C&E News features Cancun meeting report

Chem­i­cal & Engi­neer­ing News has a 5 page arti­cle by Mitch Jaco­by in the July 7, 2003 issue (pp. 18–22) [http://pubs.acs.org/isubscribe/journals/cen/81/i27/html/8127sci1.html], which high­lights our recent Can­cun Nation­al meet­ing. Patic­u­lar focus is giv­en to the ple­nary award lec­tures by Pro­fes­sors Cor­ma and Zaera. Mitch con­cludes, “A week in sum­my Can­cun sounds more like vaca­tion than work… But truth be told, the catal­y­sis meet­ing was busi­ness as usu­al, with research­es talk­ing shop every­where- even on the beach.”

Enrique Iglesia wins Wilhelm Award

Pro­fes­sor Enrique Igle­sia of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley has received the 2003 R.H. Wil­helm Award in Chem­i­cal Reac­tion Engi­neer­ing from the AIChE. This award is spon­sored by Exxon­Mo­bil Research & Engi­neer­ing Com­pa­ny and rec­og­nizes an indi­vid­u­al’s sig­nif­i­cant and new con­tri­bu­tion in chem­i­cal reac­tion engi­neer­ing. As a mem­ber of the AIChE, the recip­i­ent is expect­ed to have advanced the fron­tiers of chem­i­cal reac­tion engi­neer­ing through orig­i­nal­i­ty, cre­ativ­i­ty, and nov­el­ty of con­cept or appli­ca­tion.

US Trade Commission issues report on Catalysis

In a recent­ly released report from the US Inter­na­tion­al Trade Com­mis­sion, USITC Pub­li­ca­tion 3602 [avail­able on the web at www.usitc.gov/ittr.htm- note you need only print pages 25–44], describes cat­a­lysts as an inno­v­a­tive indus­try respond­ing to tech­no­log­i­cal and com­pet­i­tive chal­lenges. The arti­cle describes the basic char­ac­ter­is­tics of cat­a­lysts, their prin­ci­ple com­mer­cial appli­ca­tions, the struc­ture of the indus­try, major chal­lenges fac­ing the indus­try; and prospec­tive future appli­ca­tions. In the sec­tion on Bar­ri­ers to Com­mer­cial­iza­tion, the author notes, “The mere fact that a new cat­a­lyst shows promis­ing tech­ni­cal prop­er­ties does not guar­an­tee that the new­er cat­alyt­ic tech­nol­o­gy will super­sede the old­er tech­nol­o­gy as rapid­ly as expect­ed, espe­cial­ly if the tra­di­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy is rec­og­nized as being reli­able and well chac­ter­ized.”

Bylaws of the NACS, June 2003

The mem­bers in atten­dance on pri­or to the begin­ning of the first ple­nary lec­ture of the Nation­al meet­ing in Can­cun were asked to vote on the minor changes pro­posed to the exist­ing bylaws of the NACS. A sum­ma­ry of these changes and the new bylaws have been post­ed on the web site since last April. The Pres­i­dent sum­ma­rized the changes, which were most­ly pro­ce­dur­al and reflect­ed minor changes in the way the Soci­ety has been oper­at­ing since the last revi­sions in 1995. The mem­bers over­whelm­ing­ly approved the changes by both a voice vote and a print­ed bal­lot.
 
Click here to view the entire doc­u­ment in PDF for­mat

Changes proposed to NACS Bylaws

The Board of Direc­tors of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety has dis­cussed, edit­ed, and accept­ed the pro­posed changes to the bylaws. Our bylaws also require that any changes to them be vot­ed on by the mem­ber­ship of the NACS, which we shall do at the begin­ning of the Can­cun meet­ing. These changes are main­ly pro­posed to reflect mod­est changes in the oper­a­tions of the NACS since the last bylaws were adopt­ed (1995). The Board of Direc­tors is respon­si­ble for the man­age­ment of the NACS and the Pres­i­dent of the NACS is the CEO of the NACS. Pro­vi­sions exist for mak­ing pro­ce­dur­al changes to the way the NACS oper­ates, but these often don’t get added to the bylaws; this new set of bylaws reflects the way the Soci­ety is cur­rent­ly oper­at­ing. The entire set of bylaws (10 pages with 25 Arti­cles) is post­ed on the web site for all to review; I will only dis­cuss the pro­ce­dur­al changes made to the 1995 bylaws.

