Announcement of 2023 Robert Burwell Lectureship in Catalysis

I am pleased to announce that Pro­fes­sor Umit Ozkan of the Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty is the recip­i­ent of the 2023 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 NAM28 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 Umit Ozkan is rec­og­nized for her pio­neer­ing work that bridged the het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis and elec­tro­catal­y­sis fields.  Her group was the first to show that nitro­gen-doped car­bon nanos­truc­tures (CNx) had promis­ing oxy­gen reduc­tion reac­tion (ORR) activ­i­ty in acidic medi­um. Com­bin­ing spec­troscopy tech­niques, met­al-free syn­the­sis meth­ods, and probe mol­e­cules, they were able to iden­ti­fy the active sites and pro­vide a mech­a­nis­tic under­stand­ing of the ORR. Recent­ly, her group has also been explor­ing the use of CNx mate­ri­als as oxy­gen depo­lar­ized cath­ode elec­trodes as well as in bromine evo­lu­tion reac­tions. Ozkan also expand­ed her work to mid-tem­per­a­ture elec­tro­catal­y­sis in sol­id oxide elec­trolyt­ic cells for appli­ca­tions such as oxida­tive dehy­dro­gena­tion of low­er alka­nes or oxida­tive cou­pling of methane as well as co-elec­trol­y­sis of CO2 and H2O on per­ovskites. More recent­ly, they have been work­ing on mid-tem­per­a­ture elec­tro­cat­alyt­ic NH3 pro­duc­tion from N2 and H2O, pro­vid­ing a route for dis­trib­uted NH3 pro­duc­tion as an alter­na­tive to the Haber-Bosch process. Dr. Ozkan’s con­tri­bu­tions to het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis include stud­ies in oxi­da­tion catal­y­sis, envi­ron­men­tal catal­y­sis, hydro­gena­tion and hydrogenol­y­sis reac­tions as well as reform­ing reac­tions. In all of these stud­ies, her focus has been under­stand­ing the nature of active sites and tai­lor­ing the sur­face prop­er­ties to achieve desired cat­alyt­ic func­tions.

Jing­guang Chen
Pres­i­dent, North Amer­i­can Catal­y­sis Soci­ety