In Memoriam: Theodore A. Koch (1925 – 2014)

Theodore KochDr. Theodore A. Koch, 88, a retired DuPont research sci­en­tist passed away peace­ful­ly at his home in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware on Sep­tem­ber 13, 2014.

A native of upstate New York, Koch stud­ied chem­istry at St. Michael’s Col­lege in Burling­ton, VT and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia in Philadel­phia, PA, earn­ing his Ph.D. in chem­istry in 1952. He joined the DuPont Co. ulti­mate­ly retir­ing from its Nylon busi­ness unit as a DuPont Fel­low after 48 years of ser­vice. An author­i­ty on het­ero­ge­neous cat­a­lysts, Koch spent his entire career devel­op­ing chem­i­cal process­es and bring­ing them from the bench­top to com­mer­cial­iza­tion with marked cre­ativ­i­ty and tenac­i­ty.

Notable tech­ni­cal accom­plish­ments in Koch’s career includ­ed devel­op­ing a new cat­a­lyst for nitrous oxide destruc­tion (an ozone-deple­tion byprod­uct from Nylon man­u­fac­ture), devel­op­ment of a new process for hydro­gen cyanide man­u­fac­ture and improve­ments to many poly­mer inter­me­di­ates process­es. Koch received the award for Excel­lence in Cat­alyt­ic Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy from the Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia in 1994 and the Lavoisi­er Medal for Tech­ni­cal Excel­lence from the DuPont Co. in 1998. His exter­nal roles includ­ed adjunct Pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware; pres­i­dent of the Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia; and mem­ber­ship in the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, the Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Chem­i­cal Engi­neers, the Organ­ic Reac­tions Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, and the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety. He held 29 patents and co-authored 18 jour­nal arti­cles and one text­book on catal­y­sis enti­tled, “Cat­a­lyst Man­u­fac­ture.”

Koch is sur­vived by his wife of 62 years, Anne, his five chil­dren, five grand­chil­dren and extend­ed fam­i­ly. His mem­o­ry lives on through the Theodore A. Koch Fund that will rec­og­nize and reward Delaware Val­ley achieve­ments in catal­y­sis research. Char­i­ta­ble dona­tions may be made to the Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia, Ted Koch Fund, c/o Stephen Har­ris, Trea­sur­er, Ren­matix, 660 Allen­dale Road, King of Prus­sia, PA 19406.

Dr. Anne Gaffney is named the recipient of the 2015 Eugene J. Houdry Award of the North American Catalysis Society

Gaffney AnneAnne Gaffney is the recip­i­ent of the 2015 Eugene J. Houdry Award of the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. The Eugene J. Houdry Award in Applied Catal­y­sis is spon­sored by Clari­ant. It is admin­is­tered by The Catal­y­sis Soci­ety and award­ed bien­ni­al­ly in odd-num­bered years. This award rec­og­nizes and encour­ages indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions in the field of catal­y­sis with empha­sis on the devel­op­ment of new and improved cat­a­lysts and process­es rep­re­sent­ing out­stand­ing advances in their use­ful appli­ca­tion. The award con­sists of a plaque and a prize of $5,000, which will be pre­sent­ed at the 24th North Amer­i­can Meet­ing of the Catal­y­sis Soci­ety to be held in Pitts­burgh, Penn­syl­va­nia on June 14–19, 2015. The Award Ple­nary lec­ture will also be pre­sent­ed dur­ing this meet­ing.

Anne Gaffney is being rec­og­nized for out­stand­ing achieve­ments in catal­y­sis as described below: (1) Devel­op­ment of improved rhodi­um based hydro­formy­la­tion cat­a­lyst for butane­di­ol (BDO) syn­the­sis from propy­lene oxide; (2) Devel­op­ment of mod­i­fied zeo­lite cat­a­lyst for Super­flex process for con­ver­sion of inex­pen­sive HC feeds such as naph­tha to valu­able light olefins which has been com­mer­cial­ized in 2007; (3) Devel­op­ment of Alky­Clean™ process and a new zeo­lite-based bimetal­lic cat­a­lyst for the alky­la­tion of C3-C5 olefins with isobu­tane, which has been com­mer­cial­ized in 2013. Her oth­er note­wor­thy achieve­ments include devel­op­ment of new cat­a­lysts based on pro­mot­ed lan­thanide oxides for methane con­ver­sion to eth­yl­ene by oxida­tive cou­pling; inven­tion of a new direct propy­lene oxide (PO) cat­a­lyst for the selec­tive oxi­da­tion of propy­lene with mol­e­c­u­lar oxy­gen; devel­op­ment of new cat­alyt­ic sys­tems for the par­tial oxi­da­tion of methane to syn­gas at the mil­lisec­ond con­tact time; inven­tion of new mixed met­al oxide cat­a­lysts for the selec­tive oxi­da­tion of propane to acrylic acid and the oxida­tive dehy­dro­gena­tion of alka­nes to olefins.

