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Distinguished Su Lectureship

Su image

With the establishment of the Su Conference Room and the Su Distinguished Lecture Series, the University of Rochester joins the Su family in honoring Professor Su's long and distinguished career in Chemical Engineering and the spirit with which he pursued it.

For more information see about the lectureship below.

The 18th G.J. and S.T. Su Distinguished LectureshipProf. Bell

Professor Alexis Bell, University of California, Berkeley

Date: March 17, 2021 @ 3:25pm

Lecture: Zoom Meeting 

 Research Interests

Understanding the fundamental relationships between the structure and composition of heterogeneous catalysts and their performance.

Professor Bell studies reaction mechanisms in order to identify factors limiting the activity and selectivity of catalysts. Reaction systems being investigated by his group include the synthesis of oxygenated compounds from COx (x = 1, 2), the conversion of alkanes to olefins and oxygenated products under oxidizing conditions, and the reduction of nitric oxide under oxidizing conditions. The objectives of his program are pursued through a combination of experimental and theoretical methods. Spectroscopic techniques, including IR, Raman, NMR, UV-Visible, and EXAFS, are used to characterize catalyst structure and adsorbed species under actual conditions of catalysis. Isotopic tracers and temperature-programmed desorption and reaction techniques are used to elucidate the pathways via which catalyzed reactions occur. Quantum chemical calculations are conducted to define the structure and energetics of adsorbed species and the pathways by which such species are transformed. The combined use of theory and experimental methods enables the attainment of a deeper understanding of the core issues of interest than can be achieved by the use of either approach alone.


  • Faculty Senior Scientist, LBNL
  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1964)
  • Sc.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1967)
  • Curtis W. McGraw Award for Research, American Association of Engineering Education
  • The Professional Progress and R. H. Wilhelm Awards, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis, Catalysis Society
  • National Academy of Engineering (1987)
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1988)
  • the ACS Award for Creative Research in Homogeneous or Heterogeneous Catalysis, ACS (2001)
  • Honorary Professor, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2001)
  • William H. Walker Award of the AIChE (2005)
  • Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2007)

About the Lectureship

100th anniversary emblem.

In honor of Professor Gouq-Jen Su (1908-1996). Professor Su lived a long and productive life, dedicated to the pursuit of ideas and ideals. He was born in 1908 in Fukien, a coastal province in the southern region of China. He attended a Northern Baptist missionary school as a teenager. In 1931, at the age of 23, Professor Su graduated from Tsing Hua University in Peking. In 1934, Gouq-Jen Su was one of the several college graduates selected, through a nation-wide examination, to further his studies at the graduate level, in the United States. That summer, he journeyed to MIT to continue his studies and, in three years, received his D.Sc. degree.

During World War II, Dr. Su served for four years as chairman of the Chemical Engineering Department at Tsing Hua University. He helped design and operate an alcohol fermentation plant and a sugar refinery in Kunming. The alcohol produced was mixed with gasoline and was utilized as liquid fuel for U.S. Army motor vehicles traveling on the Burma Road, some forty years ahead of gasohol.

Professor Su joined our faculty at the University of Rochester in 1947 and retired in 1974, though continuing as Emeritus for the remainder of his life. Over his active fifty-year career, Professor Su supervised 33 master's students and 15 doctoral students. Among his numerous publications, his outstanding papers on applied thermodynamics have been widely cited and are considered landmarks in the field. He proposed a modified form of the van der Waals Law of Corresponding States. Every thermodynamics textbook, to this day, contains his generalized equations of state for real gases.

Shou-Tsung Su grew up and was schooled in a family complex which is now a National Museum and was the location for the movie “Raise the Red Lantern”.  She left home to attend Nankai High School in Tianjin and was one of a handful of women to graduate from the prestigious Tsing Hua University, where she majored in chemistry and met Gouq-Jen Su. Shou-Tsung was an award-winning painter of Chinese watercolors, loved gardening, cooking

Past Su Distinguished Lecturers

Past Su Lecturers
17thApril 18, 2019Professor Daniel G. Nocera, Harvard University
16thApril 25, 2018Professor Carol Hall, North Carolina State University
15thApril 26, 2017Professor Linda J. Broadbelt, Northwestern University
14thApril 27, 2016Professor Paula T. Hammond, MIT
13thApril 29, 2015Professor Ching Tang, University of Rochester
12thApril 23, 2014Professor Donald R. Paul, University of Texas at Austin
11thMay 1, 2013Professor Christopher N. Bowmen, University of Colorado Boulder
10thApril 25, 2012Professor James C. Liao, UCLA
9thMay 5, 2010Professor Brian Korgel, University of Texas at Austin
8thMay 20, 2009Professor Tobin Marks, Northwestern University
7thApril 30, 2008Professor Joseph M. DeSimone, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
6thMarch 22, 2007Professor Michael Graetzel, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
5thApril 26, 2006Professor Eric W. Kaler, University of Delaware
4thApril 25, 2005Professor Hector D. Abruna, Cornell University
3rdApril 13, 2004Professor Thomas A. Zawodzinski, Case Western University
2ndMay 9, 2003Professor Jacob Israelachvili, University of California, Santa Barbara
1stApril 24, 2002Professor Jackie Ying, MIT