Approval of Modifications of By-Laws and Director-at-Large Elections North American Catalysis Society

In the next few weeks, all mem­bers of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety (NACS) will receive a bal­lot via elec­tronic means. This bal­lot will request your vote for six of the eleven can­di­dates for the posi­tion of Director-at-Large and also your vote regard­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions of the by-laws of the Soci­ety. I encour­age you to exer­cise your vot­ing rights within the spec­i­fied vot­ing period.

Directors-at-large (DAL) serve four-year terms and are elected by the entire mem­ber­ship. Their new term will start dur­ing the NAM23 in Louisville. Elected DAL rep­re­sent the entire mem­ber­ship by attend­ing annual NACS Board meet­ings. The Board con­sists of the NACS offi­cers, one rep­re­sen­ta­tive from each local or affil­i­ated soci­ety, and the DAL. The bal­lot will con­cur­rently ask for your approval of mod­i­fi­ca­tions of the by-laws, includ­ing one to increase the num­ber of DAL from four to six; if the mod­i­fied by-laws are not approved, the four DAL can­di­dates with the largest vote count will serve.

The mod­i­fi­ca­tions of the by-laws that are sub­mit­ted for your approval con­sist of a series of motions already approved by the Board in the inter­ven­ing years since the 2003 ver­sion. The elec­tronic bal­lot will include a detailed descrip­tion of such changes as well as a ratio­nale for each one of them. These mate­ri­als were posted into a sin­gle doc­u­ment that shows an overview of the pro­posed changes fol­lowed by the full text of the by-laws at Pro­posed By-laws — Feb­ru­ary 2013.

NACS con­sists of 14 affil­i­ate local clubs and soci­eties in Canada, Mex­ico, and the United States and well over 1,500 mem­bers. It was founded in 1956 and its mis­sion includes the stew­ard­ship and sup­port of NAM and logis­ti­cal sup­port and seed finan­cial fund­ing to the local orga­niz­ing com­mit­tees. NACS also pro­vides joint fund­ing for Kokes awards, pre­sented to stu­dents to attend NAM, and finan­cial sup­port for stu­dents to attend the reg­u­lar meet­ings of the local clubs and societies.

On behalf of the NACS lead­er­ship and its gov­ern­ing board, I encour­age you to vote and I look for­ward to see­ing you at NAM23 in Louisville (June 2–7, 2013;
With regards,
Enrique Igle­sia
Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety
Down­load the PDF ver­sion of this document.

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)