In Memoriam: Juan F. Garcia de la Banda (1921–2015)

Juan_F_Garcia_de_la_BandaJuan Fran­cisco Gar­cía de la Banda was born in Madrid (Spain) in 1921. He stud­ied Chem­istry and Math­e­mat­ics in the Uni­ver­si­ties of Val­ladolid, Oviedo and Madrid, com­plet­ing his Bach­e­lor Degree in 1943. In 1948 he pre­sented his PhD dis­ser­ta­tion (“Rela­tion between calorific con­duc­tiv­ity and vapor pres­sure of high boil­ing point sub­stances”) super­vised by Pro­fes­sors Foz-Gazulla and Colom­ina and car­ried out at the Insti­tuto de Química Física “Roca­solano” (IQFR) of the Span­ish Coun­cil for Sci­en­tific Research (CSIC).

He stud­ied in Bris­tol between 1951 and 1952 with Pro­fes­sor William E. Gar­ner with Dr. Den­nis A. Dow­den at the Catal­y­sis Group at ICI. After­wards, he returned to Spain, within the frame­work of the IQFR and founded the “Lab­o­ra­tory on Catal­y­sis”, which became the birth­place of the Insti­tuto de Catáli­sis y Petroleo­química (ICP) in 1975. He was the first Direc­tor of the ICP and the indi­vid­ual most respon­si­ble for enhanc­ing the scope and qual­ity of research in catal­y­sis and bio­catal­y­sis in Spain.

He par­tic­i­pated in the First Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Catal­y­sis (ICC) held in Philadel­phia in 1956 and main­tained per­sonal and pro­fes­sional links with many U.S. catal­y­sis researchers, espe­cially through his per­sonal friend­ship with Dr. Heinz Heine­mann through­out their careers. He pro­posed and orga­nized the 1st Iberoamer­i­can Sym­po­sium on Catal­y­sis, held in Madrid in 1968, the first in a series that will cel­e­brate its 25th edi­tion this year in Montevideo.

Pro­fes­sor Gar­cia de la Banda served in sev­eral influ­en­tial posi­tions within the research and devel­op­ment and sci­en­tific struc­ture at the high­est lev­els in the gov­ern­ment of Spain. He is with­out doubt the most influ­en­tial and impact­ful pro­moter of catal­y­sis research in Spain in the 20th cen­tury and the key indi­vid­ual in the for­ma­tive years of the catal­y­sis com­mu­nity in Spain.
His pres­ence and his sage advice will be missed.
 
Dr. Enrique Sas­tre
Vice-Director, Insti­tuto de Catáli­sis y Petroleo­química, CSIC,
Madrid, Spain.