  • Arti­cle II, sec­tion 6 describes the sta­tus of Asso­ciate (non-vot­ing) mem­bers.
  • Arti­cle II, sec­tion 7 and Arti­cle XI, sec­tion 3 defines the legal and tax sta­tus of the NACS and its clubs.
  • Arti­cle VII, describes finan­cial bond­ing of the offi­cers and the trustees
  • Arti­cle VIII, sec­tion 1 extends the num­ber of vot­ing mem­bers of the Board of Direc­tors, while Arti­cle XV, sec­tions 2 and 3 define vot­ing pro­ce­dures at the Board meet­ings.
  • Arti­cle XIII, sec­tion 1 and Arti­cle XVII, sec­tion 1 describe the appoint­ment of a Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee for elec­tion of offi­cers. Sec­tion 5 elab­o­rates the line of ascen­sion in the event the Pres­i­dent can no longer serve.
  • Arti­cle XVII, sec­tions 3 and 4 describes the com­po­si­tion and oper­a­tion of the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee.
  • Arti­cle XVII, sec­tion 5 and Arti­cle XXII describes the com­po­si­tion and selec­tion of the Awards Com­mit­tee.
  • Arti­cle XXIII describes the Kei­th Hall Edu­ca­tion­al Fund.
  • Arti­cles XXIV and XXV are added at the sug­ges­tion of our attor­ney to meet laws of incor­po­ra­tion.

 
Pre­pared by John Armor, Pres­i­dent
Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on 3/18/2003
 
At the Board of Direc­tor’s meet­ing in Can­cun on June 1, 2003, the Board of Direc­tors approved one addi­tion­al change in word­ing to Arti­cle XVII, sec­tion 4, so it now reads: The Pres­i­dent may call a meet­ing of the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee to seek its advice.
 
Click here to view the entire doc­u­ment in PDF for­mat

Stu Soled wins Excellence in Catalysis Award from NY Club

The Catal­y­sis Soci­ety of Met­ro­pol­i­tan New York is pleased to announce the Excel­lence in Catal­y­sis Award for 2003, to Dr. Stu­art L. Soled

This award rec­og­nizes Dr. Soled’s con­tri­bu­tions in the areas of mate­ri­als syn­the­sis and catal­y­sis research cul­mi­nat­ing in the devel­op­ment of the now com­mer­cial Neb­u­la fam­i­ly of cat­a­lysts for the envi­ron­men­tal­ly impor­tant pro­duc­tion of ultralow sul­fur diesel fuel. In addi­tion, Dr. Soled has made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to Exxon’s AGC-21 process for the syn­the­sis of liq­uid fuels from nat­ur­al gas.

NSF awards available for Kokes Student travel to Cancun

A grant to assist stu­dent atten­dance at the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety (NACS) Meet­ing in Can­cun, Mex­i­co has been award­ed by The Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion. The date of the meet­ing is from June 1–6th, 2003. The grant will be admin­is­tered by Tulane Uni­ver­si­ty, New Orleans, La. These funds are in addi­tion to those inde­pen­dent­ly pro­vid­ed by the NACS for this same pur­pose (Kokes Awards). Those who already sent their appli­ca­tion to the NAM orga­niz­ers in Can­cun should not have to send anoth­er one to Pro­fes­sor Gon­za­lez.

