I am pleased to announce that Professor Johannes A. Lercher of the Technical University of Munich is the recipient of the 2011 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis of the North American Catalysis Society, sponsored by Johnson Matthey and administered by The North American Catalysis Society. It is to be awarded biennially in odd-numbered years. The award consists of a plaque and an honorarium of $5,000. The plaque will be presented during the closing banquet ceremonies at the 2011 North American Meeting of the Catalysis Society.An additional $4,500 is available to cover travelling expenses in North America. Professor Lercher will present lectures at the local catalysis clubs and societies during the two-year period covered by this award.
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.
Professor Lercher is being recognized for his ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of the interactions and transformations of molecules on solid catalysts through elegant combinations of physicochemical and kinetic analyses. His studies of the elementary in molecular transport through porous media and the resulting insights into the design of solids to manipulate these steps have led to a successful synthesis of hierarchic materials able to discriminate molecules on the basis of the volume defined by their rotation in the gas space. His studies of the into the structure and thermodynamic properties of hydrocarbons adsorbed within zeolite voids and on polar surfaces led to efficient catalysts for the selective activation of organic molecules. The concepts and learnings developed have stimulated significant experimental and theoretical studies in these areas and the development of novel catalytic chemistries for alkane activation. These chemistries include the functionalization of methane to methyl chloride on chloride surfaces, the oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane to ethene on supported molten chlorides, the stable and selective alkylation of isobutane with linear butenes on acidic zeolites, and the activation and cracking of branched alkanes by zeolites containing accessible lanthanum cations at ambient temperatures.
President, North American Catalysis Society