angelescuIt is with great sadness that we announce that former President of the Romanian Catalysis Society, Professor Emilian Angelescu died on July 23, 2019 at the age of 84.
Professor Angelescu was born on October 20, 1934 in Ploiesti, Romania. He graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Bucharest in 1957. After his PhD, which was conducted under the supervision of Professor Dr. Doc. I. V. Nicolescu, he was appointed to the Department of Organic Chemistry at the same university, becoming full professor in 1980. He served as the Director of the Department of Chemical Technology and Catalysis from 1990-2004. In 1992 he was part of the group that founded the Romanian Catalysis Society for which he served as President from 1992-2004. One year later, the Romanian Catalysis Society was enrolled in the European Federation of Catalysis Societies and Professor Angelescu became a member of the Council.

He was author for a high number of publications and patents. In view of all these achievements he was presented with the “N.Teclu” award of the Romanian Academy.


Prof. Carlo Lamberti passed suddenly on February 1st, 2019, at the age of 54.

lambertiProf. Lamberti was a brilliant scientist and an enthusiastic teacher. His expertise ranged from Quantum Physics to Material Science, Chemistry and Catalysis, and he was always eager to infuse students and younger collaborators with his scientific passion and endless curiosity, especially in the field he helped advance most: the operando studies applied, inter alia, to solid catalysts. He was at his best at synchrotron sources and neutron beams, where he performed tirelessly hundreds of experiments (days and nights!) with X-ray and neutron sources at ADONE, LURE DCI and SuperACO, ESRF, MAX, NSLS, Elettra, SRS, SLS, APS, SOLEIL, ISIS, SOLEIL, ILL, SINQ, FRM-II. He led two long-term projects at the ESRF and one at Elettra.

His outstanding scientific contributions have substantially advanced the physical understanding underpinning the performances of catalytic materials. A physicist by training (he obtained his Ph.D. in solid state physics in 1993 at the University of Torino, Italy), Carlo was able to engage with both physicists and chemists, and to communicate effectively across these two disciplines, to mutually advance in situ and operando methods, as well as their application to the study of catalytic materials (such as zeolites and other porous materials, as well as supported transition metals and metal nanoparticles). His development of new methods of characterization of metal organic frameworks by combined techniques is universally recognized as pioneering, paving the way for new researchers to follow his footsteps.

Among his 400+ published papers (cited by colleagues worldwide over 25,500 times to date, with a staggering h-factor of 89), a seminal contribution, “Reactivity of Surface Species in Heterogeneous Catalysts Probed by In Situ X-ray Absorption Techniques “ by Silvia Bordiga, Elena Groppo, Giovanni Agostini, Jeroen A. van Bokhoven, and Carlo Lamberti*, Chemical Reviews, 113, 1736-1850 (2013), showcases part of the craftsmanship and broad scientific interest Carlo possessed.

Carlo was both an outstanding scholar and a charismatic teacher. He was a professor in Physical Chemistry at the University of Torino. He was the promotor and the Italian coordinator of the European Master Program “Materials science: exploring large scale facilities” (MaMaSELF). He also was the scientific director of the “Smart Materials Research Center” at the Southern Federal University of Rostov-on-Don (Russian Federation). His students fondly remember his ability to clearly explain difficult concepts with simplicity and enthusiasm, a characteristic of a great teacher. The room sparked with energy that he exuded every time he came to a microphone (he had questions for every speaker at every session in one of the many languages he mastered), making the sessions he attended unforgettable, and ever more interesting, regardless of the topic. He was a patient and caring educator, explaining difficult subjects of X-ray spectroscopy to beginners in short courses he liked to teach, by engaging the audience – always with a lot of creativity and good humor (in the picture Carlo explaining coordination numbers). One further example of the priceless memories about his unique way of lecturing: during a class he taught about synchrotron experiments, he made students stand up, move and behave like different nuclei. You had to see the incredulous yet captivated audience!

Carlo has clearly made a huge impact on the catalysis community leaving a great legacy in the use of in situ and operando techniques and in the comprehension of catalysis in general. He will be tremendously missed as a great colleague as well. However, he will be missed not only as the eminent scientist, but mostly as the charming, gentle, larger-than-life person he was. Many in the community mourn the passing of a true friend, to whom he often repeated: “Enjoy life, in all its aspects!”. His personality, his enthusiasm, his way of teaching and his research have left a permanent legacy in many memories.


Professor Robert Karl Grasselli

grasselliProfessor Robert Karl Grasselli passed away in Munich on 11 January 2018; he was 87 years old.

