IChemE X ExxonMobil – sharing the passion for chemical engineering

This week we showcased six videos as part of our latest #ChemEngProfiles series, which were recorded last year with ExxonMobil UK. ExxonMobil are one of the top employers of chemical engineers, and one of the biggest oil and gas corporations in the world. The company has 19 refineries worldwide, one of which is based in Fawley, Hampshire, UK. They are also one of our Gold Corporate Partners.

In this brand new series, five of ExxonMobil’s chemical engineers,tell us what they love about their job, why working towards or achieving chartered status is important to them, and how the company is investing in the next generation of chemical engineers.

Continue reading IChemE X ExxonMobil – sharing the passion for chemical engineering

Connecting with our student membership at Frank Morton 2019

FM - team photoLast week we travelled down to the University of Sheffield to chat with chemical engineering students from all over the UK, at the Frank Morton Careers Fair.

The event provides us with a great opportunity to engage with students and host some friendly competition of our own. This year the IChemE stand was transformed into a Harry Potter theme, with photo props, our own IChemE every-flavour-beans, and Quidditch Beaker Pong.

Students took it in turn to play, and with five ping-pong balls each had to get the highest score they could. The balls had to travel through a gold Quidditch hoop, bounce once, and land in one of the chemistry beakers to get points. Serena, part of our Member Communities team, was on-hand to spot any cheaters!

In the end, Assekan Bali from University of Wolverhampton got the high score with 45 points. She wins an Amazon voucher and coveted ‘Yer a Chemical Engineer, Harry’ T-Shirt.

fm4We also had chance to visit some of the employer sponsors who were on-hand to provide practical advice and information about graduate placements to the 2,000 students who filled Sheffield’s Octagon Centre. They included 3M, AstraZeneca, Bechtel, GSK, Johnson Matthey, Phillips 66, Total, Unilever and Wood.

The Careers Fair precedes the Frank Morton Sports Day, an annual event for chemical engineering students where they compete against each other to be crowned champions of undergraduate chemical engineering. Competitions range from the more traditional, such as football and netball, to the more alternative, with this year including an Escape Room challenge.

fm1The University of Newcastle came in third, winning the Netball and doing well at the Escape Room and Dodgeball. Sheffield, determined not to be embarrassed on their home turf, took home second prize after coming top in the Tug of War, Fun Run, Men’s Rowing.

But the University of Birmingham triumphed yet again and took home the coveted Frank Morton Trophy for the fifth time in a row. They had a number of successes on the day, winning in Ultimate Frisbee, Darts, Dodgeball and Pool.

Every year at Frank Morton students put their creative skills to the test and design special t-shirts for their teams. The University of Manchester won the T-Shirt Competition this year, with their clever chemical engineering take on Ariana Grande’s smash-hit single, ‘Thank U, Next’.

The evening then continued late into the night, with entertainment to suit all tastes.

Committee President, David Miller commented:

“Frank Morton returned to Sheffield for the first time since 2003 as a smashing success. The great variety of evening entertainments were of particular note with everything from cinema, jazz, gaming and mocktails through to a bar crawl, Scott Mills, Karaoke and our very own DJ Soc. On behalf of the committee I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in ironing out the hiccups of the day, especially to our amazing Student Union.”IMG_1426

Of course, the special thing about Frank Morton is that it is organised by chemical engineering students, for chemical engineering students. It is a significant undertaking to balance around studying, but can be advantageous in the future in terms of boosting your CV. The students on the Sheffield Frank Morton Committee shined this year, putting on a great event for everyone to enjoy. Well done to them all:

IMG_1787

David Miller – Committee President
Joel Kirk – ChemEngSoc Liaison
Alex Castling – Secretary
Dimitris Koutris – Treasurer
Zak Nicholls and Sophia Van Mourik – Sports Coordinators
Eve Rosser – Entertainment and Catering Coordinator
Yashodh Karunanayake – Sponsorship Coordinator
Greg Ouseley – External University Liaison
Ellie Langshaw – Transport and Logistics Coordinator
Usman Anwar – Ceremonies Coordinator:

…not forgetting the University of Sheffield Student’s Union which helped to ensure it all ran like clockwork.

Sheffield will soon be accepting bids from Universities looking to host the event in 2019. We’ll keep you posted on the result.

