2011 Lectureship Recipient

Professor John Prausnitz

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of California, Berkley


"Thermodynamics For Biotechnology"

The great advantage of thermodynamics is its broad range of applicability. Chemical engineers (and others) have developed chemical thermodynamics as a powerful tool for solving technical problems for gases, petroleum, petrochemicals and polymers; as increasing numbers of chemical engineers work in the expanding area of biotechnology, there is a need to develop chemical thermodynamics for application to biological substances. To illustrate this development, some examples are presented to show how thermodynamic concepts and methods may be useful for establishing new processes and new products in biotechnology.


"Chemical Engineering for the Postmodern World"

Our world is in a perpetual state of change. How must chemical engineering change to remain relevant and to continue to serve society?
Many philosophers, social scientist, historians and literary critics have shown convincingly that contrary to popular belief, art does not follow life; instead, life follows art. When we look at what art has been telling us for the past 100 years, we find many of the characteristics that describe today’s postmodern world.
To remain relevant, chemical engineering must not only expand its range of activities to serve new areas of technology such as electronic materials, biotechnology, energy and nanoscience. To remain relevant, chemical engineering practice and education must also give attention to meeting social needs such as environmental protection, trust-in-advertising, safety of products and safety in production; promotion of women, and policies that are sympathetic to family life.
Sharp boundaries are rapidly disappearing not only between formerly separate scientific areas; they are also becoming increasingly diffuse between what chemical engineers do at work and what they do at home. The postmodern world calls for chemical engineering with a human face.
These topics are described with pertinent examples and illustrations.