Robert Grasselli obtained his bachelor degree from Harvard in 1952, after wining a scholarship from the Technical University in Graz, Austria. He obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Case-Western Reserve University, Cleveland, from where he proceeded to Sohio as a research scientist.  After leaving Sohio he worked at the US Office of Naval Research, Washington, where he was Director of Chemical Research, and then at Mobil Corporation. From 1996 to 2006 he was Guest Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Munich and, simultaneously, Adjunct Full Professor in Chemical Engineering at the Center for Catalytic Science and Technology in the University of Delaware at Newark.  Later he became Distinguished Affiliated Professor at the Technical University of Munich (2006-2018).
Dr. Robert A. Grasselli was a highly accomplished and innovative industrial chemist, renowned  for his seminal contributions to the design, development, and commercial exploitation of novel solid catalysis. Inventor in 160 U.S. patents, he was instrumental in developing a fundamentally new method of producing the polymer precursor, acrylonitrile. The key innovation in this one-step process was the use microcrystalline bismuth molybdate; the process was so effective that, after its adoption worldwide, a 50-fold increase of acrylonitrile production was achieved.
Dr. Robert Grasselli was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (1995); inducted into the US National Hall of Fame for Engineering, Science and Technology (1988); was a recipient of the American Chemical Society E. N. Morley Medal (1999); and the E. V. Murphee Award for Industrial and Engineering Chemistry in 1984.  He also shared the Distinguished Award in Oxidation Catalysis from the World Oxidation Catalysis Society in Berlin (2001); and he received a doctorate, honoris causa, from the University of Bologna.  He was awarded the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Prize in1995.
Dr. Grasselli combined the best of the American optimism and ‘can-do’ spirit with the old-world European cultural depth and charm of the continent of his birth. He read extensively; he loved music and was an ardent supporter of the Vienna Phillarmonic.  He had a passion for skiing and for travel to far-away places. He loved gardening, unusual flora, and modern art. For the last twenty years of his life, he and his wife, Dr. Eva-Maria Hauck, spent their time in their two homes, one in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the other in Munich. He will always be remembered for his ethusiam for science that led him throughout his life to bring friends together in discussion.   
(prepared by Doug Buttrey, William Goddard III, and Raul Lobo)


Professor Frank S. Stone (1925 - 2018)

stoneFrank Stone’s death on March 5th deprived the scientific community of an elder statesman, famed for studies of catalysis and solid-state chemistry. Born in 1925 in Bristol, England, and educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital School, Bristol, he excelled in Classics and Sciences, but preferred the latter, studying Chemistry at the University of Bristol; graduating with first class honours in 1945.

He undertook postgraduate research with Professor W. E. Garner, linking the catalytic activities of binary inorganic oxides with their semi-conducting characteristics. Thereafter, he proceeded to post-doctoral studies in photochemistry at Princeton University, USA, with the distinguished physical chemist, Hugh S. Taylor. Returning to Bristol, he investigated heterogeneous catalytic reactions through adsorption calorimetry. The importance of the “electronic factor” to heterogeneous catalysis led Stone to doping binary oxides with the alter-valent ions, and to measuring the magnetic properties of ternary oxides. Enduring associations were established with Italian and Spanish research groups; notably with Alessandro Cimino, a contemporary at Princeton, at the Universities of Perugia and Rome, assessing specific catalytic activities of isolated surface ionic sites; and with co-workers of J. F. Garcia de la Banda (CSIC, Madrid), who worked previously with Garner, to study the cracking of hydrocarbons on transition metal-doped zeolites. Between 1955-65, Frank Stone pioneered research on heterogeneous photocatalysis on finely-divided oxides, solid-state reactions for spinel formation, and adsorption on supported metallic particles.

He became European Editor of the Journal of Catalysis in 1970, a task at which he excelled for 26 years, in which his literary acumen and facility with foreign languages earned him huge respect, especially from non-English-speaking authors, who were grateful to him for his tactful suggestions for improving manuscripts.

In 1972 Frank Stone became Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Bath, where, with Adriano Zecchina and Edoardo Garrone of the University of Turin, he applied UV-Visible Diffuse Reflectance- and Infra-Red Spectroscopies to oxide surfaces of alkaline-earth elements, identifying 3-, 4-, and 5-fold coordinated adsorption sites, and revealing a pink oligomeric form of adsorbed carbon monoxide.  In later years he held the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Frank Stone was an outstanding lecturer. He authored more than 120 scientific papers; many have withstood the “wear of time”. He was a founding- committee member of the triennial Rideal Conference Series, and was a regular attendee until 2011/12.

He met his future wife, Joan, also a student, in wartime Bristol. They became volunteer fire-watchers, studying by day and fulfilling their night-time duties from the rooftops of the University buildings. A family man, who enjoyed gardening, cycling, and travel. He took many camping holidays across Europe, a practice continued until late in life and held annual summer camps for his research group in the Welsh Mountains or on Exmoor.  He was a regularly-attending member of the Bristol Scientific Society until shortly before his death.

