Video Clips added to NACS Website

For sev­er­al years the NACS has been con­tin­u­al­ly enhanc­ing a part of its web­site to include his­tor­i­cal items of inter­est to the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty. We have some white papers post­ed on key cat­alyt­ic tech­nolo­gies, as well as news items on many of the past lead­ers in the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty. Much of the slides that Heinz Heine­mann pre­sent­ed at the 2005 NAM ban­quet are already post­ed on this site. More recent­ly, I’ve added some new pho­tos to the biogra­phies that we have and added some more biogra­phies.

Now the NACS has ini­ti­at­ed a brand new fea­ture to enhance the his­tor­i­cal con­tent of its pop­u­lar web­site. We have begun to pro­vide a his­tor­i­cal col­lec­tion of video clips of pop­u­lar fig­ures in catal­y­sis. We hope these first 7 video clips will grow to a large col­lec­tion of such video clips pro­vid­ing a glimpse of some of the notable speak­ers in catal­y­sis over the past decades. The pur­pose of these post­ings is to give the mem­ber­ship, the pub­lic, and new entrants into the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty a glimpse of high pro­file speak­ers and pop­u­lar top­ics in catal­y­sis.

Sev­er­al years ago, the NACS began to record videos at NACS events as a means of col­lect­ing a video his­to­ry of nota­bles in the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty. This effort by Pro­fes­sor Burt Davis (our vol­un­teer, ded­i­cat­ed video­g­ra­ph­er) was often lim­it­ed by poor audio or light­ing in large con­fer­ence rooms and was not eas­i­ly shared with the mem­ber­ship. New­er video record­ing tech­nol­o­gy and stor­age of video on the WWW, now allows these video clips to be shared with the world­wide com­mu­ni­ty.

We chose the recent 20th NAM meet­ing in Hous­ton as the first fea­tured set of clips. The first five min­utes of the five ple­nary lec­tures and por­tions of the ban­quet acknowl­edge­ments are now post­ed on the web­site. While each, entire pre­sen­ta­tion was record­ed, these would be too long for post­ing on the WWW. Some­times the video qual­i­ty is sub par (due to light­ing or audio lim­i­ta­tions), but it is a begin­ning of what we hope will be a mem­o­rable post­ing of lead­ers among the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty, and I am sure new tech­nol­o­gy will improve the qual­i­ty of the videos in the years to come. I’ve asked Burt Davis to find oth­er good qual­i­ty video clips for addi­tion­al post­ings. If some of the mem­ber­ship have good, video qual­i­ty clips that they might wish to have post­ed on the NACS web­site, please con­tact me, John Armor ( Ini­tial­ly, we will offer these as ~ 5 minute seg­ments of the full lectures/interviews.

To review a video clip, go to the NACS video page. Speak­ers are list­ed with the title of their lec­ture. Start the video clip by click­ing on the but­ton to the low­er left below each pho­to.

Let me have any sug­ges­tions or com­ments which might improve this new web­site fea­ture. Burt Davis has done a great deal of vol­un­tary work to record, com­pile, edit, and con­sol­i­date these videos, and we thank him for his efforts. Thanks also go to Ray Buch­ta who has been invalu­able in set­ting up and design­ing the graph­ics of our web­site.
John Armor
Pres­i­dent NACS

Robert Farrauto is the 2008 F. G. Ciapetta Lecturer

Robert Far­rauto

Robert Far­rauto

It is my plea­sure to announce that Dr. Robert Far­rauto of BASF’s Catal­y­sis Research is the 2008 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. Fur­ther details about this Award and its his­to­ry may be found in the Awards Fold­er of the NACS web­site, The local clubs should con­tact Dr. Far­rauto direct­ly (732–205-5306) to make trav­el arrange­ments.

