2013 Natural Gas Conversion Award

Professor Krijn de Jong (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) has been chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Award for Excellence in Natural Gas Conversion. The Award is presented every three years during the International Natural Gas Conversion Symposium to recognize enduring and significant contributions to science and technology for conversion of natural gas to valuable products. The previous award recipients are Jack Lunsford (1993), Jens Rostrup-Nielsen (1998), Lanny Schmidt (2001), Enrique Iglesia (2004), David Trimm (2007) and Anders Holmen (2010).

Professor Krijn de Jong is recognized for consistently making noteworthy contributions to the field of natural gas conversion and the development of technologies that are likely to play an important role in meeting the world’s chemical and fuel requirements in the years ahead. These contributions are based on a powerful combination of scientific excellence, originality and societal relevance. In particular he has made eminent contributions to the synthesis, structural characterization, fundamental understanding and utilization of solid catalysts for the conversion of natural gas to fuels and chemicals. As specific highlights we mention his research on cobalt particle size effects for the Fischer Tropsch synthesis and supported iron nanoparticles for the direct conversion of synthesis gas to lower olefins. In addition, Professor Krijn De Jong has been a leading figure both nationally and internationally in his field of catalysis and chemistry, via chair and board membership roles in conferences, program committees, advisory councils, professional associations and editorial board roles for top-notch international scientific journals and book series. Last but not least, De Jong is also recognized for being an inspirational and driven teacher, using his didactic talent to equip a younger generation for creating contributions themselves to technology development in natural gas conversion and other areas.

The award consists of a plague and a monetary prize, which will be presented at the 10th Natural Gas Conversion Symposium to be held in Doha, Qatar (March 2-7 2013). Professor Krijn de Jong will also give the Award Plenary Lecture during this meeting.

North American Catalysis Society Awards and Process

Awards presented by the North American Catalysis Society

The North American Catalysis Society sponsors six prestigious awards and lectureships to recognize the accomplishments of catalysis scientists and to promote the advancement of catalysis science in North America and world-wide. These awards are described in the NACS web site (http://www.nacatsoc.org/awards_desc.asp).

Three of these awards include plenary lectures at NACS biannual meetings (Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catalysis, Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis, Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis, the latter jointly presented with the European Federation of Catalysis Societies). The F.G. Ciapetta and Robert Burwell Lectureships in Catalysis involve lectures at local club meetings and the presentation of the awards at the NACS meeting banquet. The NACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Catalysis is the most recent recognition instituted by the Society. All of these awards are presented every two years and the nomination deadlines are listed in the NACS web site.

Canvassing and Nomination Processes

NACS encourages all nominations for these awards and nominators and nominees need not be NACS members. The President instructs the Vice President to form a canvassing committee for each cycle of every award to ensure a full slate of outstanding candidates. This committee is led by the NACS Vice-President and consists of previous award recipients and recognized experts within the catalysis community at-large. The committee identifies worthy candidates and its Chair seeks nominators for these candidates, but provides no specific guidance about the preparation of the nomination packages beyond that provided on the NACS web site. The Chair also instructs the Secretary to contact all NACS local representatives to request that they canvass for nominations within their local sections. All nomination deadlines and cycles are also announced in the quarterly NACS newsletter.

Award Recipient Nomination Process

The jury that selects each NACS award recipient consists of scientists and engineers recognized as experts and representing industry, academia, and national labs. The members of this jury must have no affiliation with any of the nominees and are specifically asked to disclose any conflicts of interest and to disqualify themselves without prejudice when a conflict exists. The selection jury is appointed by the NACS President, who seeks guidance in selecting its members from the Vice President and from senior members of the catalysis community. The identity of the jury members is kept in the strictest confidence and known only to the President; the members are also required to keep their participation in these committees confidential.

The NACS President provides the jury with the nomination packages for all candidates within two weeks of the deadline; in the intervening time, potential jury members are asked about their willingness to serve. The members of the jury rank the candidates and provide specific details for their selection in the case of the top three candidates. In some cases, jury members are asked to again rank the top two candidates side-by-side, after considering their respective nomination packages once again.

The recipient of the Award and his/her nominators are informed of the decision of the jury, followed by notification of jury members and of nominators of the other candidates. A formal announcement, composed by the President in consultation with the recipient and the nominator, is published in the NACS web site and the NACS newsletter and soon thereafter in Chemical and Engineering News. The awards are all presented at the biennial NACS meeting, where the respective citations are read and the award winners receive a plaque.

