Bruce Gates Recipient of Michel Boudart Award for Advances in Catalysis

DAVIS, Calif.; April 04, 2017 – Dr. Bruce C. Gates, distinguished professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis, was recently announced as the recipient of the 2017 Michel Boudart Award for Advances in Catalysis for his pioneering contributions to the field.

The award recognizes the development of new methods or concepts that advance the understanding and practice of catalysis on a global scale. Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions, and most biological and industrial reactions are catalytic. Catalysts lower production costs, save energy, and reduce waste and pollution.

Gates is widely respected as one of the most influential researchers in catalysis. His recent work has resulted in unprecedented advances in the understanding of the structure and performance of solid catalysts at the molecular scale, and his research group’s skills in precise synthesis have resulted in well-defined new families of catalysts. These advances will help industry and academic researchers better understand the capabilities of existing catalysts and identify new ones.

In 1992, Gates joined the faculty at UC Davis after 23 years at the University of Delaware, where he served as the director of the Center for Catalytic Science and Technology from 1981–88. During his time at UC Davis, Gates has played a key role in developing catalysis research and continues to work with graduate and postdoctoral researchers at the college.

Gates was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2007 for his scholarship on catalysis, including work on supported molecular catalysts and innovative research on hydroprocessing. His research led to a fundamental understanding of the reactions of “bottleneck” compounds in heavy oils and efficient processes for their removal by catalytic hydroprocessing. This research resulted in significant improvements in air quality by reducing sulfur oxide emissions from vehicles and power plants. During his induction into the Academy, Gates was lauded for his exemplary leadership in collaborative university and industry research and for his role in educating two generations of catalytic scientists and industrial practitioners.

Dr. Bruce C. Gates, distinguished professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis. Sean M. Ayres/UC Davis

In 2009, Gates was awarded the North American Catalysis Society’s Robert Burwell Lectureship Award in Catalysis, a distinction honoring individuals for significant contributions in catalysis research. He has contributed hundreds of scientific publications and authored teaching texts used in classrooms around the world. Gates was the editor of the monograph Advances in Catalysis from 1995 until 2014; he remains active on many editorial boards and advisory committees.

Gates earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkley in 1961 and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1966.

The Michel Boudart Award is given biennially and will be presented to Gates in June at the North American Catalysis Society Meeting in Denver, CO, and in August at the European Federation of Catalysis Societies Meeting in Florence, Italy.