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Surya Prakash

George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry and Professor of Chemistry
Director

Contact Information
E-mail: gprakash@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-5984
Office: LHI 103

LINKS
Faculty Profile on Departmental Website
 

Biographical Sketch

Professor G. K. Surya Prakash, Ph.D., was born in 1953 in Bangalore, India. He earned a B.Sc (Hons) in chemistry from Bangalore University and an M.S. in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Prakash came to US in 1974 and joined Professor George Olah’s group at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio to pursue graduate work. He moved with Professor Olah to the University of Southern California (USC) in 1977 to help establish the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and obtained his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry at USC in 1978. He joined the faculty of USC in 1981 and he is currently a Professor and the holder of the George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry at the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and Department of Chemistry. He also serves as the Director of the Institute. His primary research interests are in superacid, hydrocarbon, synthetic organic & organofluorine chemistry, with particular emphasis in the areas of energy and catalysis. He is a co-inventor of the proton exchange membrane based direct oxidation methanol fuel cell and a co-proponent (with Professor Olah) of the Methanol Economy concept. Professor Prakash is a prolific author with more than 630 peer-reviewed scientific publications and holds 30 patents. He has also co-authored or edited 10 books. He has received many awards and accolades including two American Chemical Society National Awards: in 2004 for his achievements in the area of fluorine chemistry and in 2006 for his contributions to hydrocarbon chemistry. He also received the 2006 Richard C. Tolman Award from the Southern California section of the American Chemical Society for his scientific contributions to Southern California. He is the recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and the 2010 CRSI Medal from the Chemical Research Society of India. He is a fellow of the American Association of Advancement of Science and a Member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities. He also sits on several Editorial Boards of Chemical Journals.
 

Education

Ph.D. , University of Southern California, 1/1978
M.S. , I.I.T., Madras, India, 1/1974
B.S. , Bangalore University, India, 1/1972
 

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Professor Prakash has broad range of interests in synthetic organic and organofluorine chemistry, hydrocarbon chemistry and energy storage areas. Since 1989, Prakash has collaborated with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/Caltech to develop the methanol fuel cell as part of a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He has engineered a membrane that blocks methanol; representing a major break-through in terms of commercializing the methanol fuel-cell technology. The work has many practical applications. Smart Fuel Cell Corp. (SFC) have obtained a license from USC-Caltech to commercialize the Methanol Fuel Cell Technology. The Methanol Economy Concept patents co-developed with Professor Olah have been licensed to UOP-Honeywell by USC.
 

Research Specialties

Professor Prakash and his group's research interests are in the area of Synthetic Organic, Mechanistic and Hydrocarbon chemistry related to energy. Our projects cover a wide range of subjects in the area of selective fluorinations, oxidations, energetic materials, reductions, stereoselective reactions, electrochemical synthesis, hydrocarbon activation and isomerization, direct oxidation fuel cells, lithium ion battery electrolytes, electrochemistry, polymer chemistry, superacid catalyzed reactions, stable carbocation chemistry, application of ab initio and DFT theory and NMR chemical shift calculations. Our group also utilizes extensively all the modern spectroscopic and analytical tools in organic structure characterization as well as in mechanistic studies.
 

Other Research

Conversion of carbon dioxide to methanol and/or dimethyl ether using bi-reforming of methane or natural gas, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, U.S. Patent, 7,909,559, March 15, 2011., 2010-2011   
Nanostructured solid regenerable absorbents for reversible absorption of carbon dioxide from gases, including air, G. A. Olah, A. Goeppert, S. Meth and G. K. S. Prakash, US Patent, 7,795,175, September 14, 2010., 2010-2011   
US Patent: Selective Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol, Dimethyl Ether and Derived Products, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, US Patent, 7,846,978, December 2010, 2010-2011   
US Patent: Efficient and Selective Chemical Recycling of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol, Dimethyl Ether and Derived Products, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, US Patent, 7,608, 743, October, 27, 2009., 2009-2010   
US Patent: Efficient and Selective Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol, Dimethyl Ether and Derived Products, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, US Patent, 7,605, 293, October, 20, 2009., 2009-2010   
US Patent: Electrolysis of carbon dioxide in aqueous media to carbon monoxide and hydrogen for production of methanol, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, US Patent, 7,704,369, April 27, 2010, 2009-2010   
US Patent: Selective Oxidative Conversion of Methane to Methanol, Dimethyl Ether and Derived Products, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, US Patent, 7,705,059, April 27, 2010., 2009-2010   
 

Publications

Book Chapter

Reddy, V. P., Prakash, S. G. (2009). Recent Studies of Persistent Carbodications in Adv. Phys. Org. Chem. (Vol. 43). pp. 219-260. Academic Press.
 

