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)