The NACS community at-large deserves congratulations and thanks for the excellent cadre of nominees that it has put forth and chosen and for their dedication as nominators and as members of the jury.
Enrique Iglesia
Bruce Cook
Vice President

7th International Symposium on Acid-Base Catalysis (ABC-7)

On behalf of the organizing committee, I am pleased to announce the 7th International Symposium on Acid-Base Catalysis (ABC-7), which will be held from May 12 to May 15,  2013 at Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan.

The ABC is a successful series of symposia. The 7th ABC will provide a forum for scientists and engineers from both academia and industry to discuss most recent developments and technological opportunities in this vibrant area of research as well as the past ABC symposia, promoting a global and interdisciplinary approach towards both fundamental science and industrial applications of acid-base catalysis. We hope many people engaging in the acid-base catalysis field participate in ABC-7.

The scientific activities of the symposium will be held at TKP Garden City Shinagawa, which is in front of Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. This area has good access to Narita International Airport (total time: 70~80 min.) and Haneda Airport (Tokyo International airport) (total time: 15~20 min.).

On detailed information on abstract submission, registration, access to the conference venue, and scientific programs, please visit our website. http://www.shokubai.org/abc/index.html

Please note the deadline for abstract submission is November 16, 2012.

Now you can find the titles of Plenary and Keynote Lectures on the website. We look forward to meeting you at the symposium.
Best regards,
Takashi Tatsumi
Chairman of ABC-7
Michikazu Hara
General secretary of ABC-7

Travel Grants for Attendance at the International Congress on Catalysis

The Society gratefully acknowledged the financial support of DOE, NSF, BASF, BP, Süd-Chemie, and Dow for travel support for catalysis researchers from the United States, Canada and Mexico to attend the ICC meeting in Munich.

Travel assistance was provided to:

  • Young faculty in a tenure-track position (Aditya Bahn, Cathy Chin, Phillip Christopher, Steven Crossley, Lars Grabow, Simon Podkolzin, Carsten Sievers, Yyriy Roman)
  • Post-doctoral fellows (David Flaherty, Monica Garcia, Rajamani Gounder, Jan Kopyscinski, Alexander Okrut, Farnaz Sotoodeh, Aleksandra Vojvodic).
  • Graduate students, all of whom received partial support from the industrial sponsor and carried a named fellowship designation:
    1. BASF Fellows (Andrew Foster, Samia Ilias, Amber Janda, Matthew Montemore, Simon Pang, Natalie Ray, Di Wu)
    2. BP Fellows (Maria Teran and Victoria Whiffen)
    3. Dow Fellows (Matthew Boucher, John Copeland, Shannon Klaus, Wen-Sheng Lee, Michael Nigra, Jing Lu, and Dario Prieto).

The selection committee members were Jingguang Chen (Chair), Bruce Cook, Enrique Iglesia and Israel Wachs.

International Precious Metals Institute Henry J. Albert Award to Professor Fabio Ribeiro

Professor Fabio Ribeiro of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University has been named the recipient of the 2012 International Precious Metals Institute Henry J. Albert Award, sponsored by BASF Corporation, in recognition of his outstanding theoretical and experimental contributions to the science and technology of precious metals. His research group combines measurements on realistic dispersed clusters and flat model systems with precision and reliability at the state-of-the-art. He has provided the kinetic data set for water-gas shift that represents the standard used by others in benchmarking of other materials and of theoretical estimates. This work has also demonstrated the strong effects of supports in the activation of water in water-gas shift and that all exposed surface atoms are active on Pt clusters but only corner atoms with low coordination are active on Au clusters. His seminal studies of NOx reactions have unveiled the mechanism of NO oxidation and provided elegant examples of the use of spectroscopic and kinetic tools in unraveling the complex pathways in NOx trapping on Ba-promoted Pt/alumina systems. His group continues to expand the experimental frontiers with recent developments X-ray absorption spectroscopy during catalysis at high pressures in liquid and gaseous media, with infrared analysis of adsorbed species during isotopic transients, and with state-of-the-art environmental transmission electron microscopy. These successes build on his earlier studies of Pd catalysts which defined the reaction pathways involved in catalytic combustion of methane and in catalytic hydrodechlorination of a wide range of hydrochlorofluorocarbon molecules.


In Memoriam: Michel Boudart (1924-2012)

Michel Boudart, chemical engineer and expert in catalysis, dies at 87 Professor Boudart taught at Princeton and Berkeley but was best known for his five decades at the heart of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford. His influence shaped catalysis during the post-­‐war period when energy, defense and space industries demanded a deeper understanding of chemical reactions.
By Andrew Myers
Michel Boudart, a professor emeritus of chemical engineering at Stanford University and for five decades one of the world’s leading experts in catalysis, died May 2 at an assisted living center in Palo Alto, California, of multiple organ failure. He was 87.