She received a Ph.D. in phys­i­cal organ­ic chem­istry from Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware in 1981, and a B.A. in chem­istry and math­e­mat­ics from Mount Holyoke Col­lege in 1976. Hav­ing worked at ARCO, DuPont, Rohm and Haas, and Lum­mus in var­i­ous R&D and lead­er­ship roles, she has been a most pro­lif­ic inven­tor and an author with 233 patent/patent appli­ca­tions and 94 pub­li­ca­tions (plus 2 book chap­ters and 2 books edit­ed) as well as 96 pre­sen­ta­tions or sem­i­nars. She has received many awards such as the ACS Award in Indus­tri­al Chem­istry in 2013, ACS Fel­low in 2010, the Trib­ute to Women in Indus­try Award in 2007, and the Catal­y­sis Club of Philadel­phia Award in 1999.

In Memoriam: Helmut Knözinger (1935–2014)

KnoezingerHel­mut Knözinger passed away at his home in Munich on Jan­u­ary 12, 2014, at age 78. The catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty los­es an active mem­ber of many years, a con­trib­u­tor of out­stand­ing sci­ence, leader in var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions, edi­tor of key pub­li­ca­tions, and part­ner in vibrant col­lab­o­ra­tions.

Knözinger stud­ied Physics at Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ians-Uni­ver­sität München, with Phys­i­cal Chem­istry becom­ing his area of empha­sis dur­ing his time as a doc­tor­al stu­dent. His dis­ser­ta­tion (1961), which was super­vised by Georg-Maria Schwab, was his entrance into the field of catal­y­sis; he inves­ti­gat­ed the suit­abil­i­ty of the cat­alyt­ic decom­po­si­tion of methyl for­mate as a test reac­tion. He con­tin­ued on with the Habil­i­ta­tion (1967), the qual­i­fi­ca­tion for pro­fes­sor­ship with­in the Ger­man aca­d­e­m­ic sys­tem (Doc­tor of Sci­ences in oth­ers). The top­ic of the asso­ci­at­ed the­sis was the dehy­dra­tion of ethanol on alu­mi­na, a mate­r­i­al that would lat­er be the sub­ject of his per­haps most famous arti­cle. Knözinger held var­i­ous aca­d­e­m­ic posi­tions at Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ians-Uni­ver­sität München, with an inter­lude as a guest pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­dad Cen­tral de Cara­cas, Venezuela (1968/69), before he arrived at his final rank of pro­fes­sor (1980). He remained true to his alma mater until his offi­cial retire­ment in 2000, after which he kept an office and con­tin­ued to be active as a researcher and edi­tor.

