ChBE Seminar Series - Susannah Scott

In addition to its annual lectures, ChBE hosts a weekly seminar throughout the year with invited lecturers who are prominent in their fields. Unless otherwise noted, all seminars are held on Wednesdays in the Molecular Science and Engineering Building ("M" Building) in G011 (Cherry Logan Emerson Lecture Theater) at 4 p.m. Refreshments are served at 3:30 p.m. in the Emerson-Lewis Reception Salon.


Susannah Scott - University of California, Santa Barbara

Self-activating heterogeneous catalysis:  Insights from surface organometallic chemistry

Abstract: Operando characterization implies interrogation of catalysts while they are actively converting reactants to products; under these conditions, surface sites are transformed from the pre-catalyst state into active sites. Large-scale industrial processes for olefin oligomerization, metathesis and polymerization operate with heterogeneous catalysts consisting of a transition metal oxide dispersed on a mechanically robust support. An intriguing feature of these catalysts is their ability to generate organometallic active sites spontaneously, upon exposure to olefin in the reactor. The low fraction of sites that are activated makes them difficult to study directly, but it is possible to create kinetically competent models by combining organometallic and surface chemistry. We have used this approach to explore the effect of the support on the reactivity and stability of organochromium and organorhenium complexes, and compared them to the behavior of dispersed, self-activating forms of chromium and rhenium oxides.

Bio: Scott received her B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Alberta (Canada) in 1987, and her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Iowa State University in 1991, where she worked with J. Espenson and A. Bakac on the activation of O2 and organic oxidation mechanisms. She was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow with Jean-Marie Basset at the Institut de recherches sur la catalyse (CNRS) in Lyon, France, before joining the faculty of the University of Ottawa (Canada) in 1994 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. She held an NSERC Women's Faculty Award, a Cottrell Scholar Award, a Union Carbide Innovation Award and was named a Canada Research Chair in 2001. She moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2003, where she is currently holds the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Sustainable Catalysis, with joint faculty appointments as a Distinguished Professor in both Chemical Engineering and Chemistry & Biochemistry. She was recently appointed the Ipatieff Lecturer in Catalysis at Northwestern University for 2017. Her research interests include surface organometallic chemistry, olefin polymerization, nanomaterials, biomass conversion, environmental catalysis and the development of new kinetic and spectroscopic methods to probe reaction mechanisms at surfaces. Scott is an Associate Editor for the journal ACS Catalysis.


Event Details


  • Wednesday, March 15, 2017
    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Molecular Science and Engineering Building, G011
Phone: (404) 894-1838

For More Information Contact

Brad Dixon
Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
(404) 385-2299