Boudart was the first William M. Keck, Sr. Professor of Chemical Engineering and one of a very few individuals who were responsible for establishing the reputation of Stanford’s chemical engineering department. The central theme of his research was the catalytic properties of metals, particularly small metal particles.

Boudart essentially brought catalysis, as a science, to chemical engineering in the United States. He was an international ambassador for the field over his entire career.

“Michel Boudart was a world renowned and influential expert in the field of catalysis who brought the Stanford University chemical engineering to prominence and trained several decades of students,” said Andreas Acrivos, a fellow professor at Stanford and now professor emeritus both at Stanford and at the City College of CUNY. “He left a legacy that would be difficult to replicate.”

As a professor, Boudart supervised what was consistently one of the larger groups of PhD candidates in the department, eventually guiding over 70 doctoral candidates to their degrees and mentoring over 100 post-­‐doctoral candidates and visiting scientists. The diaspora of his former students would go on to lead and shape the field.

Le plus de saveur

An avid international traveller, Boudart and his wife, Marina, boasted friends across the world. His office sported Japanese shoji screens, abstract prints, and overstuffed sofas and – occupying one entire wall – an immense periodic table of the elements, printed in Russian, which he read with ease.

In a brief biography, Boudart cited as his personal philosophy a quote from French literary theorist Roland Barthes: “Nul pouvoir, un peu de savoir, un peu de sagesse, et le plus de saveur possible.” Translated loosely, it reads: “No power, a little knowledge, a little wisdom, and as much flavor as possible.” In this context, he will always be remembered as a man of real personal charisma and, one of the last “gentleman scientists.”

Catalysis is the study of chemical processes by which one substance, the catalyst, promotes a reaction between other substances without itself changing.
It is fundamental to the chemical, petroleum and pharmaceutical industries, among many others.

In the post-­‐war era, the United States became the acknowledged leader in the field, mostly owing to advances flowing out of American academia and industry. Boudart was at the center of it all. He was an unabashed champion of catalysis. Though the field is obscure to most lay audiences, catalysis has a profound impact on our world and how we live.

In a published interview, Boudart once laid out his case: Without catalysis, he said, “[o]ur satellites could not be maneuvered, our autos would pour out all the noxious chemicals we’ve spent years guarding against. Our telephone links with the rest of the world would be seriously impeded.”

In 1975, in the wake of the first oil crisis, Boudart and two associates founded Catalytica in Santa Clara, California, which worked on highly complex catalytic problems for petrochemical, chemical, and pharmaceutical firms as well as government agencies. He served as a consultant to numerous well-­‐known companies.

“[Catalytica] started in the catalysis consulting field, a service made clearly necessary by the oil crisis,” Boudart said at the time. “One of the critical areas was in synthetic fuels.”

Guiding force
Accolades and awards were showered on Boudart throughout his life, but particularly in the later years of his career, when the scale of his impact became clear.

In 1985, the University of Utah hosted a five-­‐day symposium on catalysis solely in Boudart’s honor. In 2004, the Journal of Physical Chemistry dedicated an entire issue to Boudart’s legacy.

In their introduction, the journal’s editors wrote, “Michel Boudart has been the guiding force in the field of heterogeneous catalysis for more than forty years. He was known for elegantly stated concepts and his elucidation of catalytic sites, his experimental studies of new catalytic materials, and the activities of [his] many students and collaborators …”

The journal cited his foremost achievement as the quantification of catalysis as rigorous sequences of elementary steps. He focused attention on the need to report reaction rates evaluated under the most rigorous assessment techniques available and he introduced the concept of turnover rate – the number of molecules converted per site per second. He then perfected precise protocols for accurate measurement of reactions.

Boudart’s insistence on rigorous collection and reporting of data proved invaluable in comparing data generated by different laboratories throughout the world and enabled many subsequent advances in the field. His vision, leadership, and wisdom were credited as a major force in bringing catalysis to a point where the design of specific catalytic materials for environmental protection, production of chemicals, and energy conversion processes became possible.

In 2006, the Danish company Haldor Topsøe sponsored The Michel Boudart Award for the Advancement of Catalysis, which is administered jointly by the North American Catalysis Society and the European Federation of Catalysis Societies.

Profound legacy

Michel Boudart was born on 18 June 1924 in Brussels, Belgium. In 1940, as Hitler’s Panzer divisions blitzkrieged his homeland, Boudart was just 16. He had been accepted to the University of Louvain, but the university was closed due to the war.

