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.
President, North American Catalysis Society