View the Frank Morton 2019 photo gallery here. Some of these photos were taken by Adam Harris, follow him on Instagram here.

How do you feel female chemical engineers are raising the bar?

 

 

After a successful campaign in 2017, the team behind International Women in Engineering Day, wanted to aim higher for 2018 and have created the theme #RaisingTheBar.

We felt this was a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and how these successes are ‘Raising the Bar’ for aspiring female engineers.

We wanted to see what our members thought, so asked them: How do you feel female chemical engineers are raising the bar?

Thank you to all the responses we’ve had – it’s been great to see them.

We’ve collated the responses from the chemical engineers below. We’ll be sharing them on Twitter throughout International Women in Engineering Day. Continue reading How do you feel female chemical engineers are raising the bar?

Assessing quality research in the UK: new key roles for chemical engineers

Science and engineering research is key to innovation as society evolves. Breakthroughs are happening every day, all over the world, in laboratories and in field research.

Assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, evaluating its impact to ensure world-class, dynamic and responsive studies are maintained, and providing accountability for public investment is a big job – and one carried out by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Continue reading Assessing quality research in the UK: new key roles for chemical engineers

A fourth win in a row for Birmingham at Frank Morton 2018

There’s only one thing on your mind in February if you’re a UK chemical engineering student. Nope, not Pancake Day, not Valentine’s, not even your exams or Final Design Project (okay maybe that’s on your mind a little). It’s the Frank Morton Sports Day!

The annual gathering is special because it is just for them, chemical engineering students from up and down the UK. One day to get to know prospective employers, compete with rival Universities in sports from hockey to chess, all rounded off by a night of entertainment.

University of Leeds took on the monumental task of hosting this year, with a committee of eight students. The Frank Morton Sports Day is a huge undertaking for the students, who find time to organise a sports competition, careers fair, and night out for more than 2,000 students – all whilst studying.

The event was generously supported by Essar Oil, Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, AstraZeneca, Essar, GSK, Pfizer, Phillips 66 and TeachFirst. IChemE was also there to support the event, and invited students to participate in I’m a Chemical Engineer, Get Me Out of Here! 

Continue reading A fourth win in a row for Birmingham at Frank Morton 2018

IChemE in Numbers: a 2017 round-up

cropped-ar1.jpgIChemE’s offices close from today until 2 January 2018. It’s been a busy year, and in today’s blog post we take a look at some of the highlights in numbers.

Remember, our Annual Review is published in May 2018 – giving a comprehensive overview of IChemE’s 2017 activities and achievements. Check out the Annual Review archive here. 

We look forward to working with you in 2018. If you are a volunteer, thank you for your support. If you have engaged with us, if you have attended our events, if you have joined the conversation via this blog or social media – thanks for helping us to advance chemical engineering worldwide.

Season’s Greetings and best wishes for 2018.


Continue reading IChemE in Numbers: a 2017 round-up

IChemE Books – All you want for Christmas?

Journals in a libraryFor many years, IChemE was a stand-alone publisher of chemical engineering books and had a small but dedicated team of staff administering the process. More recently, we have conducted our publishing activities in partnership with Elsevier. This has seen the introduction of many new titles, while other successful titles with Elsevier have been adopted by the joint programme.

However, there is still a lengthy back catalogue of titles which were published by IChemE prior to our Elsevier partnership. They are unfortunately at the stage where they are getting a little out of date. But just like a dog isn’t just for Christmas, neither is chemical engineering knowledge! That is why we would like to work with our members to develop new and updated editions for some of these titles.

Initial feedback is that some of the books below are still incredibly useful to our members, and new editions would be a good initiative. But which titles do you think need updating first? Which are the best of the bunch?

Please see below all the books currently on the IChemE back catalogue. We would value your feedback on which titles you would most like to see a new edition of, and why.

To tell us, simply comment below or send an email to communications@icheme.org

We are looking to collate the feedback at the end of January 2018.


Continue reading IChemE Books – All you want for Christmas?

10 job hunting tips for chemical engineering graduates

The first semester of university is underway. For some chemical, bio-chemical and process engineering students, it’s their final year; for others it’s their first September for sometime not spent in a lecture theatre or lab.

Those who have recently graduated and haven’t yet found a placement or role at a company, you’re probably thinking hard about your career. For those in their final year, it’s never too early to start getting some ideas of what job you’d like.