Bob has a long and dis­tin­guished record in indus­tri­al research. Among his impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions to indus­tri­al catal­y­sis has been the devel­op­ment of cat­a­lysts for the abate­ment of engine emis­sions, in par­tic­u­lar, diesel engines. One gauge of the impact of his dis­cov­er­ies in this area is in the $300 mil­lion sales they gen­er­at­ed for his com­pa­ny of 30 years, now BASF Cat­a­lysts (for­mer­ly Engel­hard Cor­po­ra­tion). Anoth­er impor­tant dis­cov­ery was the use of a zeo­lite addi­tive to trap the heavy mol­e­c­u­lar weight hydro­car­bon emis­sions dur­ing cold start, which allowed the tech­nol­o­gy devel­oped orig­i­nal­ly for heavy duty engines to be used for diesel engines for pas­sen­ger cars. This tech­nol­o­gy cre­at­ed a new par­a­digm in emis­sion cleanup cat­a­lysts. Bob has also con­tributed to many oth­er suc­cess­ful com­mer­cial devel­op­ments. One such exam­ple occurred in 1986 when, as a co-inven­tor at Engel­hard, he devel­oped a fast light off ammo­nia oxi­da­tion cat­a­lyst for the pro­duc­tion of nitric acid. This tech­nol­o­gy, com­mer­cial­ly known as HyliteTM, is still in prac­tice today. It enhances the light off of the cat­a­lyst gauze in hours as opposed to days. He and his team also devel­oped the fun­da­men­tal mech­a­nism of the deac­ti­va­tion of the Pt recov­ery gauze. This knowl­edge, cou­pled with the HyliteTM cat­a­lyst tech­nol­o­gy, vir­tu­al­ly elim­i­nat­ed this mode of deac­ti­va­tion, adding increased life­time and nitric acid yield to the process. This has result­ed in over $10 mil­lion in rev­enues for Engel­hard. With­in the last 7 years Bob and his team have pio­neered in the devel­op­ment of pre­cious met­al cat­alyzed mono­liths and heat exchang­ers for dis­trib­uted hydro­gen for fuel cells and the hydro­gen econ­o­my. The team has com­mer­cial­ized over 25 new cat­a­lysts.

Bob’s inno­va­tions have spanned a wide range of areas involv­ing reduc­tants, oxi­dants, high and low tem­per­a­ture appli­ca­tions, liq­uid and gas phase reac­tants, and cat­a­lysts in pel­let and mono­lith­ic forms. This broad patent port­fo­lio is a strong tes­ta­ment to his cre­ativ­i­ty. His achieve­ments have been rec­og­nized recent­ly by the 2005 Catal­y­sis and Reac­tion Engi­neer­ing Divi­sion Prac­tice Award from the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Chem­i­cal Engi­neers, the 2001 Hen­ry Albert Award for excel­lence in pre­cious met­al catal­y­sis by the Inter­na­tion­al Pre­cious Met­als Insti­tute, and the 2000 Cross-Cana­da Catal­y­sis Lec­ture­ship Award.

Also, Bob Far­rauto has made remark­able con­tri­bu­tions to edu­cat­ing stu­dents and men­tor­ing young indus­tri­al col­leagues, con­tribut­ing to the sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­ture, and pro­vid­ing ser­vice to the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty. Bob has a pas­sion for teach­ing. He taught cours­es in indus­tri­al catal­y­sis after his reg­u­lar work­ing hours at Engel­hard at the near­by New Jer­sey Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy from 1990 to 1997. The excel­lence of his lec­tures was rec­og­nized by a teach­ing award giv­en to the best Adjunct Pro­fes­sor. He con­tin­ues his aca­d­e­m­ic affil­i­a­tion with his cur­rent posi­tion as Adjunct Pro­fes­sor in the Earth and Envi­ron­men­tal Engi­neer­ing Depart­ment at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty in the City of New York. There he start­ed the BASF-Colum­bia pro­gram to fund research for grad­u­ate stu­dents and post docs. It links Colum­bia and BASF through pro­grams of mutu­al inter­est in envi­ron­men­tal and green chem­istry. He also co-authored two text­books describ­ing Indus­tri­al Cat­alyt­ic Process­es, one in col­lab­o­ra­tion with his col­league Ron Heck, the oth­er with Pro­fes­sor Cal Bartholomew, and both books are cur­rent­ly in their sec­ond edi­tions. In addi­tion, he has con­tributed over 75 papers to the sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­ture rang­ing from reviews to con­tri­bu­tions in new fields. He is a co-inven­tor of 50 US patents. He is a gift­ed lec­tur­er and has pre­sent­ed his var­i­ous research find­ings to a wide inter­na­tion­al audi­ence. Bob has also served the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty in many ways, includ­ing being respon­si­ble for the tech­ni­cal pro­gram at the very suc­cess­ful 2005 North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety Meet­ing in Philadel­phia. He was the edi­tor of Applied Catal­y­sis B for North and South Amer­i­ca for sev­en years.

