Northwestern University Chemist Receives Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences

May 5, 2011

NEW YORK, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation www.dreyfus.org announced today that Tobin J. Marks, the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry, and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University, is the recipient of the 2011 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences, conferred this year in catalysis. Marks was cited for the development of major new industrial catalysts and the fundamental understanding of their chemical structures and mechanisms of action. The Dreyfus prize recognizes exceptional and original research in a selected area of chemistry that has advanced the field in major ways. The prize consists of a monetary award of $250,000, a citation, and a medal.

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Catalysts accelerate the creation of molecules or materials without being consumed. This process, called catalysis, is widespread in chemistry and essential to all living organisms. Catalysis ranges in scope from the actions of enzymes in biology to enabling the synthesis of therapeutic drugs to the production of coatings, fertilizers, and plastics on a huge scale. Catalysis underlies many aspects of the energy industry and makes the creation of new materials practical.

Marks has been a world leader in the understanding and development of new catalysts that enable the production of recyclable, environmentally friendly, and sustainably produced plastics and elastomeric materials. His research has resulted in a far deeper understanding of the requirements to make and break specific chemical bonds, thus giving scientists the ability to design new catalytic processes. His work has directly led to multi-billion dollar industrial processes. Marks has also demonstrated how metals from unusual parts of the periodic table, such as the rare earth elements, can be used as efficient catalysts with minimal formation of undesired by-products. Enormous savings in energy and scarce resources have been directly attributed to the fundamental knowledge and processes that have resulted from Marks’s catalysis research.

“I am delighted and humbled to receive this recognition from the Dreyfus Foundation, which honors the research that my students, colleagues, and I together have accomplished. Over the years, the Dreyfus Foundation has played a key role in promoting the chemical enterprise and in helping new university faculty launch their careers in research and education. Indeed, as a junior faculty member, I was thankful to receive a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award at a critical time,” said Tobin Marks. “The coming decades will present mankind with technical challenges threatening our quality of life. I believe that chemistry offers defining concepts and tools, and hence limitless opportunities, to better human life in many ways.”

Tobin Marks holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from MIT. He has been on the Northwestern faculty since 1970. His research accomplishments have been recognized worldwide. These include the nation’s highest scientific honors, the U.S. National Medal of Science, and election into the National Academy of Sciences, as well as awards from Portugal, the UK, Germany, Israel, Spain, and India.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, based in New York, is a leading non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences. It was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor, and businessman Camille Dreyfus, who directed that the Foundation’s purpose be “to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances.”

SOURCE The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Source: newswire

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