Either way, it can be a daunting prospect. Where do you begin? How do you prepare for job hunting and those all important interviews to come?

Here are our top 10 tips to help in your job hunting journey.

Continue reading 10 job hunting tips for chemical engineering graduates

Recognising excellence in chemical engineering research #ichemeawards

It’s Friday, and the final stage of our IChemE Global Awards winners round-up. We hope you’ve enjoyed the posts this week, and learnt a little more about each of our winners.

jr3c3118

Today we are shining a light on the research superstars of the Awards. IChemE has always maintained strong ties with the academic community, supporting the host of ChemEngDayUK each year and accrediting courses. We also do proactive work with our UK Research Committee, who last night launched ten chemical engineering research case studies that have had a significant impact on the UK economy. Read all about the research event, held in Parliament, here.

So, on to the winners and the final three IChemE Global Awards videos, produced in association with Morgan Sindall. All these winners have demonstrated fantastic research capability, but most importantly their studies have a real-world application that can really make a difference.

Enjoy these final three videos, and season’s greetings to all our members worldwide.

Continue reading Recognising excellence in chemical engineering research #ichemeawards

Chemical engineering matters for the developing world #ichemeawards

Thanks for joining us for round two of our blog series, celebrating the very worthy winners of the IChemE Global Awards 2016. With help from our friends at Morgan Sindall we have produced a video for every category, and each one includes a special interview with the winners.

5j5a3100

Yesterday we looked at some life-changing products, and the theme remains the same in today’s post. However today’s products have a little something extra – they have been specially designed to help tackle a problem in low-middle income countries.

This goes to show that chemical engineering really does matter, and that the work of chemical engineers doesn’t just make our lives easier – it is solving some of the world’s biggest poverty issues.

Enjoy the three videos below, and stay tuned the rest of the week when we reveal even more winning projects.

Continue reading Chemical engineering matters for the developing world #ichemeawards

Five chemical engineering research stories from September 2016

To help you stay up-to-date with the latest achievements from the chemical engineering research community here is our monthly instalment with some of the latest stories.

September’s five stories of amazing chemical engineering research and innovation are:

The Popeye effect – powered by spinach

spinachPopeye was right; we can be powered by spinach! Researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a bio-photo-electro-chemical (BPEC) cell that produces electricity and hydrogen from water using sunlight, using a simple membrane extract from spinach leaves. The article, publish in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrates the unique combination of a man-made BPEC cell and plant membranes, which absorb sunlight and convert it into a flow of electrons highly efficiently. The team hope that this paves the way for the development of new technologies for the creation of clean fuels from renewable sources. The raw material of the device is water, and its products are electric current, hydrogen and oxygen.

Continue reading Five chemical engineering research stories from September 2016

Ten things to do after graduation

Graduation hats

This week’s heatwave has reminded us all in the UK that summer is finally here, and for many students this means one thing – final projects have been handed in, last exams have been sat, and the ceremonial end to University is in sight – graduation.

If you are a final year chemical engineering student you may have already had your graduation, if not it’s just around the corner. This is a time to celebrate all your hard work and thank those who have helped you make it this far.

It may be the end of an era, but don’t panic about what comes next. You are about to begin your journey to become a professional chemical engineer.

But where to start? Here’s our ten top things to do after graduation:

Continue reading Ten things to do after graduation

Top 5 UK Women in Chemical Engineering #NWED2016

The Top 50 Women in UK Engineering was published today by the Daily Telegraph, in partnership with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). It celebrates female engineers across a broad range of sectors and disciplines to mark National Women in Engineering Day – 23 June. Over 800 nominations were received, so to make the Top 50 is a huge achievement.

But which chemical engineers made the list?

1. Dame Judith Hackitt

IChemE AGM 20 05 13

The first chemical engineer to make the list (coming in at number 18), Dame Judith Hackitt, spent 23 years in industry before moving on to represent various professional institutions and boards. She was the Chair of the Health and Safety Executive for 8 years, and has recently become Chair of the EEF.

Judith was IChemE President 2013-2014, is an IChemE Fellow and an active member of the Institution. She is passionate about valuing diversity, and is strongly opposed to positive discrimination and tokenism. An interview we did with Judith for International Women’s Day is available here.