Bob received his BS degree from Man­hat­tan Col­lege in New York City and PhD from Rens­se­laer Poly­tech­nic Insti­tute in Troy, New York.
John Armor
Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety

Nominations now open for The Tanabe Prize for Acid Base Catalysis

The Tan­abe Prize for Acid Base Catal­y­sis is spon­sored by The Inter­na­tion­al Acid-Base Catal­y­sis (ABC) Group. It is admin­is­trat­ed by The ABC Group and will be award­ed at ABC‑6 and at all sub­se­quent ABC con­fer­ences. Each awardee will be asked to give a ple­nary lec­ture. The award con­sists of a plaque and a prize of $ 2,000. Up to an addi­tion­al $ 1,000 will be made avail­able for oth­er­wise non-reim­bursed trav­el expens­es.

The award is giv­en in recog­ni­tion of sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tions to the field of acid and/or base catal­y­sis. It may be giv­en either to a young per­son who has demon­strat­ed real promise in the ear­ly part of his/her career, or to an indi­vid­ual at any stage of his/her career (sub­ject to the age require­ment below), who has made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the area with­in the six years pre­ced­ing the award.

Selec­tion of the awardee will be made by a com­mit­tee appoint­ed by a vote of the board mem­bers of The ABC Group. The nom­i­nees should not have passed their 56th birth­day on 10 May 2009 on which date the award will be pre­sent­ed at the ABC‑6 con­fer­ence. Nom­i­na­tion pack­ages should indi­cate the nominee’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions, accom­plish­ments, nom­i­nat­ing let­ter, one option­al sec­ond­ing let­ter and a biog­ra­phy of the nom­i­nee. A crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tion of the sig­nif­i­cance of the candidate’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions should be made as well as a state­ment of the par­tic­u­lar contribution(s) on which the nom­i­na­tion is based. Nom­i­na­tion pack­ages for the Award must be received by 1 June 2008.

All nom­i­na­tion pack­ages (one elec­tron­ic copy) should be sent to Jacques Vedrine, Pres­i­dent, The ABC Group; at An email receipt mes­sage will be sent to each nom­i­na­tor.

Call for IACS Award Nominations

IACS will present two awards at the 14th ICC in Seoul – the ICC Award and the Heinz Heine­mann Award. Please note that the dead­line for nom­i­na­tions is Jan­u­ary 15, 2008. All nom­i­na­tions should be sub­mit­ted to the Pres­i­dent of the IACS by email to the fol­low­ing address: The recip­i­ents of these awards will be select­ed by the IACS Awards Com­mit­tee, and it is planned to inform the recip­i­ents by March 15, 2008. Both recip­i­ents will be invit­ed to present a ple­nary pre­sen­ta­tion at the ICC in Seoul

International Catalysis Award

The Inter­na­tion­al Catal­y­sis Award will be giv­en to recog­nise and encour­age indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions by a young per­son in the field of catal­y­sis, such as the dis­cov­ery of the sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment of a cat­alyt­ic process, or an impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the under­stand­ing of cat­alyt­ic phe­nom­e­na. The recip­i­ent must not have passed her/his 45th birth­day by May 1 of the award year. The Award con­sists of a plaque and a check for $5,000.

