This fall, ChEnected is introducing readers to the recipients of AIChE’s 2020 Institute and Board of Directors’ Awards, which are AIChE’s highest honors. Recipients are nominated by the chemical engineering community and voted on by the members of AIChE’s volunteer-led Awards Committee. These awards recognize outstanding achievements and world-class contributions across a spectrum of chemical engineering endeavors.
The R. H. Wilhelm Award for Chemical Reaction Engineering
The R. H. Wilhelm Award for Chemical Reaction Engineering recognizes significant new contributions in that field, and is sponsored by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company.
The 2020 recipient of the R. H. Wilhelm Award is Jingguang Chen, Department Chair and Thayer Lindsley Professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University.
Dr. Chen is being honored “for advancing the frontiers of understanding and applications of carbide and bimetallic materials in catalysis and electrocatalysis through original and creative research.” His research group has provided enabling concepts and experimental evidence that bridges the gaps in materials and surface coverages among heterogeneous catalysis, surface science studies, and industrial practice.
About this year's winner
After starting his career as a staff scientist at Exxon Corporate Research Laboratories, Dr. Chen moved to academia at the University of Delaware, where he was the Claire LeClaire Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Center for Catalytic Science and Technology. At Columbia, Chen’s research activities include mechanistic studies of metal carbides and nitrides as low-cost catalysts in thermocatalysis and electrocatalysis, application of chemical engineering principles for catalytically converting CO2 to value-added chemicals, and utilization and promotion of synchrotron techniques for in-situ catalyst characterization under reaction conditions. He has documented his work in 340 journal publications and 23 U.S. patents.
Dr. Chen holds a joint appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He is also the co-founder and team leader of the Synchrotron Catalysis Consortium (SCC), which provides assistance and training to the catalysis community in the use of synchrotron techniques. To date the SCC has trained more than 1,000 student and postdoctoral users. Chen is also President of the North American Catalysis Society and an associate editor of ACS Catalysis.
He received his bachelor's degree from Nanjing University and the China-USA Chemistry Graduate Fellowship for graduate studies in the U.S. He went on to earn his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, and then carried out his Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral research at KFA Jülich in Germany.
The R. H. Wilhelm Award is graciously sponsored by Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Company.