TOP QUOTE: “Teachers are ill-informed about engineering. They don’t know what it is and they have pre-conceived notions that it’s dirty, its greasy, it’s all these things which it’s not. And they say ‘No, that’s not for girls.’ You still find that even now, forty years later.”

Continue reading Top 5 UK Women in Chemical Engineering #NWED2016

Relevance in a Changing World

On 24 May 2016 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Professor Jonathan Seville was inaugurated as IChemE President for 2016-17. The Executive Dean of Engineering at University of Surrey delivered his Presidential Address on the subject of relevance. Jonathan challenged us all to think: how will the Institution and the profession stay relevant in a world that is rapidly changing?

Continue reading Relevance in a Changing World

ChemEngDay UK 2016 – Highlights

ChemEngDay UK, the UK’s annual chemical engineering conference for the research community, came to a successful close last week. Hosted this year by the University of Bath, it welcomed over 250 delegates to Bath from across the UK and beyond.

28937 Chem Eng Day 31 March 2016. Coverage of the Chemical Engineering conference held at the University of Bath in the Chancellor's Building. Client: Carolina Salter - Chem Eng and Rob Breckon - Press Office

ChemEngDay UK was begun to facilitate networking between chemical engineers across UK universities. Attended predominantly by PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and academics, together with delegates from industry, it is the only chemical engineering conference in the UK for the academic community.

Check out some event highlights below:

Continue reading ChemEngDay UK 2016 – Highlights

Guest blog: #WorldWaterDay

IChemE’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are an essential way for our members to share knowledge and collaborate on initiatives, which are of significance to their sector.

drop on water

Today is World Water Day, and our Water SIG is a hugely important part of providing expert advice and consultation to the innovations that could change our world. Water is essential to life, it must be sustainable or we cannot survive. Chemical engineers are an important part of making sure water provision is sufficient, clean, economical, and environmentally-friendly.

Chris Short, Chair of the IChemE Water SIG, explores in more detail the current challenges for the water sector in today’s blog post. Read on to hear his thoughts, and feel free to join the conversation on Twitter using #WorldWaterDay or by leaving a comment below:


chris-short

Name: Chris Short
Job: Consultant and Chartered Chemical Engineer
Company: Chris Short Water Quality (previously Yorkshire Water)
Special Interest Group: Water, Chairman

Quote start
Today is World Water Day, and I’ll be attending a conference in Leeds, UK, on Innovations in Wastewater Treatment. The focus will be on the recovery of value from wastewater and I expect to hear how leading-edge technologies are performing and what new processes are being evaluated by researchers.

This is exciting stuff.

Continue reading Guest blog: #WorldWaterDay

Guest Blog: Does oil have a future?

UCL Ramsay Society Panel
UCL Ramsay Society Panel L-R: Jama Salimov (moderator), Paul Ekins, Abhishek Goswami, Myrian Schenk and John Kemp

The UCL Ramsay Society held its Annual Debate on the Friday 4 March. The topic – ‘Does oil have a future?‘ – explored areas such as energy policies, emissions, sustainability and the cyclic nature of the oil and gas industry.

The panel members were; Professor Paul Ekins , Dr Myrian Schenk, Abhishek Goswami and John Kemp.The event ended with a Q & A session with members of the audience.

IChemE member Matthew Howard was there to report on the debate. Here are his thoughts:


Matthew HowardName: Matthew Howard
Job: Process Engineer
Course: Chemical Engineering (MEng), University of Cambridge
Graduated: 2011
Special Interest Group: Oil and Natural Gas SIG Webcast & Education Officer

Quote startIt quickly became clear that this year’s UCL Ramsay Society Debate “Does Oil Have a Future” was somewhat of a forgone conclusion; its title mirroring alarmist traditions of media headlines which you could imagine exclaiming “Oil is Dead”.

While this would be great news for atmospheric CO2 concentrations, there was agreement between the speakers that yes, oil does have a future. But the question remains, for how long?

Continue reading Guest Blog: Does oil have a future?

Why join IChemE?

We hope you have been keeping up with our ChemEngProfiles video blogs. Over the last few weeks, we have shared the stories of twenty chemical engineers – at various stages in their careers, and working for some of the biggest companies in the world.

