el sys­tems pre­pared by phys­i­cal meth­ods. For all this research he was eager to equip his lab­o­ra­to­ry with sophis­ti­cat­ed and up-to-date tech­niques such as XPS, FT-IR, STM and SFG (Sum Fre­quen­cy Gen­er­a­tion). He undoubt­ed­ly played a pio­neer­ing role in estab­lish­ing these method­olo­gies in the Hun­gar­i­an sci­en­tif­ic cul­ture.

He was an extra­or­di­nary and a high­ly tal­ent­ed per­son, who was excel­lent in build­ing con­tacts and orga­niz­ing sci­en­tif­ic co-oper­a­tions world­wide. Lás­zló was like an ambas­sador for the Hun­gar­i­an catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty. He received recog­ni­tion all over the world, which was evi­denced by the spe­cial issues pub­lished in Applied Catal­y­sis A and Top­ics in Catal­y­sis on the occa­sions of his 70th and 80th birth­day, respec­tive­ly.

He pub­lished over 400 research papers, 12 books and chap­ters, pre­sent­ed about 430 lec­tures (out of these 34 ple­nary or invit­ed ones). He super­vised 22 PhD stu­dents, some of them from abroad. All of László’s stu­dents got post doc­tor­al posi­tion at high­ly respect­ed uni­ver­si­ties by his help. He was a pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Szeged and the Budapest Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­nol­o­gy and Eco­nom­ics. He was a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor at Worces­ter Poly­tech­nic Insti­tute, USA; The Rijks Uni­ver­si­ty, Lei­den; Uni­ver­si­ty of Pitts­burgh, USA; Lawrence Berke­ley Lab­o­ra­to­ry, USA; P&M Curie Uni­ver­si­ty, France; Schuit Insti­tute of Catal­y­sis, The Nether­lands. He served as region­al edi­tor for Applied Catal­y­sis in 1980–2006. He was also on the advi­so­ry board of Catal­y­sis Today and Reac­tion Kinet­ics and Catal­y­sis Let­ters. He played major role in orga­niz­ing the 10th ICC in Budapest in 1992 and the 8th Inter­na­tion­al Sym­po­sium on Rela­tion between Homo­ge­neous and Het­ero­ge­neous Catal­y­sis at Lake Bal­a­ton in 1995.

In pri­vate life Lás­zló was a lov­ing hus­band, father and grand­fa­ther. He was an excel­lent cook who enjoyed enter­tain­ing his friends and co-work­ers in his house at Érd, in the sub­urb of Budapest. Dur­ing his life, clas­si­cal music remained his pas­sion.

We all admired his devo­tion to the sci­ence, his unlim­it­ed ener­gy, and enjoyed his sense of humor and charm. We will great­ly miss him.
Obit­u­ary pre­pared by Zoltán Schay.

In Memoriam: James R. Katzer (1941–2012)

James Robert Katzer

James Robert Katzer

James Robert Katzer, for­mer pro­fes­sor of chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing and vice-pres­i­dent of tech­nol­o­gy for Mobil Oil Cor­po­ra­tion, died in Mar­shall­town, IA on Novem­ber 2, 2012. He was 71. Katzer was inter­na­tion­al­ly respect­ed for his exper­tise and major con­tri­bu­tions to ener­gy tech­nolo­gies and pol­i­cy. Jim Katzer built a career as a high­ly respect­ed researcher and man­ag­er in the areas of cat­alyt­ic sci­ence and in the analy­sis of tech­ni­cal issues relat­ed to the pro­duc­tion of high qual­i­ty fuels. Jim was a co-author, along with George C. A. Schuit and Bruce C. Gates of The Chem­istry of Cat­alyt­ic Process­es, pub­lished by McGraw Hill in 1978. Dur­ing his career, he authored or co-authored more than 80 tech­ni­cal arti­cles and 6 U.S. Patents.

