In Memoriam: Burtron H. “Burt” Davis (1934 -2018)

It is with great sad­ness that I write to share with you the pass­ing of Burtron H. “Burt” Davis on Sep­tem­ber 28th.

Burt Davis was an out­stand­ing sci­en­tist and intel­lect hold­ing pro­lif­ic schol­ar­ly track records, and con­stant source of humor­ous tales for decades. He had a hob­by of col­lect­ing research on the great­est sci­en­tists of our time, includ­ing his men­tor Dr. Paul Emmett. He is irre­place­able, and will be missed by many of us. Please keep his fam­i­ly, friends, and col­leagues in your thoughts.

Burt Davis, an inves­ti­ga­tor, Asso­ciate Direc­tor and Inter­im Direc­tor of Cen­ter for Applied Ener­gy Research, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ken­tucky, enjoyed a high­ly suc­cess­ful career of research and schol­ar­ship, being wide­ly rec­og­nized as the ulti­mate author­i­ty on Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch syn­the­sis. He held numer­ous offices and mem­ber­ships in sev­er­al pro­fes­sion­al soci­eties, includ­ing the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety (ACS), the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, TriS­tate Catal­y­sis Soci­ety, Amer­i­can Insti­tute of Chem­i­cal Engi­neers, and the Mate­ri­als Research Soci­ety. He authored/­co-authored over 850 pub­li­ca­tions and received four Else­vi­er most-cit­ed author awards. Burt was award­ed the pres­ti­gious Hen­ry H. Storch Award in Fuel Sci­ence in 2002 by ACS for his sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions in catal­y­sis, Fischer−Tropsch syn­the­sis, and coal con­ver­sion research. In 2011, he became an ACS Fel­low. In 2013, he earned ACS’s Ener­gy and Fuels Division’s Dis­tin­guished Researcher Award in Petro­le­um Chem­istry. In 2014, he was pre­sent­ed to the Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice award by the NACS, and the “Dis­tin­guished West Vir­gin­ian Award” by then-Gov­er­nor Earl Ray Tomblin.

Burt Davis received his B.S. degree in chem­istry from West Vir­ginia Uni­ver­si­ty, M.S. from St. Joseph’s Uni­ver­si­ty while he was work­ing at Atlantic Refin­ing, and PhD from Uni­ver­si­ty of Flori­da. He worked under Paul Emmett as a post-doc­tor­ate researcher on catal­y­sis at the John Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty.

He worked at Mobil for four years, where he dis­cov­ered a plat­inum-10 cat­a­lyst for con­vert­ing gaso­line from low-octane to high-octane. After sev­en years of teach­ing at Potomac State Col­lege as an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Chem­istry, Davis fol­lowed his great pas­sion for research, and start­ed work­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kentucky’s Cen­ter for Applied Ener­gy where he was respon­si­ble for catal­y­sis, Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch Syn­the­sis and direct coal liq­ue­fac­tion research. He cre­at­ed a pro­gram that involved both aca­d­e­m­ic research and coop­er­a­tive research with indus­try. He has devel­oped a lab­o­ra­to­ry with exten­sive capa­bil­i­ty in use the of radioac­tive and sta­ble iso­topes in reac­tion mech­a­nism stud­ies and mate­ri­als char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and devel­oped research pro­grams in Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch Syn­the­sis, sur­face sci­ence stud­ies, het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis, mate­ri­als sci­ence, organ­ic analy­sis, 1/4 ton per day direct coal liq­ue­fac­tion pilot plant oper­a­tion, liq­ue­fac­tion mech­a­nis­tic stud­ies, clean gaso­line reform­ing with superacid cat­a­lysts, and upgrad­ing naph­thas.

A Funer­al ser­vice for Burt Davis will be held on Tues­day, Octo­ber 2, 2018 at Johnson’s Funer­al Home at 4:00 pm. Funer­al Ser­vice Infor­ma­tion: www.johnsonsfuneralhome.com/book-of-memories/3619109/Davis-Burtron/service-details.php