Knözinger researched in many dif­fer­ent areas of catal­y­sis and excelled at devel­op­ing and apply­ing spec­tro­scop­ic meth­ods for the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of cat­a­lysts. Each of the class­es of mate­ri­als in his focus can be asso­ci­at­ed with meth­ods that he tai­lored for the pur­pose of their inves­ti­ga­tion. He made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of acid-base prop­er­ties of oxid­ic mate­ri­als, ana­lyz­ing the OH groups spec­tro­scop­i­cal­ly, and exten­sive­ly using car­bon monox­ide (CO) as a probe but also explor­ing much sought-for probe mol­e­cules for basic sur­face prop­er­ties. This work is doc­u­ment­ed in many orig­i­nal and review arti­cles, includ­ing those on alu­mi­na in Catal­y­sis Reviews-Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing in (with Rat­nasamy, 1978), on CO adsorp­tion in Mate­ri­als Chem­istry and Physics (with Zaki, 1987), on weak­ly inter­act­ing probes for zeo­lites in Jour­nal of the Chem­i­cal Soci­ety — Fara­day Trans­ac­tions (with Huber, 1998), and on acid-base char­ac­ter­i­za­tion in the Hand­book of Het­ero­ge­neous Catal­y­sis (2008). Relat­ing to his work on CO as a probe mol­e­cule, he also applied his skill in infrared spec­troscopy to sup­port­ed car­bonyl com­plex­es, of which he wrote in Ange­wandte Chemie Inter­na­tion­al Edi­tion (with Lamb and Gates, 1988). Oxides sup­port­ed on oth­er oxides was anoth­er focus area, with appli­ca­tions of the cat­a­lysts for exam­ple in hydrodesul­fu­r­iza­tion and selec­tive cat­alyt­ic reduc­tion. In addi­tion to probe mol­e­cule adsorp­tion and IR spec­troscopy — his forte, he applied Raman, UV-vis, and pho­to­elec­tron spec­troscopy. To inves­ti­gate the mech­a­nism of dis­per­sion of oxides on oth­er oxides, exper­i­ments to observe the trans­port were designed, and in a long-last­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Insti­tute for Plas­ma Physics in Garch­ing (a Max-Planck Insti­tute), thin film mod­el cat­a­lysts were inves­ti­gat­ed by sur­face sci­ence tech­niques such as ion scat­ter­ing and Auger elec­tron spec­troscopy. Exam­ples of this work are the arti­cles on molyb­de­na sup­port­ed on alu­mi­na in Jour­nal of Phys­i­cal Chem­istry (with Jeziorows­ki, 1978) or on sol­id-sol­id wet­ting in Sur­face Sci­ence in (with Leyr­er, Mar­graf, and Taglauer, 1988).

Knözinger’s work was rec­og­nized with nation­al and inter­na­tion­al awards, among them the Cia­pet­ta Lec­ture­ship (1980), the Ipati­eff Lec­ture­ship (1988), the Max-Planck Research Award (1995), the Prix Gay Lus­sac Hum­boldt Prize (1997), and the Alwin Mit­tasch Medal of Dechema (1998). He became an hon­orary mem­ber of the Hun­gar­i­an Acad­e­my of Sci­ences in (1995), a mem­ber of the Acad­e­mia Europaea (2000), and an hon­orary pro­fes­sor of Nankai Uni­ver­si­ty, Tian­jin, Chi­na (2004). He was a mem­ber of chem­i­cal and catal­y­sis soci­eties, and helped orga­nize nation­al and inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ences on catal­y­sis. Notably, he was first a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Asso­ci­a­tion of Catal­y­sis and then lat­er the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many in the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties (1993–1999). He also act­ed as pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Catal­y­sis Soci­eties (1996–2000).

As edi­tor, Knözinger moved into the foot­steps of Schwab, who had edit­ed a hand­book of catal­y­sis. Togeth­er with Ertl and Weitkamp, Knözinger pub­lished the first edi­tion of the Hand­book of Het­ero­ge­neous Catal­y­sis with five vol­umes in 1997. Such was the suc­cess that a sec­ond edi­tion, with Schüth as addi­tion­al edi­tor and eight vol­umes, appeared in 2008. He served as an edi­tor of Advances in Catal­y­sis, in the years 1998 through 2011; under his reign, three vol­umes were ded­i­cat­ed to spec­tro­scop­ic analy­sis of the work­ing cat­a­lyst.

While Knözinger remained root­ed in Munich through­out his career, he cul­ti­vat­ed col­lab­o­ra­tions and exchange. He him­self was an avid trav­el­er and also a guest pro­fes­sor mul­ti­ple times, in Cara­cas, Xian­men, Evanston, Ams­ter­dam, and Paris. Researchers from around the world vis­it­ed his lab­o­ra­to­ry (their prove­nience was, in fact, tracked by pins in a wall map at the insti­tute), most­ly to per­form IR spec­tro­scop­ic exper­i­ments using his spe­cial­ly designed appa­ra­tus. Guests were treat­ed with gra­cious­ness and enjoyed Bavar­i­an hos­pi­tal­i­ty.

His con­stant inter­est in everybody’s research was man­i­fest in his dai­ly after­noon rounds through the labs with indi­vid­ual con­ver­sa­tions, his recep­tion of a knock at his office door, his overnight read­ing of man­u­scripts hand­ed to him. His reli­a­bil­i­ty and his self-dis­ci­pline were exem­plary. His advis­ing was nev­er force­ful, pro­mot­ing aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom and inde­pen­dence. A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of stu­dents achieved the doc­tor­al degree under his guid­ance and are tes­ta­ment to his skill as an advi­sor and men­tor. Knözinger was a gift­ed ath­lete in his youth and a moun­tain enthu­si­ast; he insti­gat­ed reg­u­lar group out­ings – hik­ing in sum­mer and ski­ing in win­ter. He cre­at­ed an atmos­phere of togeth­er­ness that let team spir­it and humor flour­ish and friend­ships be forged.

