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Paul B. Weisz

by Susan J. Ainsworth
November 26, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 48

Paul B. Weisz, 93, a retired Mobil Research & Development catalysis expert, died on Sept. 25 in State College, Pa.

Born in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, Weisz emigrated from Berlin to the U.S. in 1939 and earned a B.S. degree in physics at Auburn University in 1940. He then worked as a researcher at the Bartol Research Foundation of the Franklin Institute in Swarthmore, Pa.

Weisz joined Mobil Research & Development in 1946 as a research associate at the firm’s Paulsboro, N.J., research laboratory. By 1961, he had risen through the ranks to become a senior scientist.

While working at Mobil, Weisz took a sabbatical to earn his doctoral degree in physics from ETH Zurich in 1966. He later managed Mobil’s Exploratory Process Research organization in Paulsboro from 1967 until 1969 and the company’s Central Research Laboratory in Princeton, N.J., from 1969 through 1982.

Along with several Mobil collaborators, he pioneered the use of natural and synthetic zeolites as shape-selective catalysts. That work eventually revolutionized many petroleum refining and chemical processes.

After he retired from Mobil in 1984, Weisz began a new career that involved applying chemical and physical principles to biomedical research. He conducted this research at the University of Pennsylvania and later at Pennsylvania State University.

He received many awards including several from ACS: the E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry, the Langmuir Distinguished Lecturer Award, and the Delaware Section’s Carothers Lecture Award. Weisz received the Perkin Medal from the Society of Chemical Industry and the National Medal of Technology from President George H. W. Bush.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1977 and was an emeritus member of ACS, which he joined in 1956.

He is survived by his wife, Rhoda; son, Randy; and daughter, Ingrid.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at ­ and should include an educational and professional history.



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