Roger I. Bickley/ Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK   


Professor Kozo Tanabe

tanabeProfessor Kozo Tanabe passed away on April 24, 2018 at the age of 91.

Kozo Tanabe was born on May 7, 1926 in Takeda, Oita prefecture, Japan. He studied Chemistry at Hokkaido University and graduated in 1951. He joined the Research Institute of Catalysis, Hokkaido University and received a PhD in 1956. He remained on the faculty of the Research Institute of Catalysis and was promoted to Professor in 1960. In 1965, he moved to the Department of Chemistry at Hokkaido University, where he retired to become Professor Emeritus in 1990.

Professor Tanabe carried out early seminal work in acid-base catalysis by solids and discovered the essential role of acid-base pairs in conferring unique reactivity and selectivity by stabilizing intermediates through concerted interactions. He was a prolific and highly-cited author with more than 300 research publication and 10 books. Among these, the book entitled “Solid Acids and Bases” set the fundamental underpinnings for the interpretation of the reactivity of oxides and mixed oxides in catalytic reactions and for the benefits of an appropriate balance in strength between the acid and base active centers.

His achievements were recognized with many distinctions, among them the several awards from the Chemical Society and the Catalysis Society of Japan and the Japan Institute of Petroleum. He was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon and the Order of the Sacred Treasure. Professor Tanabe served as President of the Catalysis Society of Japan and as Vice president of the Chemical Society of Japan. His profound influence on the field led to the creation of the “Kozo Tanabe Prize for Acid-Base Catalysis” in his honor; this prize is stewarded by the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Acid-Base Catalysis Symposium.

Professor Tanabe was a teacher and mentor for many generations of catalysis scientists at Hokkaido University and in the catalysis community at-large. He is also remembered as a humble and gentle scholar whose vast wisdom and knowledge he was always so willing to share.


Professor Emeritus Gérard Férey

fereyProfessor Emeritus Gérard Férey, France, passed away on August 19, 2017. Professor Férey 's research focused on the physical chemistry of solids and materials, in particular on the crystal chemistry of inorganic fluorides and on porous solids. In 2007, he developed MIL 101, the first of an important class of metal-organic framework (MOF) materials, a field of which he is considered between the few pioneers. He actively contributed to the application of MOF to catalysis.




Professor Wolfgang Sachtler (1924–2017)


The catalysis community mourns the loss of one of its formative and most influential figures, Professor Dr. Wolfgang Max Hugo Sachtler, who passed away on January 8, 2017. Born on November 8, 1924 in Delitzsch, Germany, Professor Sachtler received his PhD from the Technical University Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany in 1952, in the area of surface science. Upon graduation, he joined the Royal Dutch Shell Laboratory in Amsterdam where he stayed until retirement as Director of Fundamental Research in 1983. From 1963–84, he held a joint appointment as Professor at the National University in Leiden. He was particularly known for his insightful application of surface science concepts to catalysis. While at Shell and Leiden, he advanced the concept of relationship between metal-oxygen bond energy and the selectivity for partial oxidation products in hydrocarbon oxidations, initiated insightful discussions on whether molecular or atomic oxygen is necessary for selective epoxidation of ethylene, applied thermodynamics and experimental measurements to metal alloys to account for the effects of the surface compositions of alloys to their binding of adsorbates, and promoted the description of bimetallic catalysis in terms of ensemble and ligand effects.

He joined Northwestern University in Evanston in 1983 as the V.N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry and the first Director of the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science, where he continued his prolific and influential professional career. He was a leading figure in the design, synthesis, and detailed investigation of genesis of metallic particles in zeolites, their chemical properties, and catalytic reaction mechanisms. He provided the first evidence of proton-induced cationic metal clusters in zeolite. Later, he broadened his research portfolio to include NOx abatement by selective catalytic reduction strategies and hydrocarbon conversions catalyzed by strong acids. He was among the first to rec-ognize that trace amounts of alkenes were necessary for the low temperature isomerization of butane over sulfated zirconia. In all, he contributed 440 scholarly publications to the literature.

His work was recognized with the E. V. Murphree Award and the Petroleum Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society, the Eugène Houdry Award of the North American Catalysis Society, the Rideal Lectureship Award of Faraday Div. Royal. Chem. Soc., R.L. Burwell Lectureship Award of North American Catalysis Society, François Gault Lectureship Award of European Fed. of Catalysis Societies, German Society Coal and Fuel Science award (DGMK-Kolleg). He was a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences.

