‘Advancing chemical engineering worldwide’ is a phrase you may be aware of. It’s the reason why IChemE exists and it has pride of place next to our logo.
The way we advance chemical engineering is largely due to the energy, expertise and enthusiasm of our 40,000 plus members. They are the ‘brains’ behind our success, and the same could be said of any professional body.
And how IChemE recognises the achievements of individuals who have really pushed the ‘envelope’ and boundaries of the profession is very important to us.
It’s the reason why we manage and grant over 25 medals and prizes in any given year (not including the many other awards ceremonies and accolades we co-ordinate).
IChemE’s medals and prizes offer a celebratory win-win. They are named after some incredible chemical engineers and it means we don’t forget their contribution. They also celebrate the achievements of the present – to advance chemical engineering worldwide.
Last month, IChemE announced several new medals to recognise the work of the wider chemical engineering academic community. Today’s blog celebrates the people they are named after from as far afield as India, Australia, USA and the UK.
MM Sharma medal for career achievement
The new Career Achievement medal is named after Man Mohan Sharma. He was born in 1937 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and educated in Mumbai and University of Cambridge.
At the age of 27 years, he was appointed professor of chemical engineering at the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai. He later became director of ICT. His honours include the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan awards presented by the president of India.
MM Sharma was the first Indian engineer to be elected as a Fellow of Royal Society and was awarded their Leverhulme medal. MM Sharma has also received the S.S. Bhatnagar prize in engineering sciences, the FICCI award, the Vishwakarma medal, G.M. Modi award, Meghnad Saha medal, and has an honorary doctor of science degree from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Geldart medal for research in particle technology
Derek Geldart was emeritus professor of powder technology in the department of chemical engineering at the University of Bradford, UK.
He was renowned for his diagram classifying powders according to their fluidization behaviour and a respected member of the worldwide particle technology community. He graduated from Newcastle University and worked as a researcher with the UK Atomic Energy Authority before joining the University of Bradford. He gained a PhD for his research in fluidization in 1971.
Derek’s early publications included his Classification of Powders, which after an initial struggle for acceptance, became one of the most cited works in the field. Derek died in 2012.
Guggenheim medal for research in thermodynamics and complex fluids
Edward A Guggenheim is one of the most well known thermodynamicists of the 20th century. He was professor at the University of Reading and was instrumental in leading and building up chemistry there, from 1946 when he was appointed professor, until he retired in 1966.
Guggenheim authored several books and is noted for his 1933 publication of the Modern Thermodynamics by the Methods of Willard Gibbs. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1946. In 1972, the E. A. Guggenheim Memorial Fund was established by friends and colleagues. Edward died in 1970.
Bird, Stewart and Lightfoot medal for research in transport phenomena
R. Byron Bird is an American chemical engineer and professor emeritus in the department of chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Warren Earl Stewart was McFarland-Bascom professor emeritus of chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He died in 2006.
Edwin N. Lightfoot is a chemical engineer and the Hilldale professor emeritus in the department of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In the 1950s, Bird, Stewart and Lightfoot developed an undergraduate course at the University of Wisconsin to integrate the teaching of fluid flow, heat transfer, and diffusion. From this beginning, they prepared the landmark textbook, Transport Phenomena, published in 1960. This textbook, referred to by generations of chemical engineers simply as BSL after its authors, would remain in print for 41 years and see five translations.
Sargent medal for research in computer aided product and process engineering
Roger Sargent is a retired, emeritus professor and senior research fellow in the chemical engineering department, Imperial College London. A great personality, he is considered a pioneer of process system engineering.
He obtained his BSc in chemical engineering at Imperial College in 1947, and stayed on to work for a PhD on low temperature separation techniques.
He became director of the Centre for Process Systems Engineering from its launch in August 1989 until he retired in 1992. He has been involved in the application of computers to engineering since their beginnings in the early fifties, and is a past president of IChemE.
Nicklin medal for early career achievement
Don Nicklin was a past chair of IChemE in Australia. he was also head of chemical engineering at the University of Queensland and held several consultancy positions in industrial institutes and research bodies.
He was chair at Austa Energy Corporation and the Centre for Mining Technology and Equipment. He held positions on the board of the Sugar Research Institute, the Industry Research and Development Board and the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. He has been described as a ‘legendary figure in Australia’ for his work in the field of chemical engineering. Don died in 2007.
Some, if not all, of theses faces will be minted onto coin-shaped medals in the near future. It really is a fantastic way to remember outstanding performance and contributions to the profession.
If you’d like to try to get your hands on one of the new medals, the deadline for applying this year is 31 October 2014, with full details online. Good luck!
One thought on “Minted into IChemE history (Day 146)”
It is good to see the list of those whose names are given to the IChemE medals. However, those of us who have spent their careers working at the coal face of chemical engineering design are unlikely to join this list or to win any of the medals named after them.
In my period of chairing the PharmaSIG I have striven to think of ways to provide a means to recognise the efforts of the great mass of the profession who make major contributions but whose achievements will never be recognised. Perhaps we should have a memorial in the office at Rugby to the “Unknown Chemical Engineer”.