Jim grad­u­at­ed from Iowa State with a degree in chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing in 1964. He received his Sc.D. from MIT in the same dis­ci­pline in 1969, and then imme­di­ate­ly joined the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware as an assis­tant pro­fes­sor of chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing. He was instru­men­tal in found­ing the university’s Cen­ter for Cat­alyt­ic Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, attract­ing more than $800,000 in new research fund­ing in its first year. Togeth­er with Pro­fes­sor Bruce Gates, Jim estab­lished one of the first col­lab­o­ra­tive indus­try –aca­d­e­m­ic cen­ters of its kind. He served as its first direc­tor. By 1980, the Cen­ter list­ed 23 com­pa­nies as mem­bers and had a total research bud­get of $1.8 mil­lion. Jim was pro­mot­ed to full pro­fes­sor in Delaware’s Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing in 1978.

In 1981, Jim moved to Mobil Oil Corporation’s Cen­tral Research Lab­o­ra­to­ry in Prince­ton, NJ as man­ag­er of CRL’s cat­a­lyst sec­tion. He advanced in man­age­ment at Mobil, hold­ing posi­tions of Divi­sion Manger of Process R&D and Vice Pres­i­dent of Plan­ning for Research and Engi­neer­ing. In 1997, he was appoint­ed Vice Pres­i­dent for Tech­nol­o­gy.

With the merg­er of Mobil and Exxon in 1999, Jim became Man­ag­er of Plan­ning and Port­fo­lio Analy­sis for Exxon­Mo­bil Research and Engi­neer­ing Com­pa­ny. He retired from Exxon­Mo­bil Research and Engi­neer­ing Com­pa­ny in 2004.

In recog­ni­tion of his con­tri­bu­tions to catal­y­sis and reac­tion engi­neer­ing research and com­mer­cial­iza­tion of cat­alyt­ic process­es, Jim was elect­ed to the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Engi­neer­ing in 1998. In 2001 he was award­ed the Marston Medal, Iowa State University’s high­est hon­or for a grad­u­ate from its Col­lege of Engi­neer­ing. From 2006 to 2010 Jim was mem­ber of 4 sig­nif­i­cant Nation­al Research Coun­cil stud­ies on Tran­si­tions in Trans­porta­tion, which helped define a strat­e­gy for the US’s ener­gy future. He served as a vis­it­ing sci­en­tist for MIT’s Lab­o­ra­to­ry for Ener­gy and the Envi­ron­ment from 2004 until 2007, where he was the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the MIT Future of Coal study.

At the time of his death, he was an affil­i­ate pro­fes­sor, a mem­ber of the advi­so­ry board for Iowa State University’s Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal and Bio­log­i­cal Engi­neer­ing, and a mem­ber of the Tech­ni­cal Advi­so­ry Board for the Chi­na Nation­al Insti­tute for Clean and Low-Car­bon Fuels. He was also a mem­ber of the Tech­ni­cal Advi­so­ry Board for Rive Tech­nol­o­gy and a mem­ber of the Cos­mos Club of Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

In his free time, he enjoyed sail­ing and gar­den­ing. Jim is sur­vived by his wife of 32 years, Isabelle (McGre­gor) Katzer; his moth­er, Vel­ma Sheller; son, Robert James, MD (Jen­ni) Katzer, and grand­daugh­ter, Autumn Eliz­a­beth Katzer; daugh­ter, Anne Louise Katzer; broth­ers, Wayne Katzer and Ken (Sharon) Katzer; and sis­ter, JoAnn Katzer.
(Con­tributed by Thomas Deg­nan, Roland H. Heck and Jose Santi­este­ban)

Jens Norskov named the recipient of the 2013 Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis

Prof. Jens K. Norskov

Prof. Jens K. Norskov

We are pleased to announce that Prof. Jens K. Norskov of the Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing and the SLAC Nation­al Accel­er­a­tor Lab­o­ra­to­ry at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty is the recip­i­ent of the 2013 Michel Boudart Award for the Advance­ment catal­y­sis. The Award is spon­sored by the Hal­dor Top­søe Com­pa­ny and is admin­is­tered joint­ly by the NACS and the EFCATS. More infor­ma­tion on this award and the award process can be found in the Awards fold­er of the NACS home page

The Michel Boudart Award for the Advance­ment catal­y­sis is giv­en in recog­ni­tion of 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.

