Organization | Prof. Rutger van Santen

Prof. Rutger van Santen

Eindhoven University of Technology

Professor Rutger van Santen is Distinguished University Professor at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands).

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He studied chemistry at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands) and obtained his master degree in theoretical organic chemistry cum laude (highest degree) in 1967. After receiving his PhD also cum laude (highest degree) from the same university under the supervision of Professor Oosterhoff he did a postdoc at SRI International in Menlo Park (USA). Van Santen joined Shell in 1972 and worked in different functions at Shell Research Amsterdam. In 1976 he was a visiting professor at the Free University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). From 1982-1984 he was assigned to Shell Research Houston (USA). He became Professor Extra-ordinarius at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in 1986 and was promoted to full professor in 1988. Professor van Santen (co-) authored ~ 810 publications in peer-reviewed journals with an average number of citations per paper of ~ 30 and a Hirsch index of 75. Furthermore, he (co-) edited 17 books, authored 52 book chapters and holds 22 patents.

Professor van Santen has received many research awards and named lectureships, including the 1981 Gold Medal from the Royal Dutch Chemical Society (KNCV), the 1996 Chiapetta Lectureship from the North American Catalysis Society, the 1996 Bourke Lectureship from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the 1997 Spinoza Award from The Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO), the 1999 Gwathmey Distinguished Lectureship from the University of Virginia (USA), the 2000 Karl Ziegler Lectureship from the Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung (Germany), the 2001 Alwin Mittasch Medal of DECHEMA, the 2004 Miller Professorship from the University of California at Berkeley (USA), the 2009 Holst Award from TU/e and Philips Research and the 2010 Francois Gault Lectureship from the European Federation of Catalysis Societies (EFCATS). He received also an Honorary Doctorate from the National Ukrainian Technical University (Ukraine) in 1998 and was awarded the prestigious Academy Professorship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW).

One of the leading themes of Rutger van Santen’s research is to unravel the molecular mechanisms of heterogeneous catalytic reactions. He is considered one of the pioneers of the use of quantum-chemical methods in computational heterogeneous catalysis. His research efforts are summarized in two books: Theoretical Heterogeneous Catalysis (1991) and Molecular Heterogeneous Catalysis (2006, together with Professor Matt Neurock). The current status and past contributions of van Santen’s work have been published recently in a Festschrift (40 years of Catalysis Research, A Journey Through Chemical Complexity, 2012).

Van Santen is the founding and first scientific director of the Dutch Research School for Catalysis (NIOK, 1992-1999) and of the National Research School Combination Catalysis (NRSC-C, 1998-2001, 2005-2013). Van Santen is also an elected member of The Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (2007-onwards), elected member of KNAW (2001-onwards), fellow of the RSC (2009-onwards) and visiting fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies of TU Munich (Germany). He is foreign member of the National Academy of Engineering (USA). Van Santen serves on several International Boards and panels for research, and has been Rector Magnificus of TU/e (2001-2005), chairman of the KNCV (2002) and the SON/CW (NWO) Board (1991-1995).