Riley Lecture: Nanotechnology and Bioengineering in an Evolving Chemical Engineering World

Presented by Nicholas A. Peppas
University of Texas at Austin

Abstract: Nanotechnology and Bioengineering, have evolved out of chemical engineering  because of the need to address important societal problems. Emphasis in such areas has led to the solution of complex chemical engineering problems that required non-newtonian flows, non-ideal thermodynamics, multicomponent systems, macromolecular analysis and diagnostic/intelligent responsive systems. The introduction of these fields brought up also an emphasis on translational research, product engineering, development of devices/systems and processes and an associated emphasis on applications and commercialization. An unfortunate result of these changes was a shift of Chemical Engineering from fundamentals to applied sciences. I examine the underlying reasons for this shift, with emphasis on changes in societal needs in the 1970s to translational research that started in the late 1980s. I examine the impact of these changes on ChE education, including the academic shift towards applied sciences and the de-emphasis of fundamentals. We address  new  educational and research directions that will provide a corrective path towards convergence in chemical engineering.

Sponsored by the Dept. of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

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