The award rec­og­nizes Pro­fes­sor Jens K. Nork­skov for his pio­neer­ing work on under­stand­ing trends in cat­a­lyst activ­i­ty and devel­op­ing cat­a­lyst design prin­ci­ples based on reac­tiv­i­ty descrip­tors. He and his cowork­ers have con­tributed exten­sive­ly to the devel­op­ment of com­pu­ta­tion­al meth­ods and mod­els of sur­face reac­tiv­i­ty. Pro­fes­sor Norskov has intro­duced what is today a stan­dard mod­el of tran­si­tion met­al reac­tiv­i­ty and has used it to explain trends in adsorp­tion ener­gies and in the acti­va­tion ener­gies of ele­men­tary process­es on tran­si­tion met­al cat­a­lysts in terms of vari­a­tions in the d‑band cen­ter and oth­er para­me­ters char­ac­ter­iz­ing the prop­er­ties of sur­face elec­trons. Norskov has quan­ti­fied Brøn­st­ed-Evans-Polanyi (BEP) rela­tions and showed how they lead to pre­dic­tive mod­els that relate cat­alyt­ic reac­tiv­i­ty to adsorp­tion ener­gies of key rel­e­vant species. The meth­ods devel­oped for use in het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis have been suc­cess­ful­ly trans­ferred into the area of elec­tro­catal­y­sis. Most recent­ly, his research group has intro­duced the first data­base of sur­face chem­i­cal prop­er­ties and devel­oped pub­licly avail­able soft­ware to access and mine ther­mo­dy­nam­ic and cat­alyt­ic data on active sur­faces, thus open­ing nov­el oppor­tu­ni­ties for dis­cov­er­ing trends and for design­ing new cat­a­lysts and cat­alyt­ic process­es.

Pro­fes­sor Norskov will present ple­nary lec­tures at the 2013 meet­ings of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety in Louisville and at the 2013 Europacat Meet­ing in Lyon.

Aveli­no Cor­ma
Pres­i­dent, Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties

Enrique Igle­sia
Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety

Christopher W. Jones is the recipient of the 2013 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis

Prof. Christo­pher W. Jones

I am pleased to announce that Pro­fes­sor Christo­pher W. Jones of the School of Chem­i­cal and Bio­mol­e­c­u­lar Engi­neer­ing at the Geor­gia Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy is the recip­i­ent of the 2013 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fun­da­men­tal Catal­y­sis, spon­sored by the Grace Cat­a­lyst Tech­nolo­gies oper­at­ing seg­ment of W.R. Grace & Co. and admin­is­tered by The North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The Award con­sists of a plaque and an hon­o­rar­i­um of $5,000. The plaque will be pre­sent­ed dur­ing the clos­ing ban­quet cer­e­monies at the 2013 North Amer­i­can Meet­ing of the Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. Pro­fes­sor Jones will also present a ple­nary lec­ture dur­ing this con­fer­ence.

The Paul H. Emmett Award in Fun­da­men­tal Catal­y­sis is giv­en in recog­ni­tion of sub­stan­tial indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions 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.

The award rec­og­nizes the con­tri­bu­tions of Pro­fes­sor Christo­pher W. Jones to fun­da­men­tal advances in catal­y­sis at the inter­face between het­ero­ge­neous and homo­ge­neous catal­y­sis. Specif­i­cal­ly, his stud­ies of sil­i­ca and poly­mer-sup­port­ed Pd(II) pin­cer com­plex­es unrav­eled their behav­ior in Heck and Suzu­ki cou­pling reac­tions, where the com­plex­es were demon­strat­ed to form sol­u­ble lig­and-free species that cat­alyzed tra­di­tion­al Pd(0)-Pd(II) path­ways. His group has also devel­oped a fam­i­ly of sup­port­ed met­al-salen com­plex cat­a­lysts for enan­tios­e­lec­tive reac­tions, includ­ing coop­er­a­tive epox­ide ring-open­ing reac­tions and olefin cyclo­propa­na­tion. This work has focused on the sta­bil­i­ty and deac­ti­va­tion of these cat­a­lysts and clar­i­fied degra­da­tion path­ways, allow­ing the imple­men­ta­tion of sta­bi­liza­tion strate­gies to enhance cat­a­lyst turnovers.

