News in brief: The Ipatieff Lab. and the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science at Northwestern University

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The Ipatieff Laboratory and the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science at Northwestern University have their origin in September 1930 when Vladimir Nikolayevitch Ipatieff and Herman Pines met for the first time. The second V. N. Ipatieff Professor was Robert L. Burwell, Jr, who was noted for his sharp analysis of reaction mechanisms using the arsenal of modern methods including isotopic labeling. The H/D exchange of hydrocarbons such as cyclopentane over a metal catalyst showed the modes of adsorption with one or more carbon atoms forming bonds to the surface atoms of the metal catalyst. When Burwell reached the mandatory retirement age, Northwestern University, in consultation with representatives of the oil industry, decided to build a new center devoted to catalysis and surface science. Wolfgang Sachtler had devoted more than three decades of his life to fundamental research in heterogeneous catalysis and surface science at the Royal/Shell laboratory in Amsterdam and at the National University of Leyden. In 1993, Harold Kung became Center Director when Wolfgang Sachtler stepped down. Kung identified "Environmental Catalysis", primarily the treatment of vehicle emissions, as significant opportunity for focused research by the Center.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Specialist publicationCATTECH
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this