Press release ¤ Information de presse

Jan 18, 2017

Double award in anniversary year 2017: Alwin Mittasch Prize goes to Great Britain and China

In 2017 the Alwin Mittasch Prize goes to two scientists. This prestigious award will be shared equally by Professor David Cole-Hamilton, University of St. Andrews/UK, for his pioneering work aimed at a better understanding of molecular catalysis and its industrial application, and Professor Xinhe Bao, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, China, for his contribution to the development of novel catalysis concepts for methane and syngas conversion.

The Alwin Mittasch Prize is awarded for distinguished work that has not only extended the fundamentals of catalysis, but also found exemplary application in industry. The Prize is conferred by the German Catalysis Society (GeCatS) and DECHEMA e.V. (Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology). It is worth 10,000 euros and is donated by BASF SE. The award ceremony will take place on 16 March 2017 during the 50th Annual Meeting of German Catalysis Scientists in Weimar.

David Cole-Hamilton has worked in the field of organometallic and homogeneous catalysis for over 35 years. He has published numerous studies documenting his development of selective carbonylation reactions and multiphase reactions with special emphasis given to the industrial application of his results, which is reflected in a large number of patents. Another priority is the use of novel solvents, such as supercritical fluids and ionic liquids, and also biphasic reactions with an aqueous phase. The key role played by catalyst recovery in his reaction systems has concomitantly triggered advances in the area of sustainable chemistry.

Xinhe Bao is one of the world’s most renowned scientists in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. A particular focus of his work is the elucidation and development of catalytic conversions using nanoporous materials. On the basis of mechanistic investigations he has most notably developed concepts for the conversion of methane and syngas to high-value chemicals, such as aromatic compounds, and the conversion of methane to olefins, which is often regarded as the ‘Holy Grail’ of catalysis. Numerous patents and industrial partnerships testify to the practical relevance of his research.

Born in 1948, David Cole-Hamilton studied chemistry at Edinburgh University where he received his doctorate. Following a post-doctoral post at Imperial College in London, he was a lecturer at the University of Liverpool. In 1985 he was appointed Irvine Professor for Chemistry and, in 2015, Emeritus Professor at the University of St. Andrews. His work has spawned around 400 publications and patents. The list of his scientific awards ranges from the Museums and Galleries Commission Award for Innovation in Conservation to the BP Chemicals Prize for Best Teacher in the Honours Classes to numerous lectureships and visiting professorships; in addition, he holds many national and international honorary offices.

Xinhe Bao studied chemistry at Fudan University where he obtained his doctorate in 1987. From 1989 to 1991 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society where he subsequently worked as a visiting scientist until 1995. On returning to China he was appointed to a professorship at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics where, from 2000 to 2007, he additionally held the position of Director. He has been Executive Vice-President of Fudan University since 2015. Xinhe Bao has published over 600 scientific papers and is the recipient of many awards and honours. He holds numerous honorary offices; he is currently President of the Chinese Society of Catalysis.

The German Catalysis Society (GeCatS) is the platform for the entire German catalysis community in the area of research and application. Currently it has around 1100 members from academia and industry. The German Catalysis Society is supported by DECHEMA, VDI-GVC, GDCh, DGMK and DBG. The Alwin Mittasch Prizeis generally awarded every three years. The Prize is awarded for outstanding achievements that make both a scientific and an industrial impact in the field of catalysis.


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