Knözinger was also a tal­ent­ed pho­tog­ra­ph­er and adhered to this pas­sion through­out his life – his cam­era accom­pa­nied him on most occa­sions. The var­i­ous pho­tographs dis­played in his office spoke of his skill, of his trav­els around the world, and his eye as an observ­er.

Hel­mut Knözinger’s pres­ence and his views will be missed.
Friederike Jentoft

In Memoriam: George Donald Blyholder (1931–2013)

Blyholder - BWGeorge Don­ald Bly­hold­er was born Jan­u­ary 10, 1931 in Eliz­a­beth, New Jer­sey but he grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and Chica­go, Illi­nois. He received his BA from Val­paraiso U., his BS from Pur­due U. in chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing and a Ph.D. in chem­istry from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Utah. His the­sis was enti­tled “Kinet­ics of Graphite Oxi­da­tion” and a part of this was pub­lished with his advi­sor, the renowned kinetist Hen­ry Ery­ing. While a grad­u­ate stu­dent, he met and mar­ried Bet­ty Sue Con­rad. Fol­low­ing grad­u­a­tion, he did post­doc­tor­al stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta and then at The Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty with Prof. Paul H. Emmett. His work with Emmett involved the use of C‑14 labeled ketene to study the Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch reac­tion mech­a­nism. In 1959, he moved to Fayet­teville, Arkansas as a pro­fes­sor of chem­istry at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Arkansas. There he was involved in pio­neer­ing research on the use of infrared spec­troscopy to study catal­y­sis. His pub­li­ca­tion “Mol­e­c­u­lar orbital view of chemisorbed car­bon monox­ide” in the Jour­nal of Phys­i­cal Chem­istry in 1964 has become a clas­sic pub­li­ca­tion with 719 cita­tions and prob­a­bly more where it is just referred to as the “Bly­hold­er Mod­el”. He retired in 1996, becom­ing an emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor. He pub­lished more than 100 arti­cles in sci­en­tif­ic jour­nals with most in the area of sur­face sci­ence. His death at age 82 was on Febu­rary 24, 2013.

Dr. Burt Davis has been selected for the 2014 NACS Award for Distinguished Service

Burt_DavisDr. Burtron H. Davis has been select­ed as the recip­i­ent of the 2014 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 Research and Engi­neer­ing and Clari­ant and will be pre­sent­ed dur­ing the 2015 NAM in Pitts­burgh.

Dr. Davis is being rec­og­nized in par­tic­u­lar for his con­tri­bu­tion to indus­tri­al research prob­lems with a detailed under­stand­ing of cat­alyt­ic trans­for­ma­tions. His work in iso­topic label­ing stud­ies has helped obtain in depth knowl­edge of reac­tion path­ways of indus­tri­al­ly rel­e­vant process­es and prob­ing cat­alyt­ic mech­a­nisms. Specif­i­cal­ly, Dr. Davis has focused on Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch reac­tion mech­a­nisms and cat­alyt­ic trans­for­ma­tions using cobalt, iron and ruthe­ni­um-based cat­a­lysts research­ing fun­da­men­tal ques­tions
with indus­try rel­e­vance. Dur­ing his five decade career, Dr. Davis has co-authored more than 500 peer reviewed pub­li­ca­tions and orga­nized numer­ous sym­posia in var­i­ous areas of catal­y­sis.

In ser­vice to the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty, Dr. Davis has served the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety in var­i­ous capac­i­ties includ­ing orga­niz­ing the 12th NAM in Lex­ing­ton and serv­ing as the Hon­orary Chair of the 23rd NAM in Louisville. For the past three decades Dr. Davis has func­tioned as a his­to­ri­an of the NACS and the catal­y­sis com­mu­ni­ty. His fore­sight, ded­i­ca­tion and efforts to archive and record the his­to­ry of the soci­ety and cat­alyt­ic sci­ence has led to an unprece­dent­ed NACS host­ed col­lec­tion of more than 1300 videos of con­fer­ence pre­sen­ta­tions and one on one inter­views. This col­lec­tion stands as a tes­ta­ment to the ded­i­ca­tion of Burt Davis to the preser­va­tion of the his­to­ry of catal­y­sis for gen­er­a­tions to come.