Journal Article

Prakash, S. G., Ganesh, S. K., Jones, J., Kulkarni, A., Masood, K., Swabeck, J. K., Olah, G. A. (2012). Difluoromethylation of Aryl (Heteroaryl) Iodides and ß-Styrenyl Halides using Copper Mediated Tributyl(difluoromethyl)stannane. Angew. Che. Int. Ed.. Vol. 51, pp. 12090-12094.
Prakash, S. G., Mathew, T., Olah, G. A. (2012). Gallium(III) Triflate: An Efficient Lewis Acid Catalyst for Organic Synthetic Transformations. Accounts of Chemical Research. Vol. 45, pp. 565-577.
Prakash, S. G., Wang, F., Rahm, M., Shen, J., Ni, C., Haiges, R., Olah, G. A. (2011). On the Nature of C-H---F-C Interactions in Hindered CF3-C(sp3) Bond Rotations. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. Vol. 50, pp. 11761-11764.
Olah, G. A., Prakash, S. G., Goeppert, A. (2011). Anthropogenic Chemical Carbon Cycle for a Sustainable Future. J. Am. Chem. Soc. Vol. 133, pp. 12881-12898.
Prakash, S. G., Jog, P. V., Krishnan, H. S., Olah, G. A. (2011). A Novel Domino Approach (Hydrolysis/ Dehydrohalogenation/ Heck Coupling) for the Synthesis of Styrene Sulfonate Salts. J. Am. Chem. Soc. Vol. 133, pp. 2140-2143.
Prakash, S. G., Ni, C., Wang, F., Hu, J., Olah, G. A. (2011). From Difluoromethyl 2-Pyridyl Sulfone to Difluorinated Sulfonates: A Unique Protocol for Nucleophilic Difluoro(sulfonato)methylation. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. Vol. 50, pp. 2559-2563.
Goeppert, A., Meth, S., Prakash, S. G., Olah, G. A. (2010). Nano Structured Silica as a support for regenerable high capacity organo-amine based CO2 sorbents. Energy & Environmental Science. Vol. 3 (12), pp. 1949-1960.
Prakash, S. G., Zibinsky, M., Upton, T. G., Kashemirov, B. A., McKenna, C. E., Goodman, M. F., Batra, V. K., Pederson, L. C., Shock, D. D., Beard, W. A., Wilson, S. H., Olah, G. A. (2010). Synthesis and biological evaluation of fluorinated deoxynucleotide analogs based on bis-(difluoromethylene)triphosphoric acid. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Vol. 107 (36), pp. 15693-15698.
West, W. C., Shevade, A., Soler, J., Kulleck, J., Smart, M. C., Ratnakumar, B. V., Moron, M., Haiges, R., Christe, K. O., Prakash, S. G. (2010). Sulfuryl and Thionyl Halide- Based Ultralow Temperature Primary Batteries. J. Electrochem. Soc.. Vol. 157, pp. A571-A577.
Prakash, S. G., Wang, F., Shao, N., Mathew, T., Rasul, G., Haiges, R., Stewart, T., Olah, G. A. (2009). A Persistent alpha-Fluorocarbanion and Its Analogues: Preparation, Characterization, and Computational Study. Angw. Chem. Int. Ed.. Vol. 48, pp. 5358-5362.
Prakash, S. G., Wang, F., Stewart, T., Mathew, T., Olah, G. A. (2009). a-Fluoro- a-nitro(phenylsulfonyl)methane as a fluoromethyl pronucleophile: Efficient stereoselective Michael addition to chalcones. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Vol. 106, pp. 4090-4094.
Olah, G. A., Goeppert, A., Prakash, S. G. (2009). Chemical Recycling of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol and Dimethyl Ether: From Greenhouse Gas to Renewable, Environmentally Carbon Neutral Fuels and Synthetic Hydrocarbons. J. Org. Chem. Vol. 74, pp. 487-498.
 

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

US Patent, Electrolysis of carbon dioxide in aqueous media to carbon monoxide and hydrogen for production of methanol, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, U.S. Patent, 8,138,380, March 20, 2012, 2011-2012   
US Patent, Conversion of carbon dioxide to dimethyl ether using bi-reforming of methane or natural gas, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, U.S. Patent, 8,133,926, March 20, 2012., 2011-2012   
US Patent, Efficient and selective chemical recycling of carbon dioxide to methanol, dimethyl ether and derived products, G. A. Olah and G. K. S. Prakash, U.S. Patent, 8,212,088, July 3, 2012., 2011-2012   
 

Honors and Awards

American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, Fellow, 2005-  
USC Endowed Chair, George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry, 1/1/1997-  
2013 Sheila and Eric Samson Prime Minister's Prize for Alternative Fuels to Transportation from the State of Israel, 2013-2014   
The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) Fellow, 2013  
Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences, 2011-2012   
USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, For Exemplary Contributions in the Areas of Teaching, Research and Service , 2011-2012   
Burgenstock Lecturer, 2010, 2009-2010   
CRSI Medal, Chemical Research Society of India, 2009-2010   
Professor K. Venkataraman Lecturer, 2008-2009, University Department of Chemical Technolgy, University of Mubai, India., 2008-2009  
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, 2006-2007   
George A. Olah Annual Lecturer, 2006-2007   
Richard C. Tolman Award, Southern California Section of American Chemical Society, 2006-2007   
American Chemical Society George A. Olah National Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry, 2005-2006   
Fellow of the American Association of Advancement of Science , 2005-2006   
NASA Space Act Board Award, New Fuels For Direct Oxidation Fuel Cells, 2004-2005   
American Chemical Society National Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry, 2003-2004   
USC Associates Award For Creativity In Research And Scholarship, 2000  
JPL/TAP Group Achievement Award for Low Crossover Membranes for Methanol Fuel Cells, 1998-1999   
Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award for Research and Scholarship, 1983-1984   
 

Service to the University

Administrative Appointments

Director, Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, 2010-2015  
 
 
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