Suc­cess­ful awardees for this NSF mon­ey must meet the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria: (i) they should be grad­u­ate stu­dents in good stand­ing at an aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tion in the Unit­ed States, (ii) pref­er­ence will be giv­en to stu­dents with an accept­ed oral or poster paper and, (iii) stu­dents will be expect­ed to par­tic­i­pate in as many tech­ni­cal ses­sions as pos­si­ble.

Inter­est­ed can­di­dates for these awards should sub­mit an appli­ca­tion to Pro­fes­sor Richard D Gon­za­lez, Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing, Tulane Uni­ver­si­ty, New Orleans, La 70118. Tulane Uni­ver­si­ty is an Affir­ma­tive Action Employ­er and is com­mit­ted to eth­nic diver­si­ty includ­ing minor­i­ty appli­cants. If award­ed, these grants may be used only for trans­porta­tion to and from Can­cun and for hotel occu­pan­cy. The dead­line date for receipt of any new NSF sup­port­ed appli­ca­tions is April 30, 2003; this dead­line is a lit­tle lat­er than the NAM Kokes Award dates for the same pur­pose, which was based on ear­li­er fund­ing by the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The award pan­els for both the NSF and NACS spon­sored Kokes awards will be work­ing togeth­er.

NOTE- the full tech­ni­cal pro­gram can be read on the Can­cun NAM web­site- click on any ses­sion num­ber in the table of week-long sym­posia.

Grand Challenges in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

The Nation­al Research Coun­cil’s Board on Chem­i­cal Sci­ence & Tech­nol­o­gy has pub­lished a very inter­est­ing report enti­tled “Beyond the Mol­e­c­u­lar Fron­tier.” The full report can be read on their web site and por­tions can be copied at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309084776/html/. Here are some provoca­tive themes they iden­ti­fied, sev­er­al of which involve catal­y­sis.

  • Learn how to syn­the­size and man­u­fac­ture any new sub­stance that can have sci­en­tif­ic or prac­ti­cal inter­est, using com­pact syn­thet­ic schemes and process­es with high selec­tiv­i­ty for the desired prod­uct, and with low ener­gy con­sump­tion and benign envi­ron­men­tal effects in the process. This goal will require con­tin­u­ing progress in the devel­op­ment of new meth­ods for syn­the­sis and man­u­fac­tur­ing. Human wel­fare will con­tin­ue to ben­e­fit from new sub­stances, includ­ing med­i­cines and spe­cial­ized mate­ri­als.
  • Devel­op new mate­ri­als and mea­sure­ment devices that will pro­tect cit­i­zens against ter­ror­ism, acci­dent, crime, and dis­ease, in part by detect­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing dan­ger­ous sub­stances and organ­isms using meth­ods with high sen­si­tiv­i­ty and selec­tiv­i­ty. Rapid and reli­able detec­tion of dan­ger­ous dis­ease organ­isms, high­ly tox­ic chem­i­cals, and con­cealed explo­sives (includ­ing those in land mines) is the first impor­tant step in respond­ing to threats. The next impor­tant step for chemists and chem­i­cal engi­neers will be to devise meth­ods to deal with such threats, includ­ing those involved in ter­ror­ist or mil­i­tary attacks.
  • Under­stand and con­trol how mol­e­cules react–over all time scales and the full range of mol­e­c­u­lar size. This fun­da­men­tal under­stand­ing will let us design new reac­tions and man­u­fac­tur­ing process­es and will pro­vide fun­da­men­tal insights into the sci­ence of chem­istry. Major advances that will con­tribute to this goal over the next decades include the pre­dic­tive com­pu­ta­tion­al mod­el­ing of mol­e­c­u­lar motions using large-scale par­al­lel pro­cess­ing arrays; the abil­i­ty to inves­ti­gate and manip­u­late indi­vid­ual mol­e­cules, not just col­lec­tions of mol­e­cules; and the gen­er­a­tion of ultra­fast elec­tron puls­es and opti­cal puls­es down to X‑ray wave­lengths, to observe mol­e­c­u­lar struc­tures dur­ing chem­i­cal reac­tions. This is but one area in which increased under­stand­ing will lead to a greater abil­i­ty to improve the prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tions of the chem­i­cal sci­ences.
  • Learn how to design and pro­duce new sub­stances, mate­ri­als, and mol­e­c­u­lar devices with prop­er­ties that can be pre­dict­ed, tai­lored, and tuned before pro­duc­tion. This abil­i­ty would great­ly stream­line the search for new use­ful sub­stances, avoid­ing con­sid­er­able tri­al and error. Recent and pro­ject­ed advances in chem­i­cal the­o­ry and com­pu­ta­tion should make this pos­si­ble.