Heinz Heinemann Award in Catalyst Science and Technology

The Heinz Heine­mann Award in Catal­y­sis will be giv­en to an indi­vid­ual or a group for sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to cat­a­lyst sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy achieved between Jan­u­ary 1, 2003, and Decem­ber 31, 2007. The Award con­sists of a plaque and a check for $5,000.

Nomination Procedure

Nom­i­na­tion of the award should be made before Jan­u­ary 15 in the year of an Inter­na­tion­al Con­gress on Catal­y­sis (i.e. Jan­u­ary 15, 2008, for the awards made at the 14th ICC), and should include a crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tion of the sig­nif­i­cance of the nom­i­nee’s pub­lished work, as well as a state­ment about the par­tic­u­lar con­tri­bu­tion on which the nom­i­na­tion is based. Nom­i­na­tions should also include the nom­i­nee’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions, accom­plish­ments and biog­ra­phy. Nom­i­na­tion doc­u­ments, along with no more than four let­ters of sup­port, should be sub­mit­ted elec­tron­i­cal­ly as a sin­gle PDF file to the Pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties ( recip­i­ent will be required to give a lec­ture on her/his research as part of the Inter­na­tion­al Con­gress on Catal­y­sis at which the award is con­ferred (i.e. 14th ICC, July 13–18, 2008 in Seoul, Korea).

Selection of Award Recipients

Selec­tion of the award recip­i­ents will be made by an Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee com­posed of renowned sci­en­tists or engi­neers. This Com­mit­tee will be appoint­ed by the Pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties, sub­se­quent to pro­pos­als from the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties. Posthu­mous awards will be made only when knowl­edge of the win­ner’s death is received after the announce­ment of the Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee’s deci­sion.

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

New Folder, Past NAM meetings

The NACS web­site now con­tains a new sub-fold­er, Past NAM meet­ings. This con­tains abstracts and pro­gram con­tent from the past NAM meet­ings (18th in Can­cun in 2003, 19th in Philadel­phia 2005, and 20th in Hous­ton in 2007).

Professor John M. White Passes Away

Pro­fes­sor John M. (Mike) White passed away sud­den­ly and unex­pect­ed­ly on Fri­day, August 31, 2007, while vis­it­ing his son in Okla­homa City. Since 1966, Mike worked for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas for 41 years as a well-loved chem­istry pro­fes­sor, served as the Chair­man of the Chem­istry Dept. and Direc­tor of the Sci­ence & Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter. Mike held the pres­ti­gious Robert A. Welch Chair in Chem­istry and had been with The Uni­ver­si­ty, when he was hired as an assis­tant pro­fes­sor fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of his Ph.D. at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois. His research inter­ests spanned a wide range of top­ics relat­ed to sur­face and mate­ri­als chem­istry, and he was one of the pio­neers in pho­to­chem­istry. A major con­tri­bu­tion to the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty was his exploita­tion of the tech­niques of sur­face physics for the inves­ti­ga­tion of a vari­ety of sur­face chem­i­cal prob­lems.

From 1991–2002, White served as Direc­tor of one of the ear­li­est Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion-fund­ed sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy cen­ters, head­ing up a team of twelve fac­ul­ty, five post­doc­tor­al fel­lows, and twen­ty-five grad­u­ate stu­dents from four UT depart­ments. His Cen­ter for Syn­the­sis, Growth and Analy­sis of Elec­tron­ic Mate­ri­als was fre­quent­ly held up by NSF offi­cials as a mod­el of superb research, man­age­ment, and report­ing for oth­er inter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tions. He also spent time research­ing for the Fritz- Haber Insti­tute in Berlin, Ger­many and most recent­ly for the Pacif­ic North­west Nation­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry in Rich­land, WA direct­ing the Insti­tute for Inter­fa­cial Catal­y­sis.

