With the grant, Wachs will research energy-related topics

Israel E. Wachs, the G. Whitney Snyder Professor in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at Lehigh University, has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship to study at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel during the spring semester of the 2018-19 academic year.

Wachs becomes P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science’s first recipient of two such awards. In the 2004-05 academic year, he received a Fulbright to research catalysis at Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

With this latest honor, Rossin College now counts nine Fulbright scholars to its credit.

The highly competitive fellowship aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and Israel through the exchange of students, teachers and research scholars. The country of Israel awarded only eight fellowships covering all academic disciplines, making Wach's award in the science and engineering category especially rare.

“The research in Argentina focused on the synthesis and characterization of model mixed metal oxide compounds for catalytic oxidation reactions,” explained Wachs. “The collaborative studies were able to successfully establish the structure-performance properties of the investigated mixed metal oxide catalysts.”

In his latest research, Wachs will join professors Gideon Grader and Oz Gazit from the chemical engineering department at Technion. The trio will collaborate on energy-related research topics – for example, the development of a non-carbon fuel source based on a sustainable ammonia cycle and the upgrade of natural gas to chemicals and fuels.

Wachs has earned worldwide recognition for his heterogeneous catalysis research and for his modern approach to establishing fundamental relationships between surface structure and kinetic activity for metal oxides catalysts. He is also well known for his pioneering work on mixed oxides, having established a world-class catalysis research laboratory at Lehigh. His work focuses on mixed oxide catalytic materials and their characterization under reaction conditions.

“I very much look forward to collaborating with Professors Grader and Gazit,” said Wachs, “and the challenges I will encounter during the execution of this exciting research.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on academic and professional achievements, as well as demonstrated leadership in their fields.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education, and many other disciplines. Fifty-three Fulbright alumni from 12 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 82 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.

-Story by Mary Anne Lynch '16G