Professor Robert Davis has been selected for the 2007 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis. The award consists of a plaque and a prize. The purpose of the Award is to recognize and encourage individual contributions (under the age of 45) in the field of catalysis with emphasis on discovery and understanding of catalytic phenomena, proposal of catalytic reaction mechanisms and identification of and description of catalytic sites and species.
Since 2002 Bob has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Bob has made numerous lasting contributions to the fundamental science of heterogeneous catalysis with exceptional advances in acid, base, bifunctional acid/base, and base-promoted metal catalysis. He is recognized here for his pioneering contributions to the use of in-situ spectroscopic methods coupled with both steady-state and transient kinetic methods to elucidate how oxide supports and basic promoters alter the active catalytic sites for a variety of reactions, including the selective oxidation of hydrocarbons, acid/base conversions, and ammonia synthesis. A distinguishing characteristic of Bob’s research is its integration of multiple experimental techniques for characterizing heterogeneous catalysts and the kinetics of reactions occurring on their surfaces. Bob has employed a comprehensive set of spectroscopic tools including extended X‑ray absorption fine structure, X‑ray absorption near-edge structure, infrared, Raman, nuclear magnetic and electron spin resonance, adsorption microcalorimetry, electron microscopy together with steady state as well as transient kinetic analyses to determine the local electronic and geometric structure of the active site(s), the influence local environment, and the reactivity of novel supported catalysts under working conditions. This wide array of tools has enabled him to discover the fundamental features that control a wide range of important catalytic systems.
In addition to his outstanding research accomplishments, Bob has proven to be a leader in educating students and advancing the field of catalysis and reaction engineering. He is the co-author of a relatively new undergraduate/graduate textbook “Fundamentals of Chemical Reaction Engineering” published by McGraw-Hill. His leadership has also been well recognized by the field as Bob has chosen to lead the programming efforts for Catalysis in the Division of Catalysis and Reaction Engineering of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and currently serves as a Division Director. He has also organized and participated in a number of workshops to promote catalysis in Asia, South America and Africa for the National Science Foundation. He is one of the founders as well as the past President of the Southeastern Catalysis Society. He also recently chaired the 2006 Gordon Conference on Catalysis.
Bob will give a plenary lecture and be recognized at the 2007 North American Catalysis Society meeting in Houston. The Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis is sponsored by the Davison Chemical Division of W.R. Grace and Company. It is administered by The North American Catalysis Society and is awarded biennially in odd numbered years. More information on this award, the awards process, and previous awardees can be found inside the Awards folder on the NACS home page: www.nacatsoc.org.