Pro­fes­sor White grad­u­at­ed more than fifty doc­tor­al stu­dents, pub­lished over 650 schol­ar­ly arti­cles, and served a term as Chair of the Depart­ment of Chem­istry and Bio­chem­istry dur­ing his forty-one years at The Uni­ver­si­ty. Many of his for­mer stu­dents and post­doc­tor­al fel­lows now teach in uni­ver­si­ties around the world. He men­tored numer­ous new fac­ul­ty and part­nered with them on research projects, help­ing to secure hard-to-get grant fund­ing. He engaged large num­bers of under­grad­u­ates in research and encour­aged them to con­tin­ue with grad­u­ate stud­ies. Many of these under­grads pub­lished results in ref­er­eed jour­nals and made pre­sen­ta­tions at pro­fes­sion­al meet­ings. Noth­ing made him proud­er than see­ing his stu­dents suc­ceed, and in his work, his students—not his stel­lar reputation—were by far his top pri­or­i­ty.

In 2004, White began a joint research appoint­ment with Pacif­ic North­west Nation­al Lab­o­ra­to­ries that led to the estab­lish­ment of the Depart­ment of Ener­gy’s Insti­tute for Inter­fa­cial Catal­y­sis at PNNL, and in Feb­ru­ary, 2005, he was named its first Direc­tor, a post he held until his death.

If you wish to donate to the Endow­ment Fund for a Grad­u­ate Stu­dent Fel­low­ship in Mem­o­ry of Mike White, and/or if you wish to make a com­mit­ment for a future con­tri­bu­tion to this fund, please sim­ply make a check out to UT Austin, or The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas Austin, impor­tant­ly adding in the memo field on the check “in mem­o­ry of Mike White”, or write a let­ter of com­mit­ment with the pro­posed amount and future date, and mail it to:
Attn: Tim Aron­son
Col­lege of Nat­ur­al Sci­ences, Office of the Dean
The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas
1 Uni­ver­si­ty Sta­tion G2500
Austin, Texas 78712–0549
Sto­ry in part from Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas web­site,

Nominations now open for Ciapetta Lectureship in Catalysis

The F.G. Cia­pet­ta Lec­ture­ship in Catal­y­sis is spon­sored by the Davi­son Chem­i­cal Divi­sion of W.R. Grace & Com­pa­ny and The North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The Soci­ety admin­is­ters this Lec­ture­ship. It is to be award­ed bien­ni­al­ly in even num­bered years. The Award con­sists of a plaque and an hon­o­rar­i­um of $5,000. Trav­el expens­es are pro­vid­ed through a trav­el escrow fund, admin­is­tered by the NACS, to be used on a “as need­ed basis” for the recip­i­ents from acad­e­mia or indus­tri­al com­pa­nies (with $100 Mil­lion annu­al sales; up to $3,000. for employ­ees of larg­er com­pa­nies). 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 awardee will be select­ed on the basis of his/her con­tri­bu­tions to the cat­alyt­ic lit­er­a­ture and the cur­rent time­li­ness of these research con­tri­bu­tions. The recip­i­ent may be invit­ed to vis­it and lec­ture to each of the affil­i­at­ed Clubs/Societies with which mutu­al­ly sat­is­fac­to­ry arrange­ments can be made. Selec­tion of the awardee will be made with­out regard to age, sex, nation­al­i­ty, or affil­i­a­tion. The nom­i­na­tion should con­tain a crit­i­cal eval­u­a­tion of the sig­nif­i­cance of can­di­date’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions should be made as well as a state­ment of the par­tic­u­lar contribution(s) on which the nom­i­na­tion is based. Nom­i­na­tion doc­u­ments (nom­i­na­tion let­ter, CV, jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, and no more than 2 sec­ond­ing let­ters) in one com­plete pack­age should be sub­mit­ted elec­tron­i­cal­ly to the Pres­i­dent of the Soci­ety. Nom­i­na­tions for the 2008 Cia­pet­ta Award will close on Novem­ber 1, 2007.All nom­i­na­tion pack­ages for the Cia­pet­ta Award should be should be sent to John Armor, Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety; at . Receipt of any nom­i­na­tion, will be con­firmed by an email mes­sage sent to each nom­i­na­tor.

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 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.