In Memoriam: Paul Burg Weisz (1919–2012)

Paul B. Weisz

Paul B. Weisz, 93, for­mer Mobil Senior Sci­en­tist and Man­ag­er of Mobil’s Cen­tral Research Lab­o­ra­to­ry and an inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized expert in the area of petro­le­um refin­ing cat­a­lysts died on Tues­day, Sep­tem­ber 25th in State Col­lege, PA. Born in Pilsen, Czecho­slo­va­kia, he was the son of Alexan­der and Amalia Weisz. He is sur­vived by his wife, Rho­da A. M. Burg and two chil­dren, Ingrid and Randy Weisz. He grew up with an innate desire to become a sci­en­tist. Paul pub­lished his first arti­cle in a ham radio jour­nal at the age of 16.

Paul emi­grat­ed to the U.S. in 1939 from Berlin, inter­rupt­ing his grad­u­ate stud­ies in pre- World War II Ger­many to attend Auburn Uni­ver­si­ty where he com­plet­ed his B.S. degree in less than one year. Fol­low­ing his grad­u­a­tion, he worked as a researcher at the Bar­tol Research Foun­da­tion of the Franklin Insti­tute in Swarth­more, PA. He lat­er moved to the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy where, as an elec­tron­ics engi­neer, he par­tic­i­pat­ed in the devel­op­ment of LORAN, a long range radio sig­nal-based aid to nav­i­ga­tion.

Paul joined Mobil Research and Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion in 1946 as a Research Asso­ciate at Mobil’s Pauls­boro, NJ research lab­o­ra­to­ry. He pro­gressed through a num­ber of tech­ni­cal assign­ments, reach­ing the posi­tion of Senior Sci­en­tist, the high­est tech­ni­cal posi­tion in Mobil in 1961. He man­aged Mobil’s Explorato­ry Process Research orga­ni­za­tion from 1967 until 1969 and its Cen­tral Research Lab­o­ra­to­ry in Prince­ton, NJ from 1969 through 1982. Paul retired from Mobil in 1984.

Short­ly after join­ing Mobil, Paul became inter­est­ed in the sub­ject of dif­fu­sion and catal­y­sis. This was the foun­da­tion for a life­long inter­est in porous mate­ri­als as cat­a­lysts and specif­i­cal­ly in crys­talline hydrous alu­mi­nosil­i­cates known as zeo­lites. Along with sev­er­al Mobil col­lab­o­ra­tors, he pio­neered the use of nat­ur­al and syn­thet­ic zeo­lites as cat­a­lysts for petro­le­um refin­ing and petro­chem­i­cal man­u­fac­ture. These zeo­lite cat­a­lysts even­tu­al­ly rev­o­lu­tion­ized many refin­ing process­es because they facil­i­tat­ed only cer­tain reac­tions between mol­e­cules hav­ing spe­cif­ic dimen­sions.

In 1960, Paul pub­lished a ground-break­ing paper co-authored with Vince Frilette, anoth­er Mobil sci­en­tist. This became the foun­da­tion of “shape-selec­tive catal­y­sis” con­cept, and also one of Paul’s wide­ly cit­ed papers (J. Phys. Chem., 64, 382 (1960)). Process­es based on Paul’s con­cept of shape-selec­tive catal­y­sis were first com­mer­cial­ized in the ear­ly 1960’s. Through­out the 1970’s and 1980’s Paul was close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Mobil’s devel­op­ment of new cat­alyt­ic mate­ri­als and the process­es that were devel­oped around them.

