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Harold Kung Named to Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship

April 20, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Harold H. Kung, professor of chemical and biological engineering at the Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been awarded the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship.

He is the fourth scholar to receive the Ver Steeg Fellowship, the University's first endowed award for excellence in research by a faculty member.

Kung is a world leader in the field of heterogeneous catalysis research and the development of novel materials and processes. He applies his expertise to the critical areas of sustainability, renewable energy and environmental chemistry.

Currently Kung and his research group are focused on the synthesis of novel nanomaterials for catalytic applications to minimize energy consumption and environmental impact and on new lithium-ion battery technologies, such as new forms of electrodes for improved electrical energy storage.

During his career Kung has made significant contributions in various areas of heterogeneous catalysis, starting with seminal work that demonstrated the relationship between surface atomic structures of an oxide and its chemical and catalytic properties. He has led the field in studying oxide-based catalysts for the removal of the atmospheric pollutant nitric oxide by reduction with hydrocarbons in an oxidizing atmosphere. More recently, Kung became the first to synthesize an internally functionalized hollow nanosphere that can be used to trap and bind molecules and metal complexes.

Kung has brought his interest in pressing societal issues into the classroom with a course for engineering and science students, "Sustainability, Technology and Society," which emphasizes interaction among technology, human behavior, policy and business strategy and practice. He is developing a new course, "Energy for a Sustainable Future," which will be offered to students across the University.

Kung was one of the drivers behind the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, which was established last year. He is director of the Center of Energy Efficient Transportation, which is dedicated to developing the science base and technology to achieve sustainable energy-efficient transportation systems.

Kung served as director of the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (1993-1997) and chair of the department of chemical engineering (1986-1992). He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Cross-Canada Lectureship from the Catalysis Division of the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Robert Burwell Lectureship of the North American Catalysis Society, the Herman Pines Award from the Chicago Catalysis Club and the Paul H. Emmett Award from the Catalysis Society.

Initiated in 2006 when the Ver Steegs established and endowed the prize, the Ver Steeg award provides the recipient with a research grant of $30,000. Clarence Ver Steeg was a faculty member in the department of history from 1950 until 1992 and served as dean of The Graduate School from 1975 to 1986.

The previous Ver Steeg award winners are J. Larry Jameson, M.D., vice president for medical affairs
 and Lewis Landsberg Dean,
 Feinberg School of Medicine; Barbara Newman, professor of English, religion and classics and John Evans Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; and George C. Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, Weinberg College, and professor of chemical and biological engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The Provost identifies a broad academic field each year as the area from which nominations are solicited from school deans. Provost Daniel Linzer said, "The Ver Steeg award is designed to support the research of a tenured Northwestern faculty member whose research and scholarship are so outstanding as to enhance the reputation of Northwestern, nationally and internationally."
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