Beatriz Roldán Cuenya wins Paul H. Emmett Award

November 05, 2020
The Director of the Interface Science Department has been announced as the 2022 winner of the Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis by the North American Catalysis Society.

Every two years, the North American Catalysis Society (NACS) honours up to two researchers that have contributed to the field of catalysis, with emphasis on discovery and understanding of catalytic phenomena, reaction mechanisms and identification of catalytic descriptors. In addition, the Paul H. Emmett Award is given to researchers below the age of 46, and thus pays tribute to fast advancing scientific careers. The list of awardees counts many distinguished scientists such as Gábor A. Somorjai of Berkeley University (1977) and Nobel Laureate Gerhard Ertl (1979), long-time director of the Fritz Haber Institute.

The NACS President has recently announced the winners for 2021 and 2022: Professor Thomas Jaramillo of Stanford University and Professor Beatriz Roldán Cuenya of the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society. Jingguang Chen, the president of the North American Catalysis Society, has included the following statement in his announcement of the winners:

“Professor Roldan has made exceptional contributions to the mechanistic understanding of thermal and electro-catalytic reactions based on the use of well-defined nanostructured materials combined with advanced in situ and operando microscopic and spectroscopic characterization. Her challenging experimental catalytic [catalysis] research has greatly advanced our fundamental knowledge of how geometric and electronic properties influence the catalytic performance. In particular, she has provided insight into re-utilization of CO2 through its thermal or electrochemical conversions to higher value chemicals and fuels such as methanol, ethylene, or ethanol. A highlight of her research program are studies featuring the dynamic nature of nanocatalysts under reaction conditions using synchrotron-based operando spectroscopy and diffraction methods combined with environmental transmission electron microscopy. She has pioneered the combination of colloidal chemistry approaches and electrochemical synthesis for the preparation of model catalytically active materials, and their chemical functionalization and restructuring using plasma treatments. Overall, her work has served to bridge the gap between surface science and “real” catalysis by creating scalable ex situ synthesis approaches leading to monodispersed nanomaterials and exposing them to in depth physico-chemical characterization under realistic reaction conditions. Her research will help to guide the rational design of the next generation of catalysts based on atomistic understanding.”

Prof. Roldán is delighted about winning this important award. “It is a great honor for me to be the second German winner in the history of this prestigious award. The fact that Gerhard Ertl was the first is very special – he is a role model scientist and director here at the Fritz Haber Institute.”

The award is endowed with $5,000 and a plaque. The plaque will be presented during the closing banquet ceremonies at the next North American Meeting of the Catalysis Society (NAM27 in New York City). Both awardees will also present a Plenary Lecture.

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