In addition to his many scientific contributions, many of his friends and colleagues would remember his welcoming and friendly personality and his consistent willingness to help. He offered a very timely helping hand to help professional colleagues as they sought to escape Eastern Europe during the cold war era. He guided various young scientists at Shell and at Leiden who later became leading figures in the field. At Northwestern, he mentored a large number of students and post-doctoral fellows, many of them have taken leadership positions in companies and who would pay him frequent visits, some as recent as late last year.

He is survived by his wife of over 60 years Anne-Lore and by three children and grandchildren.

Professor Antonio Cortes (1937 - 2015)

Antonio Cortes was born in Almería (Spain) in 1937. He received his Doctorate in Chemical Sciences (1966) from the University of Madrid, with the PhD work: “Catalytic cracking of p-cymene”, supervised by Prof. Juan Francisco García de la Banda (also recently passed away). Afterwards, he did a Postoctoral stay, between 1966 and 1967, at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK) working on the study of the H-D isotope exchange in hydrocarbons, under the supervision of Prof. Ch. Kemball. In May of 1968 he began to work in the Research and Development Department of the M.V. Kellogg Co., in New Market (NJ, USA), where he remained until October 1970. On that date, he returned to Madrid as a Tenured Scientist to the Catalysis Department of the Instituto de Química Física “Rocasolano” of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). In 1971 he was appointed to Scientist Researcher and, finally, in 1988 he got the Full Research Professor status. He was author of numerous publications and patents and supervisor of a large number of Projects, PhD students, etc.

Under the leadership of Professor J.F. García de la Banda, he was, in 1975, one of the founder researchers of the Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica (ICP) in Madrid.

Among other relevant positions, he was the Director of the ICP between 1988 and 1989, Director of the Instituto Nacional del Carbón (INCAR), Director of the Cabinet of Studies of the Presidency of the CSIC, President of the Spanish Society of Catalysis (SECAT) and Secretary of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS).


Professor Juan Francisco García de la Banda (1921 - 2015)

Juan Francisco García de la Banda was born in Madrid (Spain) in 1921. He studied Chemistry and Mathematics in the Universities of Valladolid, Oviedo and Madrid, completing his Bachelor Degree in 1943. In 1948 he presented his PhD work (“Dependence between calorific conductivity and vapor pressure of high boiling point substances”) supervised by Professors Foz-Gazulla and Colomina, carried out in Madrid in the Instituto de Química Física “Rocasolano” (IQFR) of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).

Between 1951 and 1952 he moved to Bristol (UK) to work with Professor William E. Garner and collaborate with Dr. Dennis A. Dowden (Head of the Research Group of Catalysis of the ICI at Billingham, UK). Upon his return to Spain, inside the framework of the IQFR, he created the “Laboratory on Catalysis”, pioneer group of this discipline in Spain and origin of the Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica (ICP), funded by García de la Banda in 1975.

He was the first Director of the ICP enhancing strongly the research in Applied Catalysis and Biocatalysis, a completely innovative research line in Spain.

He was the impeller and organizer of the 1st Iberoamerican Symposium on Catalysis, held in Madrid in 1968, first of a successful series of Conferences, which will celebrate its 25th edition next year at Montevideo (Uruguay).

During the 70’s and 80’s, he occupied different relevant positions in the Research and Development structure of the Spanish administration.

García de la Banda has been certainly the most important promoter of the Catalysis in Spain during the second half of the XX Century and he can be considered as a key person in the notable development of the Spanish Catalysis during the last decades.

Haldor Topsøe (1913- 2013)

topsoeHaldor Topsøe, Danish founder of worldleading chemical engineering company Haldor Topsøe A/S passed away on May 19 of this year aged 99.

Early influences
Born on May 24, 1913, Haldor Topsøe was the  eldest son of Captain Flemming Topsøe and Hedvig Sofie. He grew up in Copenhagen during a time of social unrest, and his father's involvement in voluntary social work, covering vital services during general strikes, made a lifelong impression on him. Throughout his life he recognized the importance of overcoming the boundaries between social classes to enable people to work together.
During the 1930s, Haldor Topsøe studied physics under eminent physicist Niels Bohr and chemical engineering at the Technical University of Denmark where he developed his  life-long passion for scientific research. He graduated in 1936 and married his long-time fiancée, Inger.
But, rather than stay on and study for a doctorate, Haldor Topsøe agreed to join Aarhus Oliefabrik as a chemical engineer with the assurance that he would play a major role in developing the company's research center. After only three years, however, he left and started his own business.