    Under­stand the chem­istry of liv­ing sys­tems in detail. Under­stand how var­i­ous dif­fer­ent pro­teins and nucle­ic acids and small bio­log­i­cal mol­e­cules assem­ble into chem­i­cal­ly defined func­tion­al com­plex­es, and indeed under­stand all the com­plex chem­i­cal inter­ac­tions among the var­i­ous com­po­nents of liv­ing cells. Explain­ing the process­es of life in chem­i­cal terms is one of the great chal­lenges con­tin­u­ing into the future, and the chem­istry behind thought and mem­o­ry is an espe­cial­ly excit­ing chal­lenge. This is an area in which great progress has been made, as biol­o­gy increas­ing­ly becomes a chem­i­cal sci­ence (and chem­istry increas­ing­ly becomes a life sci­ence).

  • Devel­op med­i­cines and ther­a­pies that can cure cur­rent­ly untreat­able dis­eases. In spite of the great progress that has been made in the inven­tion of new med­i­cines by chemists, and new mate­ri­als and deliv­ery vehi­cles by engi­neers, the chal­lenges in these direc­tions are vast. New med­i­cines to deal with can­cer, viral dis­eases, and many oth­er mal­adies will enor­mous­ly improve human wel­fare.

    Devel­op self-assem­bly as a use­ful approach to the syn­the­sis and man­u­fac­tur­ing of com­plex sys­tems and mate­ri­als. Mix­tures of prop­er­ly designed chem­i­cal com­po­nents can orga­nize them­selves into com­plex assem­blies with struc­tures from the nanoscale to the macroscale, in a fash­ion sim­i­lar to bio­log­i­cal assem­bly. Tak­ing this method­ol­o­gy from the lab­o­ra­to­ry exper­i­men­ta­tion to the prac­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing are­na could rev­o­lu­tion­ize chem­i­cal pro­cess­ing.

