University of Pittsburgh
November 20, 2006

Pitt Professor John T. Yates Jr. Receives Prestigious ACS Award

Peter Debye Award-the fifth award Yates has received from ACS-is given for outstanding research in physical chemistry
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PITTSBURGH-John T. Yates Jr., the University of Pittsburgh R.K. Mellon Professor of Chemistry and Physics and founding director of Pitt's University Surface Science Center, has been awarded the 2007 Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry, to be presented at the Spring 2007 American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting. This is Yates' fifth ACS award.

Among Yates' research highlights are his surface chemistry studies and the use of single-walled carbon nanotubes as tiny test tubes. He and his research group have developed new surface measurement techniques and are using these techniques to study molecular processes on metal, semiconductor, and insulator surfaces. Yates has examined the molecular structure and chemical reactivity of surface species, as applied to corrosion prevention, catalysis, semiconductor processing, and nanotechnology.

"I am, of course, pleased to be recognized by this award for work done at Pitt by my excellent students and postdocs," says Yates. "I also am pleased that the field of surface chemistry has been recognized by this award in physical chemistry-only the second time in the long history of the award."

After 25 years with Pitt, Yates will join the University of Virginia on Jan. 1, 2007, as a professor and Shannon Fellow in the Department of Chemistry. He will continue to work within the area of surface chemistry, as well as explore the new field of astrochemistry, which examines the way molecules in space are synthesized. At the request of N. John Cooper, dean of Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences, Yates will remain chair of the Research Advisory Committee of Pitt's Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering, a position for which he will return to Pitt on a monthly basis.

Prior to joining Pitt, Yates earned the B.S. degree in chemistry at Juniata College in 1956 and the Ph.D. degree in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960. He was a member of the scientific staff of the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., for 19 years, where he was a leader in surface science research; in 1982, he was recruited by Pitt to establish and head its new University Surface Science Center.

Yates' myriad awards include the Kendall Award in Surface Chemistry, 1986; the President's Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh, 1989; the M.W. Welch Award, 1994; the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, 1995; and the Adamson Award in Surface Chemistry, 1999. He is a member of several leading scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences.

Established in 1960, the Debye Award has been sponsored by the E.I. De Pont de Nemours & Company since 1979. The ACS gives the annual award of $5,000 to encourage and reward outstanding research in physical chemistry.