History to the Group

The Catalysis and Synthesis research group (CAT&SYN) was formed in 2001 with Prof HCM (Manie) Vosloo as the leader. It was a merger between the Catalysis group and Organic Synthesis group established in 1973 under the leadership of Prof JAK (Jan) du Plessis and Prof FJC (Frans) Martins respectively. Upon the retirement of Prof du Plessis in 1998, Prof Vosloo took over the leadership of the Catalysis group. Prof Martins retired in 2000. The CAT&SYN merger was due to the complementary skills and research expertise available in the two separate groups as well as the requirements of the newly formed Research Focus Area for Separation Science and Technology (SST) duly established in 2001. The CAT&SYN was taken up in the newly established Research Focus Area for Chemical Resource Beneficiation (CRB) that replaced the SST in 2008. Prof Vosloo became the first director of the CRB. Prof AJ (Andrew) Swarts became the leader of CAT&SYN in 2018 and upon his moving to WITS he was followed up by Dr FJ (Frans) Smit in 2021. Retired members of the group are Dr G (Gerhard) Lachman, Dr AM (Attie) Viljoen and Prof DA (Des) Young while Prof CGCE (Cornie) van Sittert started her own group. Current members also include Dr JHL (Johan) Jordaan and Dr DP (Danie) Otto while Prof Swarts continues as a collaborator. Milestones were reached in 2014 with the publication of the 100th scientific article in peer-reviewed journals and the graduation of the 80th postgraduate student in catalysis and synthesis. The CAT&SYN was also an active participant in the RSA Olefins programme, with Prof Vosloo as programme manager, of the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis from 2004 until 2022.