  • Under­stand the com­plex chem­istry of the earth, includ­ing land, sea, atmos­phere, and bios­phere, so we can main­tain its liv­abil­i­ty. This is a fun­da­men­tal chal­lenge to the nat­ur­al sci­ence of our field, and it is key to help­ing design poli­cies that will pre­vent envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion. In addi­tion, chem­i­cal sci­en­tists will use this under­stand­ing to cre­ate new meth­ods to deal with pol­lu­tion and oth­er threats to our Earth.
  • Devel­op unlim­it­ed and inex­pen­sive ener­gy (with new ways of ener­gy gen­er­a­tion, stor­age, and trans­porta­tion) to pave the way to a tru­ly sus­tain­able future. Our cur­rent ways of gen­er­at­ing and using ener­gy con­sume lim­it­ed resources and pro­duce envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems. There are very excit­ing prospects for fuel cells to per­mit an econ­o­my based on hydro­gen (gen­er­at­ed in var­i­ous ways) rather than fos­sil fuels, ways to har­ness the ener­gy of sun­light for our use, and super­con­duc­tors that will per­mit effi­cient ener­gy dis­tri­b­u­tion.
  • Design and devel­op self-opti­miz­ing chem­i­cal sys­tems. Build­ing on the approach that allows opti­miza­tion of bio­log­i­cal sys­tems through evo­lu­tion, this would let a sys­tem pro­duce the opti­mal new sub­stance, and pro­duce it as a sin­gle prod­uct rather than as a mix­ture from which the desired com­po­nent must be iso­lat­ed and iden­ti­fied. Self-opti­miz­ing sys­tems would allow vision­ary chem­i­cal sci­en­tists to use this approach to make new med­i­cines, cat­a­lysts, and oth­er impor­tant chem­i­cal products–in part by com­bin­ing new approach­es to infor­mat­ics with rapid exper­i­men­tal screen­ing meth­ods.
  • Rev­o­lu­tion­ize the design of chem­i­cal process­es to make them safe, com­pact, flex­i­ble, ener­gy effi­cient, envi­ron­men­tal­ly benign, and con­ducive to the rapid com­mer­cial­iza­tion of new prod­ucts. This points to the major goal of mod­ern chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing, in which many new fac­tors are impor­tant for an opti­mal man­u­fac­tur­ing process. Great progress has been made in devel­op­ing green chem­istry, but more is need­ed as we con­tin­ue to meet human needs with the pro­duc­tion of impor­tant chem­i­cal prod­ucts using process­es that are com­plete­ly harm­less to Earth and its inhab­i­tants.
  • Com­mu­ni­cate effec­tive­ly to the gen­er­al pub­lic the con­tri­bu­tions that chem­istry and chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing make to soci­ety. Chemists and chem­i­cal engi­neers need to learn how to com­mu­ni­cate effec­tive­ly to the gen­er­al public–both through the media and directly–to explain what chemists and chem­i­cal engi­neers do and to con­vey the goals and achieve­ments of the chem­i­cal sci­ences in pur­suit of a bet­ter world.
  • Attract the best and the bright­est young stu­dents into the chem­i­cal sci­ences, to help meet these chal­lenges. They can con­tribute to crit­i­cal human needs while fol­low­ing excit­ing careers, work­ing on and beyond the mol­e­c­u­lar fron­tier.

Make your airline and hotel reservations quickly for Cancun

The on-line reg­is­tra­tion is now avail­able for the Can­cun meet­ing.

The full tech­ni­cal pro­gram can be read on the Can­cun NAM web­site- click on any ses­sion num­ber in the table of week-long sym­posia.

Note there are two reg­is­tra­tion entries to fill in: the hotel and the meet­ing. You will need a cred­it card for both, although the hotel charge will not be made to your cred­it card unless you don’t can­cel in time.

Reg­is­ter on-line at http://www.18nam.org.

Can­cun is a pop­u­lar vaca­tion resort, so you should make your air­line reser­va­tions ear­ly in order to get the low­est fares. Flights on Amer­i­can car­ri­ers are sold on the basis of seat avail­abil­i­ty. As the plane fills up, the seats get more and more expen­sive. [My seat, pur­chased last month was ~$600. from Philadel­phia, a month lat­er it is now twice that.] Shop around and be flex­i­ble on dates in order to get the best air­fare.

From the East Coast of the USA there are non-stops on US Air­ways (from PHL), on Con­ti­nen­tal (from Newark), and on Unit­ed (from Mia­mi). Amer­i­can Air­lines and North­west also fly into Can­cun. Many trav­el agen­cies run group flights and some­times these can be quite cheap.

Alex Bell awarded 2003 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis

Pro­fes­sor Alex­is T. Bell has been award­ed the 2003 Robert Bur­well Lec­ture­ship in Catal­y­sis by the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The Lec­ture­ship is spon­sored by John­son Matthey PLC’s Cat­a­lysts and Chem­i­cals Divi­sion and 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. His research activ­i­ties have led to more than 400 pub­li­ca­tions in the most pres­ti­gious jour­nals in catal­y­sis, chem­istry and chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing. Over many years he has applied cut­ting-edge spec­troscopy and the­o­ry to study sur­faces before and after cat­alyt­ic reac­tions.

