Israel E. Wachs, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Lehigh University, has been named the recipient of the 5th Vanadis Award. The award was presented following the award lecture by Dr. Wachs at the 8th International Vanadium Symposium (V8) held August 15–18, 2012 in Crystal City, VA. This biannual award goes to a researcher having contributed to the chemistry/biological chemistry/toxicology of vanadium. Dr. Wachs was selected for his wellstoried contributions to vanadium science and contributions to the area of metal-oxide-based catalyses.
Dr. Wachs received his undergraduate education at The City College of the City University of New York (B.E.-ChE) and continued his graduate (PhD-ChE) education at Stanford University under the mentorship of Professor Robert J. Madix, in the area of surface science. His research findings are considered the first application of surface science to heterogeneous catalysis. After graduation, he joined the Exxon Research & Engineering Company Corporate Research Labs where he was involved in development of many different catalytic technologies (selective oxidation, acid catalysis, synthetic fuel synthesis, hydrodesulfurization (HDS) and hydrocarbon conversion). One of his inventions, i.e., the selective oxidation of o‑xylene to phthalic anhydride by vanadium oxide/titanium catalyst supports, is still the leading industrial catalyst for this technology. Dr. Wachs subsequently joined the faculty of the Chemical Engineering Department at Lehigh University. There, he established a world-class catalysis research laboratory focusing on oxide catalytic materials and their characterization under reaction conditions (in situ and operando spectroscopy). These fundamental studies established a foundation for molecular/electronic structure – activity/selectivity relationships and the molecular engineering of novel oxide catalysts. One of the emphases of Dr. Wachs’ research has been on the fundamentals and applied aspects of supported vanadium oxide heterogeneous catalysts for environmental applications (for reduction of acid gas emissions from power plants and paper mills). More recently, he has extended his research on vanadium oxide catalysis to aqueous enzyme mimics. Dr. Wachs’ scientific research accomplishments are internationally known and have received recognition by EPA, ACS, AIChE, the Humboldt Foundation, and now, the International Vanadium Symposium.
Historically, the Vanadis Award has been presented on the basis of documented contributions of a scientist to the area(s) or combinations of vanadium chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or pharmaceutical sciences. The award is specifically given to an individual who has contributed innovative research and had a impact on direction of their field(s) — in terms of development of new applications and lasting impact as testified by the service of the nominee to the overall progress, application, and exploration of new uses of vanadium in science. Candidates for the Vanadis Award can be nominated by any member of the vanadium community; the awardee is selected by an international committee of experts in the science of vanadium. Previous winners of the Vanadis Award have been Debbie C. Crans (2004), Dieter Rehder (2006), Toshikazu Hirao (2008), and Vincent L. Pecoraro (2010).
If you would like more information about this award, the 2012 award selection or the International Vanadium Symposium, please contact Debbie Crans at 970–491-7635 or Craig McLauchlan at 309–438-7019.