James C. Stevens is the recipient of the ACS award in Industrial Chemistry

James C. Stevens, a research fel­low at Dow Chem­i­cal in Freeport, Texas, is the recip­i­ent of the ACS award in Indus­tri­al Chem­istry for dis­cov­ery and com­mer­cial devel­op­ment of cat­a­lysts used in the poly­olefin pro­duc­tion. This award rec­og­nizes out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to chem­i­cal research in the indus­tri­al con­text.

His work on designed lig­ands for tita­ni­um- and zir­co­ni­um-based cat­a­lysts led to the dis­cov­ery of the “sin­gle-site, con­strained-geom­e­try cat­a­lyst sys­tem” in the late 1980s. Stevens and his col­leagues refined the tech­nol­o­gy, trans­form­ing it “from a lab curios­i­ty to a com­mer­cial real­i­ty” for the pro­duc­tion of poly­olefins. More recent­ly, his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Symyx Tech­nolo­gies led to the dis­cov­ery of a new class of hafni­um-based sin­gle-site cat­a­lysts for the poly­mer­iza­tion of propy­lene. Stevens holds 75 patents and his work have result­ed in com­mer­cial suc­cess for Dow. The cat­a­lysts he helped to devel­op are used in the pro­duc­tion of more than 1 bil­lion pounds of plas­tics and elas­tomers per year.

Tobin J. Marks, a catal­y­sis chem­istry pro­fes­sor at North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty, says Stevens is “the kind of superb indus­tri­al sci­en­tist and tech­nol­o­gist who comes along only once in a gen­er­a­tion.” Marks adds that Stevens’ work “has per­ma­nent­ly changed the face of mod­ern poly­mer­iza­tion sci­ence, and has led to a num­ber of mul­ti-bil­lion-dol­lar process­es that pro­duce clean­er, green­er, more recy­clable, and more pro­ces­si­ble poly­mer­ic mate­ri­als than ever believed pos­si­ble. More­over, due to Stevens’ inci­sive work, the inti­mate mech­a­nis­tic details of cat­a­lyst func­tion are under­stood at a lev­el nev­er before thought pos­si­ble for an indus­tri­al olefin-poly­mer­iza­tion cat­a­lyst.”
Past Recip­i­ents

  • 1991 James F. Roth
  • 1992 David R. Bryant
  • 1993 Lar­ry F. Thomp­son
  • 1994 Mar­i­on D. Fran­cis
  • 1995 Lynn H. Slaugh
  • 1996 Gor­don W. Calun­dann
  • 1997 Robert M. Sydan­sk
  • 1998 William C. Drinkard, Jr.
  • 1999 Madan M. Bhasin
  • 2000 Gui­do Sar­tori
  • 2001 Paul S. Ander­son
  • 2002 Bipin V. Vora
  • 2003 Bruce E. Maryanoff
  • 2004 Joseph C. Sala­m­one
  • 2005 Edwin A. Chan­dross
  • 2006 James C. Stevens