Last week we gave you ‘Five powerful reasons to be a chemical engineer at Shell’, following the success of our previous posts – ‘Five sweet reasons to be a chemical engineer at Mondelez’, ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at BP’, and ‘Five great reasons to be a chemical engineer at Syngenta’. So what’s next?

The thing that our interviewees had in common was that they are all IChemE members, and they view membership as an important addition to their CV.

IChemE_10mm_RGBIn today’s post we’ve turned the spotlight on ourselves – IChemE, the global professional membership organisation for chemical, biochemical and process engineers.

Continue reading Why join IChemE?

Three is the magic number for chemical engineering education (Day 363)

Today is Day 363 and the end of my time in the blogosphere is getting closer. I have just three days left to shine a light on chemical engineering.

And since three is the magic number, according to the music of Schoolhouse Rock and De La Soul, I think it’s fitting to focus on three topics that underpin an excellent chemical engineering education. A sound knowledge of these topics, coupled with an ability to apply them in a practical setting, is a key part of the learning outcomes from an IChemE accredited degree course of which there are over 200 on offer in 60 university departments in 13 countries.

It’s fair to say that without a fundamental grounding in core chemical engineering principles, none of the achievements that I have described over the last twelve months would have been possible. And whilst this is not an exhaustive list, I’ve attempted to distil the richness of our profession into just three topics – topics that no chemical engineer can live without.

I’d be interested to hear if you agree with my three choices and, because there is no right or wrong answer in a debate like this, readers should feel free to disagree – and comment on the blog.

Without further ado, here are my top three topics:

1. Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is the branch of physics concerned with heat and temperature and their relation to energy and work. It defines macroscopic variables, such as internal energy, entropy and pressure, that partly describe a body of matter or radiation.

It’s a rite of passage for first year chemical engineering undergraduates to get to grips with the laws of thermodynamics – and seemingly endless hours spent looking at steam tables!

pic to represent thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is an essential part of chemical engineering.  We need to understand how energy is transferred within a system and to its surroundings. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to analyse or design a chemical process. One the first stages of designing a process from concept phase is performing a material and energy balance. It’s a tough topic, but we’d be sunk without it.

Continue reading Three is the magic number for chemical engineering education (Day 363)

CCS equals ‘Carbon Capture and Students’ (Day 355)

As regular readers will recognise, I am based at Imperial College London and today, I want to describe some of the work that goes on here.

The Carbon Capture Pilot Plant
Photo Credit | Imperial College London
The Carbon Capture Pilot Plant

I am the Professor of Energy Engineering, in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and much of my research is now built around carbon capture and storage (CCS). I’d like to tell you a little more about the work on carbon capture here at Imperial, with particular focus on our carbon capture pilot plant.

The carbon capture pilot plant is so big that it stretches over four floors of our building, right at its centre – which is pretty impressive for a university pilot plant and helps provide a sense of scale for the real thing.

The pilot plant provides our students with an opportunity to grapple with some of the practical challenges that they will encounter in industry. It certainly presents the opportunity to hone a few of the skills that might prove useful in the  future.

Continue reading CCS equals ‘Carbon Capture and Students’ (Day 355)

The wisdom of Trevor Kletz – the ‘founding father’ of inherent safety (Day 353)

Trevor Kletz
Photo Credit | tce
Trevor Kletz

The name, Trevor Kletz, needs little introduction to anyone who has been involved with chemical process safety over the past forty years. Trevor died in 2013 at the age of ninety.

He is greatly missed but his impact on the chemical engineering profession was enormous and his name is rarely uttered along without the words ‘hero’ or ‘guru’ as well as ‘teacher’, ‘mentor’ or ‘friend’, in the same breath.

Trevor spent his entire career at ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries), and by the time of his retirement in 1982 he had created a safety culture within the company with a major positive impact on accident statistics.

This success was attributed to his powerful intellect on one hand, but also to his exceptional communication skills. Trevor’s ability to reduce complicated issues to simple fundamentals was the stuff of legend.

Continue reading The wisdom of Trevor Kletz – the ‘founding father’ of inherent safety (Day 353)

Planning for the future – say YES (Day 352)

Throughout my blog, I have highlighted some important chemical engineering innovations.  I wanted to shine a light on the valuable contribution that my profession makes to the world around us.

Some of the most important work that we do isn’t just using our technical knowledge; it’s talking to the next generation of chemical engineers and sharing that knowledge.

