Professor Robert Davis has been selected for the 2007 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis

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: