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Vol. 25 No. 2
March-April 2003

IUPAC Wire | News and information on IUPAC, its fellows, and members organizations
See also www.iupac.org/news

John Prausnitz Awarded the 2002 Rossini Lecture

John M. Prausnitz, a professor in the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of California, Berkeley, and a faculty senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was awarded IUPAC’s 2002 Rossini Lecture, the highest international award in the field of chemical thermodynamics.

Prausnitz presented the Rossini Lecture at the 17th IUPAC Conference on Chemical Thermodynamics in Rostock, Germany on 28 July 2002. An abstract of his presentation on "Molecular Thermodynamics for Some Applications in Biotechnology" appears below.

Prausnitz’s research is aimed at obtaining, interpreting, and correlating thermodynamic properties of a variety of mixtures as required for process and product design in the chemical and related industries, including biotechnology. Toward that end, his laboratory obtains experimental data, performs Monte-Carlo molecular simulations, and develops molecular-thermodynamic models based on the statistical mechanics of fluids and solids.

Prausnitz received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1955. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1973), the National Academy of Engineering (1979), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1988). He has received several honorary degrees: Doctor of Engineering from the University of L’ Aquila, Italy, in 1983, and the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, in 1989, and a Doctor of Science from Princeton in 1995.


Molecular Thermodynamics for Some Applications in Biotechnology – Prausnitz’s abstract presented at the 17th ICCT.

As biotechnology sweeps the world, it is appropriate to remember that the great virtue of thermodynamics is its broad range of applicability. As a result, there is a growing literature describing how chemical thermodynamics can be used to inform processes for old and new biochemical products for industry and medicine. A particular application of molecular thermodynamics concerns separation of aqueous proteins by selective precipitation. For this purpose, we need phase diagrams; for constructing such diagrams, we need to understand not only the qualitative nature of phase equilibria of aqueous proteins but also the quantitative intermolecular forces between proteins in solution.

Some examples are given to show how aqueous protein-protein forces can be calculated or measured to yield a potential of mean force and how that potential is then used along with a statistical thermodynamic model to establish liquid-liquid and liquid-crystal equilibria. Such equilibria are useful not only for separation processes but also for understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s, cataracts, and sickle-cell anemia that appear to be caused by protein agglomeration.

cheme.berkeley.edu/people/
faculty/prausnitz/prausnitz.html

> The Rossini Lecture - A brief History


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