From academia to industry
At first, the situation looked far from promising. On April 9, 1940 Haldor Topsøe and his young family were preparing to leave for the US , when Germany began its occupation of Denmark. Suddenly, he had to reconsider his future.
Realizing he could no longer expect to get a good position at a Danish university, he decided to take his wife's advice and use his knowledge of chemical engineering to start up his own private company. His intention was to earn enough money to enable him and his colleagues to pursue their passion for establishing a theoretical, scientific basis for making advances in industrial processes. Inger approved of his plan and said that it should be a good place to work, to which he added, "and to have worked."

Haldor Topsøe founded Haldor Topsøe A/S in the belief that his company's research would bring the benefits of chemical engineering, particularly catalysis, to businesses worldwide. Today, more than 70 years later, Haldor Topsøe A/S has a global presence encompassing 10 countries on four continents and employs 2,500 people - and catalysis is involved in 90 percent of the world's chemical processes, and 60 percent of all industrial production.

Passion for science
Asked about his company's early achievements, Haldor Topsøe has stated that his team was able to "bring a lot more science into the industry." It was these post-war experiences of combining fundamental scientific research with the needs of industry that informed his search for the people who could take the results of research, develop useful products and bring them to market. Having managed to create "a good place to work," he was able to attract talented, dedicated scientists and engineers, and the company's first products, using catalysis to speed up the production of sulfuric acid, came to market in 1944.

Jean-Claude Volta (1946-2011)

jc_voltaJean-Claude Volta was born in Givors near Lyon, France on 3rdMarch 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 was also able to speak portuguese.
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 a lively figure at international conferences, often addressing searching question in his charmingly accented English.
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

June 2011


Jerzy Haber (1930-2010)


Professor Jerzy Haber, an outstanding scientist, Leader and Tutor of many generations of Polish chemists, a remarkable organiser of research, died on January 1, 2010. He was an internationally acclaimed specialist in solid state chemistry, catalysis and surface phenomena who created and directed for many years the Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry of Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow.

Jerzy Haber was born on May 7, 1930 in Krakow and linked with this city his entire professional and private life. Here, in 1951, he graduated in chemistry from the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry of the Jagiellonian University. After graduation, he took position of a research assistant at the AGH University of Technology in Krakow, working on physico-chemical properties of transition metal oxides in the research group of Professor Adam Bielański. In his research, he demonstrated a correlation between changes in their electron properties and catalytic activity (A.Bielański, J. Dereń, J. Haber, Nature 179 (1957) 668). This was one of the first experimental confirmations of the electron theory of catalysis in the world. His doctoral thesis 'A relationship between the electric conductivity of a working catalyst and its catalytic activity', accomplished at the age of 26, concerned the same subject.

In 1960-1961, he stayed as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bristol, where he undertook with Professor F. S. Stone a pioneering at that time research on the interpretation of photoadsorption and photocatalysis on the basis of the crystal field theory, the results of which have been quoted until today in the textbooks and monographs (J. Haber, F.S. Stone, Trans. Faraday Soc. 59 (1963) 19).

On his return to Poland, he continued his work at the AGH University of Technology until 1968 first as a research fellow and then as an associate professor. He was an excellent lecturer. His lectures on physical chemistry attracted crowds of students of various departments of the university.

In 1968, he was appointed director of an independent Laboratory of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry of Polish Academy of Sciences (since 1978, the Institute). The Institute was Jerzy Haber's life accomplishment. He masterminded the concept of creating a platform for a mutual exchange of ideas and research in the entire area of the physical chemistry of gas-solid, gas-liquid and solid-solid interfaces. He stood behind the spectacular development of the Institute which started in a few rented premises with 28 members of staff, including just 5 in catalysis sensu stricte, and attained during 30 years its own impressive building, unique research equipment and almost 100 members of staff, including 15 professors and associated professors, specialising in diverse aspects of catalysis, surface chemistry and colloids. In spite of difficult times of politically divided Europe, the Institute has become an element in the international research network, a place of free flow of ideas, open to contacts with the entire world, a true centre of excellence in its area.

At the Institute, Jerzy Haber initiated and developed broad research, both fundamental and applied, in diverse areas of heterogeneous and homogenous catalysis, as well as solid state chemistry applied to catalysis. In particular, his research concerned oxide systems - catalysts of the selective oxidation processes, as well as zeolites, catalysts based on metallo-organic complexes, and catalysts used in the environmental protection, to mention just the most important research directions.

The investigations have led to the formulation of a theory of catalytic oxidation of hydrocarbons and have introduced into the world literature the concept of electrophilic and nucleophilic oxidation. The classification revealed a correlation between the catalytic properties of transition metal oxides and their structure, and has become foundation of the science-based selection of the catalysts. Professor Haber demonstrated that the ability of oxides of transition metals of groups V - VII to add selectively oxygen atoms to the hydrocarbon chain of an organic molecule is linked with the phenomenon of crystal shearing. Investigations of single-crystal oxide catalysts have led to a general conclusion that the consecutive elementary steps of the catalytic reaction may proceed on different crystal faces (structure-sensitive reactions).

