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Tobin Marks to Receive Dreyfus Prize Medal, Deliver Public Talk on Catalysis

Northwestern University chemist and materials scientist Tobin J. Marks will receive the 2011 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences at an award ceremony to be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, on the Evanston campus. The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation in May named Marks as the recipient of the biennial prize, this year conferred in catalysis.

He is only the second recipient of the Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences. The inaugural prize, in the field of materials chemistry, was awarded to George Whitesides of Harvard University in 2009.

The medal ceremony, which is open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. in the Ryan Family Auditorium of the Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road. As part of the event, Marks will deliver a lecture titled “Catalysis at the Intersection of Chemistry, Materials Science and Biology.”

Marks is the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and Weinberg Dean Sarah Mangelsdorf will join Dreyfus Foundation representatives in making remarks at the ceremony and honoring Marks prior to his lecture.

Catalysis -- the acceleration of a chemical reaction by a substance (catalyst) that remains unchanged through the reaction -- underpins a large component of the economies of the industrialized world. Exquisitely engineered catalysts are used to produce fertilizers, fuels, plastics and pharmaceuticals on a huge scale.  

Researchers in the field of modern catalysis strive to understand how catalysts work at the level of atomic reorganizations and to design ever more efficient, selective and environmentally friendly new catalysts and catalytic processes. In his talk, Marks, a world leader in chemical catalysis, will discuss current advances in catalytic research, including those that have taken place at Northwestern, and speculate on the field’s future.

The event will close with a brief question-and-answer session.

Read story on Tobin Marks in The Wall Street Journal.

- Megan Fellman, University Relations