While work­ing at Mobil, Paul took a sab­bat­i­cal in 1964 to earn his doc­tor­al degree from the Eidgenos­sis­che Tech­nis­che Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich, Switzer­land in 1966. His doc­tor­al research the­sis was based on an analy­sis of the per­me­ation of dyes into fibers. His analy­sis was the foun­da­tion for some of the fun­da­men­tal laws asso­ci­at­ed with dif­fu­sion of dye mol­e­cules into fibers.

One of Paul’s for­mi­da­ble strengths was his abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate com­plex the­o­ries suc­cinct­ly. He was a con­stant con­trib­u­tor to the ACS pub­li­ca­tion ChemTech through­out the 70’s and 80’s where he con­tin­ued to enlight­en and delight read­ers with his insight­ful obser­va­tions of how phe­nom­e­na like dif­fu­sion and kinet­ics applied to every­day life.

His 1962 arti­cle with J. S. Hicks, enti­tled “The Behav­ior of Porous Cat­a­lyst Par­ti­cles in View of Inter­nal Mass and Heat Dif­fu­sion Effects,” Chem. Eng. Sci. 17, 265 (1962) was select­ed as one of the 50 most influ­en­tial arti­cles in Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Sci­ence in the publication’s 1995 “Fron­tiers in Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Sci­ence” com­mem­o­ra­tive edi­tion.

After he retired from Mobil in 1984, he began a third, high­ly pro­duc­tive career, apply­ing chem­i­cal and phys­i­cal prin­ci­ples to bio­med­ical research first at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia an then at Penn State. Work­ing with Dr. Madeleine Jouille at U. Penn he syn­the­sized mol­e­cules that mim­ic some of the heal­ing prop­er­ties of heparin, but that do not exhib­it heparin’s poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous side effects.

For his numer­ous indus­tri­al research accom­plish­ments and con­tri­bu­tions to the sci­ence of catal­y­sis, Paul earned many awards includ­ing: The E. V. Mur­phree Award in Indus­tri­al Chem­istry from the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety (1972), The Pio­neer Award from the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Chemists (1974), The Leo Friend Award of the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety (1977), the R. H. Wil­helm Award from the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Chem­i­cal Engi­neers (1978), the Lavosier Medal from the Soci­ete Chemique de France (1983), The Lang­muir Dis­tin­guished Lec­tur­er Award from the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety (1983), the Perkin Medal, from the Amer­i­can Sec­tion of the Soci­ety of Chem­i­cal Indus­try (1985), The Carothers Award from the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety (1987), and the Nation­al Medal of Tech­nol­o­gy from Pres­i­dent George H. Bush in 1992. He was elect­ed to the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Engi­neer­ing, one of the high­est hon­ors for an engi­neer, in 1977 and received an Hon­orary Doc­tor­ate (Sc.D. in tech­no­log­i­cal sci­ence) from the Swiss Fed­er­al Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy in 1980.

Begin­ning in the ear­ly 1950’s Paul’s work at Mobil Oil with col­lab­o­ra­tors includ­ing N. Y. Chen, Vince Frilette, John McCul­lough, Dwight Prater, Jack Wise, Al Schwartz, Heinz Heine­man, Fritz Smith, and oth­ers helped set the foun­da­tions for zeo­lite catal­y­sis. His sem­i­nal work in the use of nat­ur­al zeo­lites as high­ly shape-selec­tive con­ver­sion cat­a­lysts set the stage for 50+ years of high­ly pro­duc­tive process research and rev­o­lu­tion­ized the refin­ing and petro­chem­i­cal indus­tries. Paul’s nine­ty-one issued U.S. patents and more than 180 jour­nal pub­li­ca­tions cov­er top­ics rang­ing from car­bona­ceous deposits on cat­a­lysts to chem­i­cal agents that impact the dif­fu­sion of drugs in human cells. Paul Weisz leaves behind a very rich sci­en­tif­ic and tech­ni­cal lega­cy that has great­ly impact­ed our aca­d­e­m­ic and indus­tri­al catal­y­sis research com­mu­ni­ties. His work con­tin­ues to inspire chemists and chem­i­cal engi­neers work­ing in the area of catal­y­sis and bio­ma­te­ri­als.
(Con­tributed by Thomas Deg­nan, Jose’ Santi­este­ban, and Dominick Maz­zone)