Jerzy Haber was first in the world to initiate research on the description of elementary steps of the reaction of catalytic oxidation of hydrocarbons using quantum chemical methods. They revealed that the reaction path depends on the orientation of reacting molecules one with respect to another and to the catalyst surface which undergoes restructuring.

The investigations on the homogenous reactions of hydrocarbon oxidation with the participation of transition metal porphyrins as model catalysts, allowed revealing role of the electron structure of transition metal ions as active centres for these reactions, and formulating the mechanism of initiation of the chain reactions and the chain development step.

Jerzy Haber was actively committed to organising research in Poland, among other by coordinating the national research programme in catalysis. Since 1971 he was full professor in chemical sciences, since 1973 a corresponding member and since1983 a full member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, since 1990 a member of the Presidium of the Academy, President of the Krakow Branch of the Academy since 2003, a full member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1991, the director of its Class of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, 1999-2008, a founding member of the Polish Club of Catalysis and its President, 1992-2007, a member of Research Council to the President of the Republic, 1991-95, a member of the Central Commission for Research Degrees, 1975-81 and 2000-06, and a member of the National Council of Environmental Protection, 1991-2002. For his research and administrative activity, he was awarded among others the doctorate honoris causa by the Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, the Research Prize of the Prime Minister, the Commander Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

Excellent erudition, organisational talents, fluency in several languages, friendly attitude to all, finally ease in establishing contacts and social skills made Jerzy Haber a valued member of many international bodies and a popular lecturer. He hold a number of functions in international institutions and organisations: among others President of the International Committee of Reactivity of Solids, 1976-84, Vice-President of the Commission on Colloid and Surface Chemistry Including Catalysis IUPAC, 1977-87, President of the Subcommittee of Catalysts Characterization IUPAC, 1978-90, President of the International Council of Catalysis, 1988-92 and Vice-President of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies, 1997-99. The French Chemical Society awarded him the Pierre et Marie Curie Prize and the German Society of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology - the medal of Alwin Mittasch. He was doctor honoris causa of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, member of the Academia Europea and the National Academy of Science of Ukraine. He received the Order of the Academic Palms of the French Republic.

Jerzy Haber was widely acclaimed in Poland and worldwide as author of scientific papers: he published nearly 530 original papers and 6 books, received more than 50 patents, presented 115 plenary and invited lectures at international congresses. He supervised 30 doctoral projects and was member of editorial boards of many scientific journals, including the most important ones for his research area: Journal of Catalysis (1976-82), Catalysis Reviews, Science and Engineering (1976-85), Reaction Kinetics and Catalysis Letters (od 1976), Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology (since 1979), Polish Journal of Applied Chemistry (since 1979), Revue de Chimie Minerale/European Journal of Solid State Chemistry/Solid State Sciences (since 1980), Applied Catalysis (1981-84), Bulletin of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Chemical Series (1981-2004), Reactivity of Solids (1985-90), Catalysis Letters (since 1987), Bulletin des Sociétés Chimiques Belges (1991-1997), Polish Journal of Chemistry (1992-1996), Comptes Rendus de l'Academie de Sciences, Paris (since 1998).

Citizen of the world, invited to congresses and meetings to all corners of the globe, visiting professor of the universities in Belgium, France, Japan and Canada, he remained during all his life closely linked to his native Poland and city of Krakow. Enthusiastic connoisseur of art and historic monuments, he initiated at his Institute modern research on the deterioration mechanisms and protection of historic objects and supported the activities of the Council of Environmental Protection in Krakow. A regular concert- and art exhibition-goer. From his travels all over the world, he was returning to his beautiful house in Krakow, garden, dogs, exquisite library, collection of prints and maps, with a professional collection of views of his city. Charming host of social meetings, possessing a rare talent of listening to the others. He is survived by his wife Hanna, an architect and art-lover, a constant companion in all his undertakings.



 Eric Gérard Joseph Derouane (1944-2008)

derouaneEric Derouane died on 17th March 2008 from a heart attack in his home in Luz, Lagos, Portugal. With him, the Catalysis Community has lost one of its strongest and brilliant scientists.