Parisian chemist wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Prize

ChePro­fes­sor Michel Che, of the Uni­ver­sité Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6 & Insti­tut Uni­ver­si­taire de France, has been named the Roy­al Soci­ety of Chem­istry Fara­day Lec­ture­ship Prize win­ner for 2014.

The Fara­day Lec­ture­ship Prize is award­ed for excep­tion­al con­tri­bu­tions to phys­i­cal or the­o­ret­i­cal chem­istry.

Pro­fes­sor Che’s work has large­ly con­tributed to improve our under­stand­ing of the ele­men­tary process­es involved in laboratory/industrial catal­y­sis, and bridged the gap between homo- and het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis.

His research con­cerns sur­face reac­tiv­i­ty with empha­sis on the func­tion­al­iza­tion of inor­gan­ic oxides and het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis. He pio­neered a mol­e­c­u­lar approach, based on tran­si­tion met­al com­plex­es tak­en as probes, spe­cif­ic iso­topes and phys­i­cal tech­niques. His work has led to the emer­gence of inter­fa­cial coor­di­na­tion chem­istry at the cross­roads of chem­istry.

Dr Robert Park­er, Chief Exec­u­tive of the Roy­al Soci­ety of Chem­istry said: “Each year we present Prizes and Awards to chem­i­cal sci­en­tists who have made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion, be that in their area of research, in indus­try or acad­e­mia.

We’re work­ing to shape the future of the chem­i­cal sci­ences for the ben­e­fit of sci­ence and human­i­ty and these Prizes and Awards give recog­ni­tion to true excel­lence.

Our win­ners can be very proud to fol­low in the foot­steps of some of the most influ­en­tial and impor­tant chem­i­cal sci­en­tists in his­to­ry.”

An incred­i­ble 47 pre­vi­ous win­ners of the Roy­al Soci­ety of Chemistry’s Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pio­neer­ing work, includ­ing Har­ry Kro­to, Fred Sanger and Linus Paul­ing.

Indeed, one of the 2012 Roy­al Soci­ety of Chem­istry Prize win­ners, Arieh Warshel, was award­ed the Nobel Prize in Chem­istry last year.
Reward­ing Excel­lence and Gain­ing Recog­ni­tion
The Roy­al Soci­ety of Chemistry’s Prizes and Awards recog­nise achieve­ments by indi­vid­u­als, teams and organ­i­sa­tions in advanc­ing the chem­i­cal sci­ences. We want to reward those under­tak­ing excel­lent work in the chem­i­cal sci­ences from across the world.

There are over 60 Prizes and Awards avail­able in the main port­fo­lio, cov­er­ing all areas of the chem­i­cal sci­ences. So whether you work in research, busi­ness, indus­try or edu­ca­tion, recog­ni­tion is open to every­one.

The Roy­al Soci­ety of Chem­istry is the world’s lead­ing chem­istry com­mu­ni­ty, advanc­ing excel­lence in the chem­i­cal sci­ences. With over 49,000 mem­bers and a knowl­edge busi­ness that spans the globe, we are the UK’s pro­fes­sion­al body for chem­i­cal sci­en­tists; a not-for-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion with 170 years of his­to­ry and an inter­na­tion­al vision of the future. We pro­mote, sup­port and cel­e­brate chem­istry. We work to shape the future of the chem­i­cal sci­ences – for the ben­e­fit of sci­ence and human­i­ty.
More infor­ma­tion on Roy­al Soci­ety of Chem­istry Prizes and Awards
Pro­fes­sor Che is award­ed “for pio­neer­ing a mol­e­c­u­lar approach to cat­a­lyst design by bridg­ing the gap between homo­ge­neous and het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis through the new field of inter­fa­cial coor­di­na­tion chem­istry.”

Jim Dumesic has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Pro­fes­sor Jim Dumesic Steen­bock and Michel Boudart Pro­fes­sor, depart­ment of chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal engi­neer­ing, Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin, Madi­son has been elect­ed to the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences.

The Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences news release is avail­able at–2014-NAS-Election.html.

