In Memoriam: Jean-Claude Volta (1946–2011)

Jean-Claude Vol­ta was born in Givors near Lyon, France on 3rd March 1946 and died in Lyon on 18th June 2011. He received a chem­i­cal engi­neer degree at the ‘‘Ecole Supérieure de Chimie Indus­trielle de Lyon’’ ESCIL, in 1968 and his ‘‘Doc­tor­at ès Sci­ences’’ in 1973 from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lyon.

His sci­en­tif­ic career was almost entire­ly at the “Insti­tut de Recherch­es sur la Catal­yse” IRC, CNRS in Villeur­banne (Lyon), now IRCELYON. His pas­sion for Brazil was quite intense. He col­lab­o­rat­ed in par­tic­u­lar with Pao­lo Gus­ta­vo Pries de Oliv­e­ria and Lucia Appel from INT (Insti­tu­to Nacional de Tec­nolo­gia) in Rio de Janeiro and worked there for one year.

He retired in March 2006 as “Directeur de Recherche au CNRS”, after being at the head of the Oxide group. Every­one will remem­ber him as an enthu­si­as­tic and bril­liant sci­en­tist who con­tributed enor­mous­ly to the sci­en­tif­ic and social life of the Insti­tute over 30 years.

He was award­ed the annu­al award by the Catal­y­sis divi­sion of the French Chem­i­cal Soci­ety in1984 for his major con­tri­bu­tion in ‘‘struc­ture sen­si­tiv­i­ty’’ of metal­lic oxides for cat­alyt­ic selec­tive oxi­da­tion of hydro­car­bons. His case study was MoO3 sin­gle crys­tals.

He has more than 150 pub­li­ca­tions and patents in the field of oxi­da­tion catal­y­sis in which he is world famous. His con­tri­bu­tion to VPO cat­a­lysts for butane oxi­da­tion to male­ic anhy­dride was impor­tant and out­stand­ing. He has devel­oped the spin echo map­ping tech­nique in MAS-NMR with Dr. Alain Tuel (IRCELYON), pio­neered in situ/Operando Raman stud­ies with analy­sis of reac­tants and prod­ucts by GC on line with Pro­fes­sor Ollier at Ecole Cen­trale de Lyon and HR-TEM with Pro­fes­sor Chris Kiely (Uni­ver­si­ty of Liv­er­pool, UK, now at Lehigh Uni­ver­si­ty, USA).

Jean-Claude was a found­ing mem­ber of the Euro­pean CONCORDE (CO-ordi­na­tion of Nanos­truc­tured Cat­alyt­ic Oxides Research and Devel­op­ment) net­work and played a vital role in dis­cus­sions lead­ing to its for­ma­tion. A spe­cial issue of the Jour­nal Applied Catal­y­sis A was orga­nized by his friends and col­leagues who want­ed to express their recog­ni­tion to Jean-Claude Vol­ta on the occa­sion of his retire­ment and to cel­e­brate his con­tri­bu­tion to the field of struc­ture sen­si­tiv­i­ty and selec­tive oxi­da­tion in het­ero­ge­neous catal­y­sis.

This note is essen­tial­ly based on the pref­ace of this spe­cial issue.
His friends
Applied Catal­y­sis A: Gen­er­al 325 (2007) 193