Dr. Steven L. Suib of the University of Connecticut has been named the recipient of the 2011 Connecticut Medal of Science for his outstanding work in the fields of catalysis and materials science over the past 30 years. Suib is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and head of UConn’s Chemistry Department. His work involves the synthesis of novel porous semiconductors used to make new chemicals for use in lithium batteries, oil spills and other applications.
Frank W. Ridley, chairman of the Board of Governors for Higher Education, will present the award at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering on May 25, 2011 at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, CT.
The central question Dr. Suib asks is, “Can we make materials that no one else has made using relatively simple materials?” In his quest, Suib and his team are investigating the creation of synthetic fuels using carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas — and water, research that could contribute to both reduced greenhouse gases and the development of alternative energy sources.
His research team is working closely with Connecticut company, VeruTEK Technologies, Inc., to clean up contaminated industrial and commercial properties and landfills using microemulsion catalysis that converts hazardous and toxic compounds into harmless materials. His other current research involves synthesizing high temperature ceramic fiber composites used for aircraft engine parts. Over the years, Suib has collaborated with industrial researchers in Connecticut such as United Technologies Research Center, Pratt and Whitney, Hamilton Standard, Olin, Yardney Technical Products, Pfizer, ATM, APSI, Rogers Corporation, Uniroyal, Crompton and others. He is also the Head of the Pratt Center of Excellence in Ceramic Chemistry. Dr. Suib has supervised more than 100 Ph.D. students, and among these, nearly 50 serve in research positions in Connecticut industries. A graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia, Suib earned a PhD in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana and completed coursework equivalent to a master’s degree in geology. He holds 19 U.S. patents and his work has been honored with national awards from the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemists.
The Connecticut Medal of Science is the state’s highest honor for scientists and engineers and recognizes extraordinary achievements in scientific fields crucial to Connecticut’s economic competitiveness and social well-being. Modeled after the National Medal of Science, this award is bestowed by the Board of Governors for Higher Education, with the assistance of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, in alternate years with the Connecticut Medal of Technology. Suib is the sixth recipient of the Connecticut Medal of Science.