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Professor Alvin H. Weiss

WPI Chemical Engineering Obituaries

Alvin Harvey Weiss was born on April 28, 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Alvin Weiss graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 1949. He received his Master of Science degree from Newark College of Engineering. His first jobs were as a chemical engineer for the Fiber Chemical and Colgate-Palmolive companies and as a research and development project engineer for Houdry Process & Chemical Co. He would return to the University of Pennsylvania and earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree in physical chemistry in 1965 .

Dr. Weiss was a lecturer and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania for three years before joining the WPI faculty in 1966.

In 1966 he founded the Catalysis Society of New England. Its members included the American Institute Chemical Engineers, Catalysis Society (trustees, secretary 1968-1988), Catalysis Society New England (founding president 1967-1968, trustees since 1968), American Chemical Society (petroleum division representative of New England 1970-1988, sitting president since 1973).

Portrait of Professor Alvin H. Weiss

Throughout his career, Professor Weiss has received numerous scholarships and awards to teach at institutions around the world. He received a State Department scholarship to teach chemical engineering at the University of the Negev in 1967. In 1974, he was a Fulbright-Hays Visiting Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Middle East University of Technology. -Orient, Ankara, Turkey, 1974, visiting professor, Turkey, 91 years old. Professor Weiss was a founding member of the WPl zeolite team. Weiss has also studied catalysis related to petrochemicals, ceramics, pollution control and fire protection.

During his career at WPI, Prof. Weiss has studied many areas including catalysis, zeolites and pyrolysis. He was passionate about international collaborations, especially with academics in Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary and South America. Weiss formed the US/Bulgaria Research Collaboration in Catalysis in 1989.

Photo of Professor Alvin H. Weiss
research team members
Teacher.  Alvin H. Weiss and a Russian scientist

Professor Weiss retired from the WPI in 1994 and has since served as Professor Emeritus.

Alvin, 93, died March 6, 2022 and is survived by his daughter Linda and wife Devorah.

Publications to note:

Thermal decomposition of Mg, Al-hydrotalcite material

Valcheva-Traykova, ML, Davidova, NP, Weiss, AH Journal of Materials Science, 1993, 28(8), pp. 2157–2162.

Structure sensitivity of acetylene-ethylene hydrogenation on Pd catalysts

Sárkány, A., Weiss, AH, Guczi, L. Journal of Catalysis, 1986, 98(2), pp. 550–553.

On the phenomenon of aging in the hydrogenation of acetylene catalyzed with palladium

Sárkány, A., Guczi, L., Weiss, AH Applied Catalysis, 1984, 10(3), pp. 369–38.

Control of the selectivity of the hydrogenation of acetylene on PdCu/Al2O3 catalysts

Leviness, S., Nair, V., Weiss, AH, Schay, Z., Guczi, L. Journal of Molecular Catalysis, 1984, 25(1-3), pp. 131–140

The effect of catalytic treatment on the selective hydrogenation of acetylene on palladium/alumina

Moses, JM, Weiss, AH, Matusek, K., Guczi, L. Journal of Catalysis, 1984, 86(2), pp. 417–42.

Homogeneously catalyzed condensation of formaldehyde into carbohydrates. VII. A global formose reaction model

Socha, RF, Weiss, AH, Sakharov, MM Journal of Catalysis, 1981, 67(1), pp. 207–217.

Reactions of acetylene during hydrogenation over Pd black catalyst

Margitfalvi, J., Guczi, L., Weiss, AH Journal of Catalysis, 1981, 72(2), pp. 185–198.

Synthesis and use of formose sugars

Mizuno, T., Weiss, AH Advances in Carbohydrate Chemistry and Biochemistry, 1974, 29(C), pp. 173–227

Hydrodechlorination of carbon tetrachloride

Weiss, AH, Gambhir, BS, Leon, RB Journal of Catalysis, 1971, 22(2), pp. 245–254

The Vagaries of Consulting – How to find a consulting job, Weiss, AH, Chemical Engineering Education, 2002, 36(1) pp74-75.

Chemical Engineering at… Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Weiss, AH, Chemical Engineering Education, 2000, 34(3) pp186-191.