Although silicon nanoparticles dispersed in liquids are used in various applications ranging from bio-labeling to hydrogen production, their reactivities with their solvents and their catalytic properties re-main still unexplored. Here, we discovered that, because of their surface structures and mechanical strain, silicon nanoparticles react strongly with their solvents and may act as catalysts for the dehydrogenation, at room temperature, of secondary alcohols (e.g. isopropanol) to ketones and hydrogen. This catalytic reaction was followed by gas chromatography, pH measurements, mass spectroscopy and solidstate NMR. This discovery provides new understanding of the role played by silicon nanoparticles, and nanosilicon in general, in their stability in solvents in general as well as being candidates in catalysis.