Chemist Scott Auerbach of UMass Amherst Wins Prestigious Sloan Fellowship

AMHERST, Mass. - Scott Auerbach, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, has been awarded a $35,000 Sloan Foundation fellowship. He is one of just 100 young scientists and economists at 51 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada to receive the award. Twenty-one former Sloan Fellows have gone on to receive Nobel Prizes.

Auerbach''s research focuses on zeolites, minerals that are chemically similar to quartz and have uses ranging from petroleum refinement, to removing lead from drinking water, to producing air conditioners that won''t release pollutants. Zeolites occur naturally or can be synthesized, Auerbach says. They are particularly useful to chemists because of their structure: they are honeycombed with microscopic "cages" that are uniformly sized and shaped. This structure enables scientists to filter out selected molecules with very fine precision, making it easier to separate one chemical from another in a mixture, according to Auerbach.

Auerbach also recently received a four-year, $300,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to pursue his work in zeolites. The high-profile CAREER awards support the work of young faculty members. The CAREER grant was his second major grant from the NSF. Auerbach received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, and did postdoctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He joined the UMass faculty in 1995.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is based in New York City. The philanthropic, non-profit institution was established in 1934 by Alfred P. Sloan Jr., then-president and chief executive of General Motors Corp. The foundation awarded approximately $40 million in grants during 1998.