My first work experience of industrial chemistry and engineering, a summer job at Podmore and Sons pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, sparked an interest that shaped my future career.

Amec Foster Wheeler LogoBeing exposed to different careers can give a taster for chemical engineering. These experiences can spark excitement and interest that can grow into a fruitful career.

With this in mind, IChemE is proud to support an initiative run by Amec Foster Wheeler. The Amec Foster Wheeler Young Engineers Scheme (YES) has been developed by the company’s engineering teams in Reading, UK, to encourage student involvement in engineering.

Continue reading Planning for the future – say YES (Day 352)

Engaging the public through Really Small Science (Day 347)

Outreach is a really important part of being a chemical engineer. Inspiring the next generation of engineers should be a priority for all of us.

really small science 2Throughout my year as president, I have become more aware of the great outreach initiatives and campaigns run by companies, organisations and universities around the world.

I’m proud to see so many chemical engineers who are enthusiastic about shining a light on our profession.

I recently attended a presentation given by Dr Mark Haw, senior lecturer in chemical and process engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. He talked about a fantastic group of researchers who run nano-themed workshops to engage with schools and the public through ‘Really Small Science‘.

So I have asked Mark to tell us more about their nano-enterprise:


mark_haw
Name
Dr Mark Haw
Job:
Senior lecturer in chemical and process engineering
Course: PhD Colloidal Physics, University of Edinburgh, UK
Employer: University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

 

Quote startWe started ‘Really Small Science‘ with funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2013. The original project was to run a four day event at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Continue reading Engaging the public through Really Small Science (Day 347)

Training the next generation of chemical engineers (Day 339)

I think I may be a little unusual amongst chemical engineering professors in that I started out in academia, before switching to a career in industry and then switching back again. I recounted the story in my presidential address: Chemical engineering matters everywhere – reflections on a journey from academe to industry, and back again

Based on these experiences, I am always keen to initiate and promote new relationships between industry and academia.

However, I am by no means alone in valuing the importance of such relationships.

Delegates who attended ChemEngDayUK2015 in Sheffield, UK last month, heard from a range of industry speakers.  The main conference sponsor was the German industrial conglomerate Siemens.

Sean McDonagh
Photo Credit | Siemens
Sean McDonagh

Sean McDonagh, who leads the chemicals team for Siemens Digital Factory Process Industries & Drives, gave a very insightful contribution during the opening session.  I caught up with him shortly afterwards and he told me about one of Siemens’ latest projects –  which focuses on strengthening those all important links between industry and academia.

Last year’s ChemEngDayUK, hosted by the University of Manchester, saw the official opening of a new pilot plant situated within the James Chadwick Building. The plant features Siemens’ distributed control system’. It is designed to help students learn about advanced process automation.

Continue reading Training the next generation of chemical engineers (Day 339)

Using podcasts to achieve educational excellence in South Africa (Day 337)

For an individual to excel at chemical engineering, both a good education and personal determination are needed.

Chemical engineering education must be built on a solid foundation in the fundamental principles of chemical engineering science. However, there is a need to constantly review and modernise not just our course content, but the way we deliver it as well.

Chemical engineering students
Photo Credit | UCT
Chemical engineering students

The Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, has a research group dedicated to engineering education. This group contributes to a wider collaboration in the Centre for Research in Engineering and Science Education (CREE).

At UCT, there is a passion to provide the best possible foundation for young chemical engineers.

Continue reading Using podcasts to achieve educational excellence in South Africa (Day 337)

A teacher worthy of Frank Morton’s mantle (Day 334)

What does it take to be a good teacher?

FM medalChemical engineering professor Frank Morton had some very good ideas – perhaps because he left school aged 14 and worked his way through night school and then university to achieve global recognition for his dedication to future generations of chemical engineers.

Frank was also distinguished by his care for the sporting and social side of his students’ lives (see my blog ‘Work hard, play hard‘ for the 2015 Frank Morton sports day).

So, sharing this dual perspective, Professor Redhouane Henda of Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada, is a very worthy winner of the 2014 Frank Morton Medal for excellence in chemical engineering education.

I’m sure we all remember good teachers on our way to becoming chemical engineers.

Continue reading A teacher worthy of Frank Morton’s mantle (Day 334)

Shaping the evolution of chemical engineering – The Sargent Medal (Day 326)

Many people in the chemical engineering community have taken their inspiration from Professor Roger Sargent who served IChemE as its President in 1973. Roger is described by many as the “Father of process systems engineering”.

It was entirely fitting that IChemE should create a medal in his honour in 2014 to recognise research in computer-aided product and process engineering (CAPE).

Photo Credit | Carnegie Mellon University  Professor Ignacio E Grossmann
Professor Ignacio E Grossmann
Photo Credit | Carnegie Mellon University

The first recipient of the Sargent Medal is himself an undisputed leader in the field.

So it gives me real pleasure to congratulate Ignacio Grossmann, the Rudolph R. and Florence Dean University Professor of Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, US on this great achievement.

Roger Sargent’s influence in the field of process systems engineering is massive – not just because of his ground-breaking research, but also because of the extraordinary scale of his academic ‘family tree’ of research students. By the beginning of the 21st century, the tree included seven ‘generations’, numbering over six hundred people in all.

Continue reading Shaping the evolution of chemical engineering – The Sargent Medal (Day 326)

Here’s why chemical engineers make a difference (Day 318)

shout outOne of the central messages in my presidential address was the resolute assertion that chemical engineers should stand up and speak out.  We need to tell the world about the difference that we make.

I’ve been repeating this mantra pretty much ever since. Indeed that’s the driving purpose behind this blog.

But there’s a key consideration in all of this that engineers of all types frequently overlook.  We have to talk to the public in a language that they understand. This sometimes proves challenging because let’s be honest, some of the stuff that we do is pretty complicated.

Thirty years ago we could get away with fobbing people off with the argument that “it’s over your head; don’t worry; leave it to us…” But that won’t wash today. We have a duty to explain what we do and we must be able to explain things simply and lucidly.

Continue reading Here’s why chemical engineers make a difference (Day 318)

A chemical engineer sings about university life! (Day 306)

By now, regular readers of this blog will have realised that I’m pretty passionate about chemical engineering, its application and why it matters the world over. The students I teach share my view, but they can be a bit more creative at expressing it.

Sandy Nimmo, a final year undergraduate at Imperial College, penned a song to describe his experience whilst studying our beloved subject. Rest assured, this is not part of the curriculum, but it just goes to show how inspirational chemical engineering can be.

Have a listen to his song ‘Music for Engineers’ here:

The years spent at university can be some of the best of your life, and as they draw to an end, its only natural to reflect on the time you’ve had. And this is exactly what Sandy did with his song.

Continue reading A chemical engineer sings about university life! (Day 306)

Earth Hour, how about Earth Year? Use #YourPower (Day 305)

Tonight at 20:30, all over the world, individuals, companies, government organisations, and possibly even Her Majesty the Queen, will switch off their lights.

03_EH 60+ LOGO_STACKED CLR_JPEGThis symbolic gesture marks Earth Hour, initiated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2007 as a lights-off event to raise awareness of climate change.

162 countries and territories worldwide now take part in Earth Hour.

You can get involved and help to raise awareness about climate change by switching off your lights at 20:30 local time for one hour. You can share your thoughts on the climate change challenge on Twitter using #YourPower.

I recently came across the story of one country, Costa Rica,  whose citizens are prepared to go much further in the battle against climate change. Since the beginning of the year, Costa Rica has avoided the use of fossil fuels altogether.

The Costa Rican government recently issued a press release announcing that during the first quarter of 2015, they relied on renewables for 100 per cent of their power generation.

Continue reading Earth Hour, how about Earth Year? Use #YourPower (Day 305)

Ten animals that are also chemical engineers (Day 300)

Day 300 and counting.  It’s a nice round number so I thought I’d talk about something a little bit different.

We often assume that engineering is something unique to humankind. However, if you take a closer look at the animal kingdom, you soon realise that this is not the case.

Some animals have been exploiting chemical engineering principles for so long, we are now taking inspiration from them; see my blogs on ’Deep sea printers’ or ‘‘Hand-made’ pills inspired by a starfish‘.

The classic example of an animal engineer is the beaver, behaving like a civil engineer and building dams. This made me curious to find animals that act like chemical engineers and here are my ten favourite examples:

Continue reading Ten animals that are also chemical engineers (Day 300)