Benjamin R. Scharifker

Professor of Chemistry at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, and President of the Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences of Venezuela. A Chemistry graduate from Simon Bolivar University in 1976, obtained Ph.D in Physical Chemistry from the University of Southampton, UK, in 1979. He entered the teaching staff of Simon Bolivar University at the Chemistry Department in 1980. In 1984 he joined the newly-formed Hydrogen Research Center at Texas A&M University, USA, as Senior Scientist and Associate Director. Returning to Universidad Simon Bolivar in 1986 he became full professor in 1989 and served successively as Department Head, Research Dean, Vice-rector, and Rector until July 2009.


At Simon Bolivar University he shaped an Electrochemistry group carrying out work with several colleagues and research students, producing over a hundred research publications, patents and books on Electrochemistry. His research papers have received more than 2,500 citations in the scientific literature, with an h-index of 26 (26 papers with at least 26 citations). His main research interest is on interfacial electrochemistry, including phase formation processes, electrochemical energy conversion and the kinetics of electrochemical reactions. Among his most significant contributions are theoretical descriptions of nucleation and growth and experimental studies of electrochemical phase formation processes, relevant for the analysis of data related to the electrodeposition of metal nanoparticles on surfaces and control on their numbers, sizes, and spatial distribution. He carried out during the 1980s pioneering experiments on the application of nanothechnologies using ultramicroelectrodes to study the kinetics of interfacial electrochemical reactions, also authoring one of the earliest theoretical descriptions of mass transport to microelectrode arrays. Scharifker has also carried out studies in the area of conducting polymers, including the elucidation of the mechanisms for formation and the growth kinetics of thin films of these materials, the processes originating charge carriers in conducting polymers with characterization of their structures, and the study of effects due to inclusion of catalyst metal particles in conducting polymer matrices. More recently he has contributed also to the field of energy and the environment, with studies on electrocatalysts for energy conversion in fuel cells, the mineralization of organic pollutants in residual waters, and developments for the cleaner processing of fossil energy resources.


He has been symposium organizer and keynote or plenary speaker at over 50 major scientific meetings in several countries, including NATO Advanced Study Institutes, Gordon conferences, congresses and symposia of the American Chemical Society, the Ibero-American Society of Electrochemistry, the International Society of Electrochemistry and the Electrochemical Society. Professor Scharifker is a former member of the Publications Committee of the International Society of Electrochemistry and currently serves in the Editorial Boards of PortugaliŠ Electrochimica Acta and Acta Cientifica Venezolana. He has been National Secretary for the International Society of Electrochemistry and is a past President of the Venezuelan Society of Electrochemistry and the Galilean Society. He has coordinated consulting bodies on research and administration for the National Council of Universities and served as director in the boards of several organizations, including the International Institute for Advanced Studies and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research of Venezuela. He is a recipient of the Tajima Prize granted by the International Society of Electrochemistry, the prize for best scientific work in Chemistry by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research of Venezuela, the Lorenzo Mendoza Fleury Prize of the Polar Enterprises Foundation, and several other prizes. He has been accredited at the highest level by the Venezuelan Foundation for the Promotion of Researchers since its inception in 1990. He is member the Venezuelan Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of Latin America, and fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).