His nom­i­na­tors offered some of the fol­low­ing remarks. His ear­li­er work with Pro­fes­sor Doros Theodor­ou pio­neered the appli­ca­tion of sta­tis­ti­cal mechan­ics and mol­e­c­u­lar dynam­ics for pre­dict­ing the adsorp­tion and dif­fu­sion of mol­e­cules in zeo­lites. This rep­re­sent­ed one of the first quan­ti­ta­tive appli­ca­tions of the­o­ret­i­cal meth­ods to sys­tems of direct cat­alyt­ic rel­e­vance. Lat­er his work with Pro­fes­sor Arup Chakraborty suc­ceed­ed in using quan­tum mechan­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions to deter­mine the sit­ing and sta­bil­i­ty of met­al cations exchanged into zeo­lites. In the area of Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch syn­the­sis, his ele­gant use of in situ infrared meth­ods, sur­face sci­ence tech­niques, and iso­topic switch meth­ods led to a mech­a­nis­tic pic­ture of “unprece­dent­ed clar­i­ty and rel­e­vance.” Rate con­stants for ele­men­tary steps and the iden­ti­ty and reac­tiv­i­ty of spe­cif­ic adsorbed inter­me­di­ates were mea­sured and ulti­mate­ly used to elu­ci­date the under­ly­ing struc­ture-func­tion rela­tions for chain growth as well as the oper­a­tive basis for wide­ly report­ed strong meta-sup­port­ed inter­ac­tions. His stud­ies have led to demon­stra­tion of a nov­el bifunc­tion­al mech­a­nism for methanol syn­the­sis and leads to strong effects of Lewis acid­i­ty and basic­i­ty of ZrO2 on activ­i­ty and selec­tiv­i­ty. He has also made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions in the area of zeo­lite catal­y­sis by elu­ci­dat­ing the mech­a­nism of both the syn­the­sis and func­tion of these het­ero­ge­neous cat­a­lysts.

Togeth­er with Pro­fes­sor Clay Rad­ke, the appli­ca­tion of NMR meth­ods led to the direct obser­va­tion of the struc­ture-direct­ing role of organ­ic and inor­gan­ic cations dur­ing syn­the­sis and to a clear mech­a­nis­tic pic­ture of their self-assem­bly in com­plex solu­tions and gels. A com­bi­na­tion of kinet­ic, infrared, iso­topic and the­o­ret­i­cal stud­ies also led to a clear­er mech­a­nis­tic and struc­tur­al pic­ture of the nature of exchanged cations in zeo­lites and their involve­ment in form­ing and sta­bi­liz­ing reac­tive inter­me­di­ates in the reduc­tion of NO by hydro­car­bons. In the area of met­al oxides, Alex pio­neered the use of Raman spec­troscopy for the struc­tur­al char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of dis­persed struc­tures. His appli­ca­tions of these meth­ods to the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of oxida­tive dehy­dro­gena­tion cat­a­lysts led to spe­cif­ic assign­ments of site reac­tiv­i­ty and to a com­pre­hen­sive pic­ture of the mech­a­nism and site require­ments for desired and unde­sired reac­tions of alka­nes on dis­persed oxides. More recent­ly, work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pro­fes­sor Enrique Igle­sia, he has also explored the use of in situ UV-vis­i­ble and X‑ray absorp­tion spec­troscopy in mea­sur­ing the num­ber of active sites and reduced cen­ters dur­ing alka­ne oxi­da­tion reac­tions. Through­out all this work, Alex has repeat­ed­ly demon­strat­ed a nat­ur­al tal­ent that allows him to trans­late his research on cat­alyt­ic phe­nom­e­na, cat­alyt­ic reac­tion mech­a­nisms, and the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and descrip­tion of cat­alyt­ic sites for a wide range of chemistries into under­stand­able terms for his audi­ence.

The lec­ture­ship comes with an hon­o­rar­i­um and trav­el stipend that will allow him to vis­it many of the local clubs of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety in order to stim­u­late both young and old minds to the mar­vels of catal­y­sis.
 
John N. Armor