Giuseppe Bellussi is named the recipient of the 2013 Eugene J. Houdry Award of the North American Catalysis Society

Giuseppe Bel­lusi

Giuseppe Bel­lus­si, Senior Vice Pres­i­dent, Research and Devel­op­ment, for ENI Refin­ing & Mar­ket­ing is the recip­i­ent of the 2013 Eugene J. Houdry Award of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catal­y­sis is spon­sored by Clari­ant. It is admin­is­tered by The Catal­y­sis Soci­ety and award­ed bien­ni­al­ly in odd-num­bered years. This award rec­og­nizes and encour­ages 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. The award con­sists of a plaque and a prize of $5,000, which will be pre­sent­ed at the 23rd North Amer­i­can Meet­ing of the Catal­y­sis Soci­ety to be held in Louisville, Ken­tucky on June 2–7, 2013. The Award Ple­nary lec­ture will also be pre­sent­ed dur­ing this meet­ing.

The 2013 Eugene J. Houdry Award rec­og­nizes Giuseppe Bel­lus­si for his impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions to the devel­op­ment of sev­er­al key process­es in petro­chem­i­cals and refin­ing through research in new cat­alyt­ic mate­ri­als, in fun­da­men­tal under­stand­ing of under­ly­ing cat­alyt­ic phe­nom­e­na, and in enabling engi­neer­ing con­cepts for cat­alyt­ic process­es.

Dr. Bel­lus­si joined the Eni Com­pa­ny in 1981. Since then, he has been engaged in research and devel­op­ment of new tech­nolo­gies with broad impact in refin­ing, petro­chem­i­cals, and explo­ration-pro­duc­tion. His spe­cif­ic con­tri­bu­tions have focused on het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis, with spe­cif­ic empha­sis on the sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy of zeo­lite cat­a­lysts. These con­tri­bu­tions have ranged from selec­tive oxi­da­tion reac­tions to acid catal­y­sis with broad appli­ca­tions to nat­ur­al gas con­ver­sion, the upgrad­ing of heavy residues, and the syn­the­sis of new struc­tured mate­ri­als. Many of these achieve­ments have con­tributed to indus­tri­al appli­ca­tions, such as in oxi­da­tions with hydro­gen per­ox­ide on tita­ni­um-sil­i­calite (TS‑1) cat­a­lysts for the pro­duc­tion of di-phe­nols, cyclo­hexa­none oxime and propy­lene oxide and the alky­la­tion of ben­zene by light olefins to eth­yl­ben­zene or cumene on Beta-zeo­lites. Most recent­ly, Dr. Bel­lus­si has been involved in the devel­op­ment of a gas-to-liq­uids tech­nol­o­gy based on Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch syn­the­sis in slur­ry phase reac­tor and of the EST (Eni Slur­ry Tech­nol­o­gy) for upgrad­ing of heavy oils to clean high-qual­i­ty dis­til­lates with­out con­cur­rent for­ma­tion of coke and oth­er by-prod­ucts.

He has been rec­og­nized for these con­tri­bu­tions with the 1994 Don Breck Award of the Inter­na­tion­al Zeo­lite Asso­ci­a­tion, which he shared with Eni col­leagues for the devel­op­ment of TS-1-based cat­a­lysts, the 2003 John­son Matthey Award for inno­va­tion in catal­y­sis, the 2007 Inter­na­tion­al Zeo­lite Asso­ci­a­tion Award for sem­i­nal con­tri­bu­tions to the sci­ence and appli­ca­tions of zeo­lites, and the 2008 “Prof. P. Pino” Gold Medal from the Indus­tri­al Chem­istry Divi­sion of Ital­ian Chem­i­cal Soci­ety. Since 2010, Dr. Bel­lus­si has been the Pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Zeo­lite Asso­ci­a­tion.