Born on 4th July 1944 at Péruwelz (Hainaut), Belgium, Eric Derouane obtained a Licence degree at the University of Liège, B (1965), a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Chemistry in Prof. J. Turkevich's laboratory at Princeton University, USA (1966) and a Doctorat ès Sciences (PhD) at the University of Liège, B (1968), under the supervision of Prof. Louis d'Or. He stayed one year (1966-1967) in France at the "Centre d'Etudes Nucléaires de Saclay, Service de Physique du Solide et de Résonance Magnétique" in Prof. A. Abragam's laboratory, and then in USA at Stanford University as visiting Scholar in Prof. M. Boudart's laboratory (1969-1970). He became Research Assistant of the "Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique" (FNRS) and Lecturer at the University of Liège, B (1969-1973). In 1973, he was appointed as Professor at the "Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix" (FUNDP) in Namur, B, where he established in 1976 and was Director of the Laboratory of Catalysis up to 1995. He was in 1979 in Sabbatical leave as Research Fellow with J. Sinfelt at Exxon Res. & Develop. Corp., Linden, NJ, USA, and in 1982-84 as Research Scientist, Head of Exploratory Catalysis Synthesis Group at Mobil Res. & Develop. Corp., Central Research Laboratory, Princeton, NJ, USA. In 1995, he left Namur, became Full Professor and was appointed, after Prof. J. Joyner, as Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Innovative Catalysis (LCIC) at the University of Liverpool until 2002. In 2003, he obtained the Gulbenkian Professorship at the University of Algarve at Faro, P, where he was Director of the Chemical Research Centre and became later Invited Professor at the "Instituto Superior Tecnico" (IST) of the Technical University of Lisbon, where he had extensive cooperation with the group led by Fernando Ramôa Ribeiro.

His main fields of interest dealt with catalysis over zeolites in general, supported metals, novel materials and mixed oxides in particular, and alkane upgrading and fine chemicals more specifically. One of Eric's most striking qualities was his acute interest for every new scientific discovery and development and for industrial applications of his findings.

Eric Derouane had a very high and tremendous working efficiency. He was always attracted by new concepts and had a very high intellectual mobility, being interested and quite active in many domains. Among them one can mention his interest in superconductors, in ZSM-5/MFI new zeolite in the early 70s, leading to a 30 year collaboration with J.C. Védrine, and in the concept and theory of confinement effect and molecular traffic control in porous materials, the study of the reaction mechanisms using isotopic labelling and in-situ MAS-NMR in the 80s, combinatorial catalysis and high throughput technology in the late 90s,.

During his 20 years of dedicated service at the University of Namur (FUNDP), Eric Derouane revealed his tremendous enthusiasm for new concepts and his vast intellectual flexibility. These ideas had an important impact on the catalysis and zeolite communities, and are still in use today. In 1986, he was elected as Head of the Chemistry Department, one of the largest departments of the University He then embarked upon an impressive re-structuring programme to improve the working and academic efficiency. The model, which he initiated, is still in service today within the Chemistry Department. The Laboratory of Catalysis, which he created, was recognized as an outstanding school of scientific research and training.

From early on, Eric Derouane realized the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. That is why he played a key role in the creation of the Institute for Studies in Interface Sciences (ISIS) at Namur in 1987. This institute assembled laboratories of physics and chemistry working on the interface science and materials related to zeolites and lasted 20 years. Eric Derouane also paid heed to technological transfer towards industries. After his experience gained through his sabbatical positions at the Exxon and at Mobil, he developed many collaborations with industrial partners, which were further enhanced by his serving as a consultant to industrial associates. Many companies benefited from his outstanding contributions. All these accomplishments constructed a solid basis for his future developments in Liverpool and in Faro.

At Liverpool, the aim of the LCIC was to promote creative fundamental catalytic science targeted at solving industrial challenges. Eric Derouane defined innovation as "the creation of a new or better product or process, implying creativity, usefulness, and application". Towards this end, the LCIC had industrial affiliates as partners for research and brought together physicists, material scientists, chemists, chemical engineers and biologists. It developed expertise in heterogeneous, homogeneous and biomimetic catalyses, as well as in catalytic surface science. Eric Derouane organized a scientific committee of international experts, including Professors M. Boudart, G. Froment, W. Keim, G. Somorjai, and Sir J.M. Thomas, to assess the laboratory's scientific achievements and ensure that the highest standards were maintained. Under his leadership the LCIC became an internationally renowned centre in catalysis research. It was the largest catalysis centre in the UK, bringing together industries such as Air Products, Astra Zeneca, British Petroleum, British Gas, Catalytica, Chiroscience, Eastman Chemicals, Glaxo-Wellcome, Haldor Topsoe SA, ICI, Johnson Matthey, Millennium Oil, Pfizer and Syntroleum to participate in highly creative projects via the Industrial Affiliation Scheme and the Fine Chemicals Forum.

