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Gadi Rothenberg of the University of Amsterdam's Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences has written an updated version of what has become the most popular textbook in catalysis, used by universities worldwide. Covering all aspects of catalysis from a green chemistry perspective, the second edition of 'Catalysis: Concepts and Green Applications' explains the principles of homogeneous, heterogeneous and biocatalysis and illustrates these with real-life industrial examples.

Cover of the second edition of the popular textbook. Illustration: Itamar Daube

The book comprises six chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 introduce and explain the fundamentals of sustainable chemistry, catalysis, and reaction kinetics. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 show how these principles are applied in homogeneous, heterogeneous, and biocatalysis. The final chapter covers computer applications in catalysis research, including predictive modelling and data mining.

One of the exercises in the book. Image courtesy of Wiley-VCH. Click to enlarge.

Each chapter includes detailed literature references. With a total of over 600 references the current edition covers the latest developments in catalysis research in academia and industry. It also contains industrial examples, and exercises that embed the knowledge in a practical context. Rothenberg added 50 exercises to those already published in the earlier edition. They are based on his teaching at the UvA as well as on the suggestions of colleagues and students from all over the world.

Simple language

Rothenberg is known for his clear lectures and for explaining difficult concepts using simple language. He is the co-founder of the 'Write it Right' project, and an advocate of using short sentences and simple words: 'The main message is that heterogeneous catalysis, biocatalysis and homogeneous catalysis all follow the same principles, so you only have to understand once how catalysis works.'

Prof. Gadi Rothenberg. Photo: Jeroen Oerlemans.

Rothenberg, who has also co-authored a textbook on Ceramic Membranes, sees the writing of textbooks as an important contribution to education. 'Writing a textbook is a lot of work, but if you write a good one, you can help many students all over the world. I wrote the first edition when I started teaching the catalysis course at the UvA, and realised there was no good introductory text in catalysis available. Now, after nine years, it is time for the second edition. I hope that many people will use it and learn from it.'

Chinese edition

The second edition is currently being translated into Chinese by four professors of the Chemistry Department of Fudan University, where Rothenberg has strong collaborations and was recently appointed as Senior Visiting Scholar. Professors Xu Hualong, Shen Wei, Hua Weiming and Yue Bin are collaborating on the translation, which is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2018.

Teaching material online

The accompanying free-access website has additional teaching material (lecture slides, hand-outs, and answers to selected exercises) that students and teachers can download and use.

Catalysis: Concepts and Green Applications, 2nd Edition

Rothenberg research group: Heterogeneous Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry

Write it Right