2012 John Bercaw, Caltech

Recipient of the 2012 Richard C. Tolman Award
John Bercaw, California Institute of Technology

John Bercaw received his B. S. degree from North Carolina State University in 1967, his Ph. D. from the University of Michigan in 1971, and undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago. He joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology as an Arthur Amos Noyes Research Fellow in 1972, and in 1974 he joined the professorial ranks, becoming Professor of Chemistry in 1979. From 1985 to 1990 he was the Shell Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and in 1993 he was named Centennial Professor of Chemistry. Bercaw has been a Seaborg Scholar at Los Alamos National Laboratory (2004), the Robert Burns Woodward Visiting Professor at Harvard University (1999), The George F. Baker Lecturer at Cornell University (1993), Visiting Miller Professor at the University of California, Berkeley (1990), and a Royal Society of Chemistry Guest Research Fellow at Oxford University (1989-1990). From 2009-2012 he was also KFUPM Visiting Chair Professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He has served on numerous panels for the Department of Energy and the National Research Council, and beginning in 1999 has been a member of the Science and Technology Committees for national laboratories: Los Alamos National Security and Lawrence Livermore National Security.

Bercaw is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1986), a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1990), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991), and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Chicago in 2001. He has received the American Chemical Society awards in Pure Chemistry (1980), for Organometallic Chemistry (1990), for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry (1997), the George A. Olah Award for Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry (1999), and an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (2000). He held the Sir Edward Frankland Prize Lectureship of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1992, received the Basolo Medal (Northwestern, 2005), and the Bailar Medal (University of Illinois, 2003).

His research interests are in synthetic, structural and mechanistic organotransition metal chemistry. Investigations include catalysts for polymerization of olefins, investigations of hydrocarbon hydroxylation with transition metal complexes, and the development of catalysts for syngas and light alkane conversions to chemicals and fuels. He has published over 285 peer-reviewed scientific articles.


Tolman Award Dinner Meeting

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Athenaeum
551 S. Hill Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91106

“Hydrocarbon Upgrading to Fuels and Chemicals: Progress towards Homogeneous Catalysts”

John Bercaw,
2012 Tolman Award Recipient
Centennial Professor of Chemistry
California Institute of Technology

Abstract: Current technologies for conversion of natural gas and petroleum to fuels and commodity chemicals are energy intensive and polluting. New catalytic processes that are more efficient and “greener” are required to reduce CO2 emissions and to more effectively utilize our fossil fuel reserves. Fundamental research efforts directed towards developing (1) a selective, homogeneous catalyst for direct, partial oxidation of light alkanes, and (2) a homogeneous catalyst system for converting syngas (a mixture of CO and H2), obtained by steam reforming of light alkanes, to Cn>1 products will also be discussed.

Reservations: There is a garlic roasted chicken dinner. Vegetarian meal is available upon request. The cost is $50 which includes the hosted social hour, the meal, wine with dinner and valet parking. Please call Nancy Paradiso in the Section Office at (310) 327 – 1216 or email office@scalacs.org by Monday, April 15, 2013.

Directions: A map and directions are available on the Athenaeum website: https://www.athenaeumcaltech.com