At Liverpool, the LCIC became a centre of scientific exchanges and collaborations. Eric Derouane established links with many UK and international laboratories, including the "Institut de Recherches sur la Catalyse"(IRC, Lyon F), the Institute of Applied Catalysis (iAc, UK), the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis (Novosibirsk, RU), the Institute of Applied Catalysis (ACA, Berlin, D), the Fritz-Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society (Berlin, D), ICAT (Åhrus, DK), the Laboratory of Zeolite Catalysis (Lisbon, P) and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (China). Eric Derouane has created in 1997 an European Associated Laboratory "Laboratory for Innovative Catalysis" between LCIC/University of Liverpool and IRC/CNRS .

In 1999, he co-founded with Prof. Stan Roberts in 1999 and became director of the spin-off Liverpool-based company "Stylacats". Over the ensuing years Roy Hatton being the new director, he provided wise council to the Board and inventive ideas for the scientific team. The company pioneered many different technologies (catalysts for asymmetric hydrogenation, microwave-induced reactions, enzyme mimetics) before its assets were transferred to Phoenix Chemicals in 2004.

At the University of Faro, Eric Derouane led a research project, jointly with the Instituto Tecnico de Lisboa, on Friedel-Crafts reactions. With Fernando Ramôa Ribeiro's Zeolite group the collaboration included various joint research projects as well the co-organisation of a series of NATO Advanced Studies Institutes, on topics on catalysis ranging from the conversion of light alkanes to the use of high-throughput methodologies for the development of new catalysts and catalytic processes.

Eric Derouane also greatly contributed to the development and strengthening of the European catalysis community. First, he created in 1975 the European Association in Catalysis (EUROCAT), a consortium of European laboratories under the auspices of the Council of Europe and inspired them to work on the challenging problem of standardisation of catalyst characterisation: Euro-Pt1 to -Pt4, Euro-Ni1 & -Ni2, Eurocat zeolite, Eurocat oxides, etc. This Eurocat group paved the way to the creation of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS) and of the François Gault lectureship. He was elected President of EFCATS in 1995 for two years.

He became Editor-in-chief of J. Mol. Catal. in 1982 and was member of the Editorial Boards of many scientific journals and of scientific committees of many congresses and colloquia. He organized many congresses himself, such as the famous NATO ASI in Portugal, jointly with F. Lemos and F. Ramôa Ribeiro

Eric Derouane's contributions to catalysis have been recognised by many awards and academic honors, among them the Wauters Prize (1964), Mund Prize (1967) of the "Société Royale de Chimie", the Stas-Spring Prize (1971) and the Adolphe Wetrems Prize (1975) for the most significant Invention of the Year of the "Académie Royale de Belgique", the Rosetta Briegel-Barton Lecturership at the University of Oklahoma (1973), the Prize of the "Cercle of Alumni de la Fondation Universitaire de Belgique" (1980), the Ciapetta Lectureship of the North American Catalysis Society (1981), the Catalysis Lectureship of the Société Chimique de France (1993) and the prestigious Francqui Prize, B (1994), the highest honor for all Sciences in Belgium, etc.

He was made "Officier de l'Ordre Léopold" in Belgium (1990), corresponding Member of the "Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux Arts de Belgique" (1991), member of the "New York Academy of Sciences" and Associate Member of the "European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities". He was conferred Doctor Honoris Causa, Technical University of Lisbon (1996)

Throughout his whole career he had consulting activities for many companies such as Akzo Chemie, NL; BP Oil, UK; Catalytica, USA; Exxon Research & Engineering Co, USA; H. Topsoe SA, DK; Mobil Res. & Devel. Corp., USA; Petronas, Malaysia; PQ Corp. USA; Rhône Poulenc, F and Symyx, USA

He authored ca 400 scientific papers, co-authored 11 books and was designated inventor on 61 patents

Eric Derouane attracted many students and foreign scholars to his different laboratories in Namur, Liverpool and Faro. His energy, his clarity of mind and his very broad knowledge impressed his students, researchers and colleagues. He was an outstanding and demanding professor, always taking time to share his knowledge with his students and was highly respected by thousands of them. His courses were always clear, highly structured and easily understandable. He knew how to share his scientific passion with others, especially with young researchers. It was very often heard that his courses were not merely lectures, but outstanding performances, akin to a "theatrical show", which highlights his formidable teaching capacity. Among his former students and post-doc researchers, there are many scientists who today occupy key positions in universities, industries and different organizations. All of them will remember his brilliant and rigorous scientific approach, and no doubt they all will greatly miss him.

Jacques C. Védrine, Michel Che, Paris
Fernando Ramôa Ribeiro, Lisboa
Jianliang Xiao, Liverpool
Bao-Lian Su, Namur
21 April 2008