In order not to be drafted or sent to German factories, Boudart worked as a volunteer stretcher-­‐bearer for the Red Cross. Meanwhile, he had private tutoring to prepare for Louvain. When the university reopened, Boudart graduated in three years at the top of every class, save mathematics, where he was outdone only by his dear friend, the late Professor Rene de Vogelaere of the University of California, Berkeley.

Boudart earned his B.S. at the University of Louvain in 1944 and his M.S. in 1947. He then left Belgium to attend Princeton University, where he took his PhD in chemistry in 1950. “He and his wife Marina were born in Belgium and were knighted by the crown, but America was their adopted home,” said Acrivos. “Their children are thoroughly American.”

After earning his doctorate, Boudart held faculty positions at Princeton until 1961 and, for three years, at Berkeley, before joining the Stanford faculty in 1964. He was Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford from 1975 to 1978. He also held visiting professorships at the Universities of Louvain, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and Paris. He became professor emeritus in 1994.

Boudart authored or coauthored over 280 journal articles and served on the editorial boards of at least ten journals. His book, Kinetics of Chemical Processes, is a standard reference and was translated into Japanese, Spanish, and French. His book, Kinetics of Heterogeneous Catalytic Processes, written with G. Djega-­‐Mariadassou, was published in French in 1982 and translated to English in 1984. He was coeditor-­‐ in-­‐chief of Catalysis Science and Engineering, a series of twelve volumes.

Boudart was recipient of numerous awards, among them the Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (1974), the Kendall Award (1977) and the Murphee Award (1985) from the American Chemical Society, and the Chemical Pioneer Award (1991) of the American Institute of Chemists.

His election to both the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering were reflections of Boudart’s leadership and his scientific gravitas. He was likewise a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the California Academy of Sciences. He was a foreign member of the Academia Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-­‐Arts de Belgique and its Royal Belgian Academy Council for Applied Sciences.

Boudart received honorary doctorates from the University of Liege, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Ghent, and the Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine.

He held four patents

Boudart is survived by a daughter, Iris Harris, of Whittier, Calif.; three sons, Marc, of Aptos, Calif.; Baudouin, of Atherton, Calif; and Philip, of Palo Alto; and grandchildren Marina and Clint Harris; and Jesse, Louise, and Noella Boudart. His wife, Marina d’Haese Boudart, died in 2009. A second daughter, Dominique, died in childhood.
Download PDF document: Michel Boudart Obituary

John Armor is the recipient of the 2012 NACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Catalysis

John Armor

Dr. John N. Armor has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 NACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Catalysis. The Award is presented every two years to recognize an individual who has advanced catalytic chemistry or engineering through both significant service to the catalysis community and outstanding technical accomplishments. This award includes an honorarium ($5,000) and a plaque. It is awarded by the North American Catalysis Society and sponsored by ExxonMobil and Clariant and will be presented during the 2013 NAM in Louisville.

This award recognizes Dr. Armor’s dedication to the catalysis community through his leadership in the North American Catalysis Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the American Chemical Society and in the organization of international symposia and conferences. He has served the North America Catalysis Society as President and Treasurer for more than two decades and during his tenure strengthened the financial and technical underpinnings of the Society, the quality and rigor or its meetings, and the scope and reach of its educational activities. He has brought enhanced recognition to members of the Society and a brighter future to the discipline through his articulate advocacy of catalysis and his leadership in strengthening the involvement of students and young practitioners in the activities of the Society.

Dr. Armor has served the community well as a teacher and as a visionary leader, while contributing as an independent scientist and a successful mentor and research manager in industrial settings. His technical contributions have been recognized with the Eugene J. Houdry Award of the North American Catalysis Society and with the E. V. Murphree Award of the American Chemical Society. He has served as Editor of Applied Catalysis and CatTech and has served on the editorial board of the leading journal in catalysis. He has authored many comprehensive reviews of catalytic technologies, often with insightful historical perspectives and always with a clear strategic vision.


In Memoriam: Edmond I. Ko (1952-2012)

Edmond Ko

“Edmond Ko was Director of the Center for Engineering Education Innovation and Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Prior to that, he served as Vice- President (Undergraduate Education), Dean of Students, and Professor (Chair) of Chemistry at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), and as the Vice Provost for Education and Professor of Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Professor Ko received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University. He worked as a Research Fellow at the Corporate Research Laboratory of Exxon (1975-76) and held visiting and guest faculty appointments at the University of California, Berkeley (1987-88), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (1995), California Institute of Technology (1996) and Tianjin University (since 2002).

