Meeting/Event Information

    Gibbs Award Ceremony: John E. Bercaw, "Hydrocarbon Upgrading to Fuels and Chemicals: Progress towards Homogeneous Catalysts"

    May 16, 2014
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
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    Meridian Banquets
    1701 Algonquin Rd
    Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

    gibbs_medalEvery year* since 1911 the Chicago Section of the ACS awards the gold Willard Gibbs Medal to the most outstanding chemist of our day. We cordially invite you to join us for the premier event of our calendar, where we will give the 2014 Willard Gibbs Award to Caltech Professor John E. Bercaw...

    For path-breaking advances in inorganic and organometallic chemistry related to the elucidation of olefin polymerization and hydrocarbon oxidation mechanisms and development of early metal polymerization catalysts.

    Reflecting the very high prestige of this award, the gala reception and ceremony will feature luminaries from the National ACS, including the Chair, Secretary, new President-Elect among others. Guests will include brilliant past Gibbs Medalists and others among the sharpest minds in chemistry. This highly-concentrated gathering of talent is a tremendous opportunity to meet leaders of the chemical enterprise.

     Please register by 12:30 PM Thursday, June 15


    • 6:00 PM · Reception with live music, hors d'oeuvres, and 2 complimentary drinks 
    • 7:00 PM · Dinner 
    • 8:30 PM · ACS Award Ceremony
      • A History of the Willard Gibbs Award 
        - Dr. Josh Kurutz, Chair of the Chicago Section
      • Introducing Professor Bercaw 
        - Prof. Tom Driver, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
      • Presentation of the Medal 
        - Dr. Diane Grob Schmidt, President-Elect of the American Chemical Society
    • 8:45 PM · Gibbs Award Lecture by Prof Bercaw 

    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.  Discussed will be fundamental research efforts directed towards developing (1) a selective, homogeneous catalyst for direct, partial oxidation of light alkanes, (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, and (3) a catalytic tandem olefin dimerization/hydrogen transfer scheme for upgrading light alkane/alkene mixtures to transportation fuels. 

    music notemusic noteThe reception will feature live violin and piano music performed by Boris and Alla Gorelik, world-class classically trained duet.

    We are pleased to acknowledge the sponsorship of ExxonMobil for helping make this event special.



    • Cream of Tomato Basil with Bleu Cheese
    • Meridian Salad
    • Wine
    • a choice of
      • Roast Top Sirloin of Beef with rosemary merlot sauce
      • Fresh Broiled Norwegian Salmon with dill sauce
      • Portobello Mushroom with zucchini
    • Green Beans Almondine
    • Duchess Potato
    • Hot Fudge Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce



    John Bercaw received his B. S. degree from North Carolina State University in 1967, his Ph. D. from the University of Michigan in 1971, then 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 weapons 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), the Bailar Medal (University of Illinois, 2003), and the Tolman Medal (Southern California Section of the ACS, 2013).

    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 almost 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

    * except 1922. See the wikipedia entry:

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    $50.00 Member ticket

    $52.00 Non-member admission