Dennis Dowden and the Development of Catalytic Science
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In the twentieth century Dennis Albert Dowden, affectionately referred to as DAD by friends and colleagues, was an important figure in the development of an understanding of the structure of industrial heterogeneous catalysts, the species present and the processes taking place on them. He was born in Bristol, UK, and following education at the University of Bristol and a short period at Amherst College in the USA, in 1938 he joined Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) at Billingham in the North East of England. He worked there on catalysis, catalyst manufacture and catalytic processes for the next thirty-seven years. His major contribution was to bring a wide range of sciences and a rational approach into what had been until then regarded as “black art”, capable of only empirical analysis. His influence extended across ICI, which at that time operated many industrial catalytic processes, and academically he was influential worldwide and especially in the USA.