Manos Mavrikakis is the recipient of the 2021 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis

I am pleased to announce that Pro­fes­sor Manos Mavrikakis of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin is the recip­i­ent of the 2021 Robert Bur­well Lec­ture­ship in Catal­y­sis, spon­sored by John­son Matthey and admin­is­tered by the North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety. It is award­ed bien­ni­al­ly in odd-num­bered years. The award con­sists of a plaque and an hon­o­rar­i­um of $5,000, which will be pre­sent­ed at the award ban­quet at the NAM27 meet­ing. An addi­tion­al $4,500 is avail­able to cov­er trav­el­ling expens­es in North Amer­i­ca. The awardee is expect­ed to lec­ture at many of the local catal­y­sis clubs.

The Robert Bur­well Lec­ture­ship in Catal­y­sis is giv­en in recog­ni­tion of sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tions to one or more areas in the field of catal­y­sis with empha­sis on dis­cov­ery and under­stand­ing of cat­alyt­ic phe­nom­e­na, cat­alyt­ic reac­tion mech­a­nisms and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and descrip­tion of cat­alyt­ic sites and species. The awardee is select­ed on the basis of his/her con­tri­bu­tions to the cat­alyt­ic lit­er­a­ture and the cur­rent time­li­ness of these research con­tri­bu­tions. The recip­i­ent may be invit­ed to (1) vis­it and lec­ture to each of the affil­i­at­ed Clubs/Societies with which mutu­al­ly sat­is­fac­to­ry arrange­ments can be made and (2) pre­pare a review paper(s) for pub­li­ca­tion cov­er­ing these lec­tures. Pub­li­ca­tion will be in an appro­pri­ate peri­od­i­cal.

Pro­fes­sor Mavrikakis has elu­ci­dat­ed the mol­e­c­u­lar lev­el mech­a­nisms of impor­tant het­ero­ge­neous­ly cat­alyzed and elec­tro­cat­alyt­ic chem­i­cal reac­tions. Through a com­bi­na­tion of quan­tum mechan­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions with micro­ki­net­ic mod­el­ing and reac­tion kinet­ics exper­i­ments, his group has elu­ci­dat­ed nov­el reac­tion mech­a­nisms, includ­ing new key inter­me­di­ates, among oth­ers, for the water-gas-shift reac­tion and methanol syn­the­sis over indus­tri­al­ly rel­e­vant cop­per-based cat­a­lysts. Fur­ther, Mavrikakis has devel­oped a rig­or­ous iter­a­tive approach for elu­ci­dat­ing the nature of the active sites for a cat­alyt­ic reac­tion, while the reac­tion is tak­ing place. In par­tic­u­lar, through the com­bi­na­tion of approach­es men­tioned above, his group devel­oped an approach capa­ble of deriv­ing infor­ma­tion on the inter­me­di­ates and at what cov­er­ages they dec­o­rate the active sites as a func­tion of pres­sure, tem­per­a­ture, and feed com­po­si­tion. This iter­a­tive approach is unique­ly posi­tioned to pre­dict the nature of the active sites as a func­tion of reac­tion con­di­tions, a goal that remains most­ly elu­sive from the most elab­o­rate in-situ and operan­do exper­i­men­tal char­ac­ter­i­za­tion tech­niques. Mavrikakis has con­tributed exten­sive­ly to under­stand­ing and pre­dict­ing the struc­ture sen­si­tiv­i­ty of cat­alyt­ic and elec­tro­cat­alyt­ic reac­tions, and has guid­ed the inor­gan­ic syn­the­sis com­mu­ni­ty towards the syn­the­sis of improved elec­tro­cat­a­lysts for a vari­ety of reac­tions.
Jing­guang Chen
Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety