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Source: L.T. Fan, 785-532-4327, fan@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Mary Rankin, 785-532-6715, mrankin@k-state.edu

Friday, March 25, 2011

ENGINEERING CHANGE: BERKELEY EXPERT TO DISCUSS CATALYSTS, CHEMICAL REACTIONS IN L.T. FAN LECTURE

MANHATTAN -- A chemical engineer who is internationally recognized for devising new catalysts to protect the environment will discuss his work as part of Kansas State University's L.T. Fan Lecture Series.

Alexis T. Bell, Dow Professor of Sustainable Chemistry in the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, will present "Using Theory and Experiments to Understand the Mechanism and Kinetics of Catalyzed Reactions" at 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 4, in the Fiedler Hall Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bell studies catalysts and how their molecular structure affects the efficiency of chemical reactions. Catalysts are essential materials for facilitating chemical reactions involved in the production of fuels, chemicals, polymers and pharmaceuticals. The addition of theory as a tool for investigating structure-property relationships in catalysis has come as a result of development of efficient algorithms and methods for carrying out quantum chemical calculations coupled with advances in the speed and architecture of computers. Bell's talk will illustrate how theory can contribute to the understanding of both homogeneously and heterogeneously catalyzed reactions.

Bell is known for his research in the field of heterogeneous catalysis and is recognized as one of the leaders in applying in situ spectroscopic methods and advanced theoretical methods to study the mechanism and kinetics of catalyzed reactions. This work provides a basis for understanding the relationships between catalyst structure and the dynamics of elementary processes at a fundamental level. Results of his research have been published in more than 570 articles in refereed journals.

He earned a doctor of science in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A member of the Berkeley faculty since 1967, he served as chair of the department of chemical engineering from 1981 to 1991 and 2005 to 2006, and was dean of the College of Chemistry from 1994 to 1999. He is also editor for Catalysis Reviews and chair of the editorial board for Chemical Engineering Science. Bell's research contributions have received awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Chemical Society and the North American Catalysis Society. He also has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science.

The L.T. Fan Lectureship in Chemical Engineering was established in 2000 to bring preeminent individuals in chemical engineering or related fields to speak at K-State. L.T. Fan, a university distinguished professor of chemical engineering, served as head of the department of chemical engineering at K-State for 30 years and was fundamental in establishing the Institute for Systems Design and Optimization, launching the department's doctoral program, and modernizing the chemical engineering curriculum. He also was instrumental in forming the Center for Hazardous Substance Research and securing funding for construction of Durland Hall. He continues to be active in teaching and research, for which he has received numerous awards.