One year, 365 days blogging as IChemE President (Day 365)

And then there was one…

Andrew Jamieson, IChemE President 2015-2016; and myself, Geoff Maitland, IChemE President 2014-2015

(L-R) Dr Andrew Jamieson, IChemE President 2015-2016; and myself, Geoff Maitland, IChemE President 2014-2015

Well here we are. It’s the final day of the ChemEng365 blog and last night I handed over the chains of office to my successor, Dr Andrew Jamieson.

Aided and abetted by my team of loyal ‘blog elves’, it’s been quite a journey. But I hope you’ll agree with me that we’ve made a pretty good fist of my original ambition, which was to shine a light on chemical engineering on every single day of my presidency.

It’s been great fun and I trust that you have been impressed at the seemingly endless supply of chemical engineering good news that has been aired via my blog over the last twelve months.

The stories will remain here to provide an enduring resource for anyone who wants to find out more about what chemical engineers get up to. So when you come across someone who ought to know more about the profession, send them here!

The search box at the top of the page is a doorway to the richness and diversity of chemical engineering.

My blogging days are almost done but IChemE won’t let the interest that ChemEng365 has generated go to waste. The blog has been viewed more than 250,000 times in 180 countries and I’m genuinely humbled at the following that the initiative has attracted.

Over the next few weeks, the Institution will rebrand the blog and relaunch it as a new platform through which we will continue to draw attention to the people, the projects and the chemically engineered products that enrich lives in the 21st Century.

It won’t be a daily blog from here on, but it will be an ongoing source of good news and you’ll still receive regular alerts via the usual social media channels including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

So watch this space…

Before I sign off, I think it’s worth reiterating why I did this.

All too often, we are called upon to explain ourselves and defend our profession and our industries when a major problem occurs. Meanwhile, some NGOs use hyperbole and paint the blackest picture to block engineering innovation.

I’m still looking for the perfect way to explain the difference between hazard and risk to a sceptical public. Risk and uncertainty are inevitable in all human endeavour, but careful management and great engineering renders potentially dangerous processes as acceptably safe as driving a car or enjoying a summer barbecue.

We need to continually emphasise that without risk, there can generally be no reward, and that much of the scientific and engineering achievement that we now take for granted was originally greeted with fear, hostility and often, outright scaremongering.

Gillray cartoon showing the ‘impact’ of Smallpox vaccine

Picture Credit | Wikipedia
Gillray cartoon showing the ‘impact’ of Smallpox vaccine

The ChemEng365 blog was a modest attempt to counter this state of affairs and in many ways we have succeeded. Throughout my presidential term, in many different parts of the world, I have been repeatedly thanked for standing up and speaking out for chemical engineering.

Here’s one small piece of unsolicited feedback:

The blog is excellent and has increased my pride in my profession enormously…

If I have done nothing else, other than to help chemical engineers to feel proud and confident about what they do for the world, then it was well worth unearthing and publishing all 365 stories.

At the end of the day, this blog hasn’t been about me at all. It’s been about hundreds and hundreds of chemical engineers all over the world, in industry – on the plant and in research and development – and in academia, who are making a very real difference!

The stories that I have recounted are all about people who create, sustain and improve the quality of life here on earth and I salute every last one of them.

I trust that the blog has instilled you with the confidence to stand up, speak out and tell your own stories.

I’ll close with a familiar theme. Everything that IChemE does is built around the goal of advancing chemical engineering worldwide.

SpeakerWe do it for the simple reason that chemical engineering matters. That’s not a cliché, it’s a fact.

Facts and opinions are of course two very different things; but I trust that, armed with the abundance of facts that have appeared in this blog over the last 365 days, my readers are now firmly of the opinion that chemical engineering matters.

If you are, great! But don’t tell me; tell others.

5 thoughts on “One year, 365 days blogging as IChemE President (Day 365)

  1. It had been enriching moments reading your posts for a whole one year. I hope more educating stuff will be passed on to the followers of ICHemE as we usher in Dr.Andrew Jamieson. Bid you farewell Engineer.


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