The "Science, Special Service and Encouragement Awards" given by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) every year found their owners with a ceremony held at the Beştepe National Congress and Culture Center under the auspices of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Our faculty member Prof. Dr. Mehmet Sabri Çelik from the Department of Mineral Processing Engineering was granted the science award for his “high-quality work at international level on flotation, adsorption, product development in the field of mineral processing and colloid chemistry”.

About Professor Mehmet Sabri Çelik

Professor Mehmet Sabri Çelik was born in 1954 in Van, Türkiye. He graduated from Istanbul Technical University as a mining engineer in 1974 and received a Turkish Ministry of education scholarship to study MS and PhD in the USA. He continued his MS studies on grinding of coals with the advisor L.G. Austin in mineral processing in Pennsylvania State University and graduated in 1977. He developed a great curiosity with the flotation course lectured by late Dr. Frank F. Aplan and Interfacial Phenomena course given by Dr. Richard Hogg. Through the material covered in these courses he discovered the true love that will shape his academic career. During the search for a PhD advisor, he came across a young talented scientist Professor Somasundaran at Columbia University to whom he asked for admission in Henry Krumb School of Mines. He spent four and half years with this fantastic group and learned the beauty of surface and colloid chemistry-based processes. Columbia in this respect was like great temple for people starving to flotation and adsorption. Adsorption love started with his PhD thesis on adsorption and precipitation mechanisms of anionic surfactants and polymers onto reservoir rocks during Enhanced Oil recovery (EOR). After his PhD degree he had to make decision of either staying in the USA or Türkiye or somewhere abroad. Despite a very good job offer by Pall Filter company he decided to take an Academic job in KF University of Petroleum and Minerals where he continued to conduct research in a line similar to his PhD thesis except on Saudi Arabian reservoirs. He has not had a much chance to work on mineral processing problems but mainly surface and colloid chemistry aspects of EOR until he ended his 5 years of Academic work (1983-1988) with an associate professor degree and a job offer by R-H Yoon as a visiting associate professor in Virginia Polytechnic Institute & SU. During 1988-1989 Dr. Çelik in VPI&SU got involved in a variety of problems including selective flotation of pyrite from coal and issues related to adsorption of nonionic surfactants on coal. He shared the same calorimetry lab with Zhenghe Xu then a brilliant PhD student now in University of Alberta.      

While in VP&SU, Dr. Çelik made his greatest decision in his academic life and took a position in Istanbul Technical University, Mineral Processing Department where he refurnished the surface and colloid chemistry lab and started working on flotation of industrial minerals. His first and longest passion was boron minerals which he studied the flotation mechanisms of a series of boron minerals starting from least soluble colemanite to moderately soluble ulexite and most soluble borax. This endeavor intersected his destiny with Prof. J.D. Miller of University of Utah. Their bilateral collaboration through NSF-TUBITAK projects led to many fruitful avenues including faculty and student exchange not only in the area of flotation of soluble boron minerals but also on that of trona. All these endeavors resulted in many high-quality papers, grants and patents.

Dr. Çelik later got involved in flotation of feldspar minerals but mainly that of selective Separation of Na-feldspar (albite) from K-Feldspar (microcline) and produced some great papers. One of his main interests all along was produce value-added added products out of industrial mineral particularly those of clay minerals. This highlighted development of some 12 types of industrial products on pilot scale out of sepiolite, zeolite and bentonite with a group of some over 40 researchers. Apart from surface and colloid Chemistry lab, he furnished a complete rheology and clay/mineral based product development lab including a paint technology lab with the aim of developing unique industrial products from boron, feldspar, bentonite, zeolite, calcite, trona, alunite and sepiolite in the area of paint, plastic, insulation and paper. Later dry cleaning of low-rank Turkish coals took his three years of his intense research until it resulted in some very good separation methodologies for low rank coals. During these activities, he also took a consultancy work (2017-2018) for Etimaden on Beylikova thorium/rare earth oxides project where he worked on the process flowsheet, particularly flotation of REM.

All these efforts were also instrumental in later taking administrative jobs, e.g. board member with Eti Mining in 1997, board member (2003-2007) and board chair (2007-2010) in National Boron Research Institute which were prestigious positions apart from the academic life. An administrative job offer in ITU was made in 2012-2016 as a vice rector position in 2012-2016 in charge of research and techno parks. This gave him great opportunities to test his idea of forming inter-disciplinary umbrella research groups in specialized areas. He further tested this idea as a rector in Harran University from 2019 till present.

Dr. Çelik particularly devoted his Academic life for training 19 PhD and 21 MS students to disseminate his knowledge both in national and international platforms.  He has completed a total of 41 projects in which he emphasized multi-sided research systematic to attract the attention of his thesis students with the aim of channeling half of his students to academic or industrial research. He has particularly worked with the world experts in mineral processing/surface and colloid chemistry and sent his students to their labs and thus gather the latest scientific/technical innovations in his research and has made in depth research to identify mechanisms of reagent bonding through cooperation with inter disciplinary experts.

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Sabri ÇELİK, is the recipient of many awards but most notable ones are the Best Researcher Award given two years in a row by KFUPM, TUBITAK Junior Researcher Award in 1994 and most prestigious National Science Award given by TÜBİTAK in 2021. As of Dec. 2021, he has received 7106 citations and H47 (Google scholars) and 156 SCI papers with 4405 citations and H37 (Web of Science).