Besides being the co-author of over 100 publications and co-inventor of one U.S. patent in the area of surface science and catalysis, Professor Ko was an accomplished educator. He received nine teaching awards in his career, including the William H. and Frances S. Ryan Teaching Award at Carnegie Mellon, the Chemical Manufacturers Association National Catalyst Award, the W. M. Keck Foundation Engineering Teaching Excellence Award, the W. E. Wickenden Award of the American Society for Engineering Education, and the School of Engineering Teaching Award at HKUST.

Professor Ko had nine years of academic administrative experience, with the first two at Carnegie Mellon and the last seven at CityU. As the key person charged to improve education at these two institutions, he directed activities in student recruitment and admissions, student development, student residence, curriculum design, quality assurance, and faculty development. He was particularly interested in developing an outcome-based approach to enhance student learning.

Serving as Chairman of the Curriculum Development Council and a member of the Quality Assurance Council of the University Grants Committee, Education Commission, and Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications of the HKSAR Government, Professor Ko was deeply involved in the formulation and implementation of education policies in Hong Kong at all levels. He was also a council member of the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications and Hong Kong Institute of Education.

As someone who has spent about half of his life living and working in the US and the other half in Hong Kong, Professor Ko was keenly aware of the importance of being able to work comfortably and effectively across cultures. He created many cross-cultural learning experiences for CityU and HKUST students, including conducting workshops on intercultural communication himself. He also published 7 books and numerous articles on a wide range of educational issues in both English and Chinese since returning to Hong Kong in 1998.
Source: http://chtl.hkbu.edu.hk/sources/ProfKoBio.pdf

In Memoriam: Jeffrey S. Beck (1962-2012)

Jeffrey Scott Beck

Jeffrey Scott Beck, Ph.D, passed away on April 7, 2012, with his wife, his sister, his mother-in-law and close friends at his side. He was 49. It is with great sorrow that we mourn his unexpected and quite too early departure.

Jeff was born on October 23, 1962 to Irwin and Leila Beck in Brooklyn, New York. He was a vibrant ball of fire with the dedication and intellect to make an ever lasting impact in our society. He earned his doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989, true to his high school prediction. Jeff was a creative and prolific inventor, an inspirational leader, a devoted husband and friend, and a renowned scientist and engineer in his field. The loves of his life were his wife Lisa and sister Shari, game-changing innovation, art collection, and his dogs Pharaoh and Monty.

Jeff’s professional career began at Mobil’s Central Research Laboratory, immediately following his Ph. D.  Throughout his career, Jeff made outstanding contributions to the discovery and commercialization of novel catalysts and processes for the production of key petrochemicals and clean fuels. His colleagues describe Jeff as an inspirational visionary who had the uncanny ability to see where the puck was going to be. His groundbreaking research on “liquid-crystal templating” led to the discovery of an entirely new class of tunable mesoporous materials, M41S, with pore sizes in the range of 16 to 100 Å.  This discovery is recognized as a major innovation in the scientific community and has spawned a new field of materials chemistry. Technologies based on Jeff’s innovative and practical inventions also revolutionized the production of key petrochemicals, including para-xylene (used in the production of polyester fiber and PET plastics), via advanced catalysts and processes.  Jeff was recognized for his excellence in catalysis and materials with numerous national and international awards, including the National Academy of Engineering (one of the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer), the North American Catalysis Society’s Houdry Award (accorded to the most significant contributor to industrial catalysis), the American Chemical Society’s Heroes of Chemistry Award, and the International Zeolite Association’s Breck Award (accorded to the most significant advance in the field of micro-and meso-porous materials).  He was author of nearly 75 US patents, published prolifically, and frequently delivered invited lectures at acclaimed universities and conferences worldwide.  Jeff left an indelible mark not only in research, where he led ExxonMobil’s prestigious Corporate Strategic Research, but also in several assignments in the business, including Technical Manager at the Baytown Refinery, and Polyethylene Global Marketing Manager.

Though taken from this world quite too soon, Jeff’s loved ones can find comfort in knowing that he lived his life fully and the way he wanted. He demanded excellence, did not sit still for mediocrity, and inspired all who were fortunate enough to come to know him. Jeff found his happiest moments spending time with his beloved wife Lisa, and his dogs Pharaoh and Monty. His family, friends, and colleagues will remember him as a remarkable individual. He has taken in his early journey a part of each of us. We feel blessed to have had him with us. Jeff is survived by his wife Lisa, parents Irwin and Leila, sister Shari, and brother Richard.

Please share sympathies, memories, and condolences online at www.mem.com.
In lieu of flowers, Lisa has requested that donations be made to Best Friends Animal Society, www.bestfriends.org, or any other animal rescue organization.