Story by: Mike Krings, University Relations, (785) 864-8860
The American Chemical Society has named University of Kansas professor Daryle Busch one of the inaugural ACS Fellows, recognizing his 50-plus years of excellence in teaching, research and service to the field of chemistry.
Busch, the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and deputy director of KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, has been a member of the society for nearly 60 years. He will be among 162 professionals from all fields of chemistry, including a number of Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Awardees and other highly recognized scientists, named to the first class of fellows.
Bruce E. Bursten, American Chemical Society immediate past-president, said the fellows “share a common set of accomplishments, namely true excellence in their contributions to the chemical enterprise coupled with distinctive service to ACS or to the broader world of chemistry.”
The fellows were honored Aug. 17 in Washington D.C. at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Busch joined KU in 1988 after holding various faculty positions at Ohio State University since 1954, including a Presidential Professorship. The society chose its first class of fellows based on criteria of service and recognition of professional work, such as awards. In addition to national, international and American Chemical Society awards, Busch was president of the society in 2000 and held various leadership roles, including chair of the Lawrence and Columbus, Ohio, sections of the society. He is also a lifetime member of the organization’s council.
Busch said being selected as an ACS Fellow was a humbling honor.
“The society looked for the people they rely on the most and by naming them fellows will keep track of and help support their work. It’s a great honor to receive this recognition.”
In his 50-plus years with the society, Busch has served as a consultant for Chemical Abstracts Service, which built the computer system for searching the chemical literature so the results of chemistry research are accessible to both academics and industry professionals. Busch compared the Chemical Abstracts Service to the record keeping in the fields of medicine and law.
“In medicine and law, if the details aren’t right, people can get hurt. The same is true in chemistry,” he said. “By making previous findings and literature accessible, it helps provide understanding across barriers when people are doing important jobs.”
While president of American Chemical Society, Busch also helped guide the merger of the Green Chemistry Institute with the society. The institute, dedicated to environmentally responsible and sustainable chemistry practices and research, has grown and thrived since the merger. Busch was an ideal candidate to guide the transition, as his work at KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis is also dedicated to finding new chemical processes to reduce waste and harmful effects of industrial and academic chemistry.
Busch has worked closely with industry throughout his research career and he holds 16 patents jointly with five major industrial companies as well as through KU and Ohio State.
An expert on the compounds of metallic elements, Busch researches methods by which such compounds can be used to control molecular change. As his patents show, the research can be applied to household uses such as laundry or bleaches or, at the other extreme, to improve the carbon footprints for certain large scale industrial processes.
While he has authored three textbooks and hundreds of journal articles, papers and abstracts, Busch takes perhaps the most pride in teaching. Throughout his career he has mentored hundreds of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers, while helping thousands of undergraduates understand chemistry and begin careers in the field.