Israel E. Wachs named 5th Vanadis Award winner

Israel E. Wachs, Pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing at Lehigh Uni­ver­si­ty, has been named the recip­i­ent of the 5th Vanadis Award. The award was pre­sent­ed fol­low­ing the award lec­ture by Dr. Wachs at the 8th Inter­na­tion­al Vana­di­um Sym­po­sium (V8) held August 15–18, 2012 in Crys­tal City, VA. This bian­nu­al award goes to a researcher hav­ing con­tributed to the chemistry/biological chemistry/toxicology of vana­di­um. Dr. Wachs was select­ed for his well­sto­ried con­tri­bu­tions to vana­di­um sci­ence and con­tri­bu­tions to the area of met­al-oxide-based catal­y­ses.

Dr. Wachs received his under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion at The City Col­lege of the City Uni­ver­si­ty of New York (B.E.-ChE) and con­tin­ued his grad­u­ate (PhD-ChE) edu­ca­tion at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty under the men­tor­ship of Pro­fes­sor Robert J. Madix, in the area of sur­face sci­ence. His research find­ings are con­sid­ered the first appli­ca­tion of sur­face sci­ence to het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis. After grad­u­a­tion, he joined the Exxon Research & Engi­neer­ing Com­pa­ny Cor­po­rate Research Labs where he was involved in devel­op­ment of many dif­fer­ent cat­alyt­ic tech­nolo­gies (selec­tive oxi­da­tion, acid catal­y­sis, syn­thet­ic fuel syn­the­sis, hydrodesul­fu­r­iza­tion (HDS) and hydro­car­bon con­ver­sion). One of his inven­tions, i.e., the selec­tive oxi­da­tion of o‑xylene to phthal­ic anhy­dride by vana­di­um oxide/titanium cat­a­lyst sup­ports, is still the lead­ing indus­tri­al cat­a­lyst for this tech­nol­o­gy. Dr. Wachs sub­se­quent­ly joined the fac­ul­ty of the Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing Depart­ment at Lehigh Uni­ver­si­ty. There, he estab­lished a world-class catal­y­sis research lab­o­ra­to­ry focus­ing on oxide cat­alyt­ic mate­ri­als and their char­ac­ter­i­za­tion under reac­tion con­di­tions (in situ and operan­do spec­troscopy). These fun­da­men­tal stud­ies estab­lished a foun­da­tion for molecular/electronic struc­ture – activity/selectivity rela­tion­ships and the mol­e­c­u­lar engi­neer­ing of nov­el oxide cat­a­lysts. One of the emphases of Dr. Wachs’ research has been on the fun­da­men­tals and applied aspects of sup­port­ed vana­di­um oxide het­ero­ge­neous cat­a­lysts for envi­ron­men­tal appli­ca­tions (for reduc­tion of acid gas emis­sions from pow­er plants and paper mills). More recent­ly, he has extend­ed his research on vana­di­um oxide catal­y­sis to aque­ous enzyme mim­ics. Dr. Wachs’ sci­en­tif­ic research accom­plish­ments are inter­na­tion­al­ly known and have received recog­ni­tion by EPA, ACS, AIChE, the Hum­boldt Foun­da­tion, and now, the Inter­na­tion­al Vana­di­um Sym­po­sium.

His­tor­i­cal­ly, the Vanadis Award has been pre­sent­ed on the basis of doc­u­ment­ed con­tri­bu­tions of a sci­en­tist to the area(s) or com­bi­na­tions of vana­di­um chem­istry, bio­chem­istry, biol­o­gy, or phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sci­ences. The award is specif­i­cal­ly giv­en to an indi­vid­ual who has con­tributed inno­v­a­tive research and had a impact on direc­tion of their field(s) — in terms of devel­op­ment of new appli­ca­tions and last­ing impact as tes­ti­fied by the ser­vice of the nom­i­nee to the over­all progress, appli­ca­tion, and explo­ration of new uses of vana­di­um in sci­ence. Can­di­dates for the Vanadis Award can be nom­i­nat­ed by any mem­ber of the vana­di­um com­mu­ni­ty; the awardee is select­ed by an inter­na­tion­al com­mit­tee of experts in the sci­ence of vana­di­um. Pre­vi­ous win­ners of the Vanadis Award have been Deb­bie C. Crans (2004), Dieter Rehder (2006), Toshikazu Hirao (2008), and Vin­cent L. Pec­o­raro (2010).

If you would like more infor­ma­tion about this award, the 2012 award selec­tion or the Inter­na­tion­al Vana­di­um Sym­po­sium, please con­tact Deb­bie Crans at 970–491-7635 or Craig McLauch­lan at 309–438-7019.