University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Programs in honor
of Professor Hougen



Olaf A. Hougen was one of the founders of the modern chemical engineering profession. He had a keen sense of responsibility, and believed that leading research departments have an obligation to the profession and to society to work actively to strengthen the crucial link between the generation and dissemination of new knowledge. In this spirit, the following programs are intended to honor Professor Hougen. They are made possible through the outstanding generosity of the alumni and friends of the department who have contributed over many years to the endowed Hougen Professorship Fund through the University of Wisconsin Foundation.


Hougen Lectureship


Since 2013, the department established the Hougen Lectures, a new kind of activity for the Hougen program. Distinguished members of the international Chemical Engineering community are invited by the ChE faculty at UW to deliver two lectures within one week at UW-Madison. During the visit, Hougen Lecturers visit with current faculty on campus and interact more extensively with research groups closer to their field of expertise. Hougen Lectures are delivered by Hougen Visiting Professors, in case there is one in residence for a specific academic year.



Johannes A. Lercher

Department of Chemistry Technische Universität München
Institute for Integrated Catalysis, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

"Towards Understanding Catalyzed Transformation of Lignin to Fuels on a Molecular Level" (April 20, 2015)

"Influencing Catalytic Rates by Constraints – the Importance of the Environment" (May 1, 2015)

 Alex T. Bell

University of California-Berkeley

"The Role of Catalysis in the Conversion of Renewable Energy Resources to Fuels" (February 25, 2013)

"In Pursuit of a Molecular-Scale Understanding of Catalyzed Reactions – Lessons Learned from Experiments and Theory" (February 26, 2013)



The Olaf A. Hougen Professorship


Since 1979, the department has regularly invited distinguished members of the chemical engineering profession to Madison for extended stays as Hougen Visiting Professors. Over the years, these individuals have collaborated with faculty and student researchers, taught courses and presented public lectures in their areas of specialization, and developed texts, monographs, and other educational materials for a wider audience.


Hougen Visiting Professors:


2010 Abraham M. Lenhoff University of Delalaware
"Molecules, Particles, or Something Else:Proteins and Their Solution Thermodynamics" (Sept. 21, 2010)
"The Colburn Papers " (Nov. 2, 2010)
2009 Lorenz T. Biegler Carnegie Mellon University
"Advanced Nonlinear Programming Methods for Chemical Process Optimization" (Sept. 22, 2009)
2007 Jens K. Nørskov Technical University of Denmark
"A Molecular View of Heterogeneous Catalysis" (Sept. 18, 2007)
"The Role of Quantum Simulations in Materials Science and Discovery" (Oct. 23, 2007)
2006 Alejandro D. Rey McGill University
"Computational Materials Science of Liquid Crystals" (Sept. 26, 2006)
"Modeling Liquid Crystal Materials and processes in Biological Systems" (Nov. 21, 2006)
2004 Eric S.G. Shaqfeh Stanford University
"Progress and Prospects in Understanding Single Molecule Polymer Dynamics" (Jan. 22, 2004)
"Turbulent Drag Reduction Mechanisms by Fiber and Polymer Additives as Determined from Large Scale Simulation" (Mar. 4, 2004)
2002 Yannis G. Kevrekidis Princeton University
"Equation-Free Multiscale Computation: Enabling Microscopic Simulators to Perform System Level Tasks" (Sept. 12, 2002)
"Addressable Catalysts: Some Twists and Turns in the Path of Improving Surface Activity" (Oct. 3, 2002)
2000 Bernhard O. Palsson University of California, San Diego
"Where Has Biology Come To? A Glimpse into the World of Genomics" (Oct. 19, 2000)
"Cellular Part Catalogs; Reconstructing Biochemical Reaction Networks" (Oct. 26, 2000)
"Modeling Philosophy: of Single Points and Solution Spaces" (Nov. 2, 2000)
"Operating Systems of Genomes; Systemically Defined Pathways" (Nov. 8, 2000)
"Closing the Flux Cone: Imposition of Maximal Capacities" (Nov. 21, 2000)
"The Biological Design Variables: Kinetic and Regulatory Constraints" (Nov. 21, 2000)
1999 Wolfgang Marquardt RWTH Aachen, Germany
1998–99 Harold H. Kung Northwestern University
1997–98 Alice P. Gast Stanford University
1995–96 David A. Tirrell University of Massachusetts at Amherst
1993–94 Milos A. Marek Prague Institute of Chemical Technology
1992–93 Keith E. Gubbins Cornell University
1991–92 Arthur S. Lodge University of Wisconsin-Madison
1990–91 Matthew Tirrell University of Minnesota
1989–90 Douglas A. Lauffenberger University of Pennsylvania
1988 R.T.K. Baker Auburn University
1987 L.K. Doraiswamy National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India
1986 A. G. Fredrickson University of Minnesota
1984–85 Arthur W. Westerberg Carnegie-Mellon University
1984 William B. Russel Princeton University
1980–81 Robert C. Reid Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1979 Rutherford Aris University of Minnesota


Hougen Scholars Program


The Hougen Scholars Program, inaugurated in 2003, is intended explicitly to allow research leaders in the profession to devote time to the development of educational materials. In spring 2003, John Yin was selected as the inaugural Olaf A. Hougen Scholar on the basis of his proposal to develop biologically oriented instructional examples and problems for integration into the chemical and biological engineering curriculum.


The 2004 Hougen Scholar, Jay Schieber (UW PhD '89) from the Illinois Institute of Technology, returned to Madison to collaborate with Juan de Pablo on a new textbook in thermodynamics.


Hougen Symposium

Also inaugurated in 2003, the Hougen Symposium is an annual event intended to bring together a group of research leaders in chemical and biological engineering to exchange ideas and share with the public information on a topic of current interest to the profession and society generally.




Olaf Andreas Hougen

Olaf Andreas Hougen
(Larger image)

Olaf Andreas Hougen (1893–1986), former Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was one of the outstanding original contributors to the science and practice of modern chemical engineering. He is remembered for his inspired teaching, his leadership in engineering education and research, and his volunteer work in retirement for the university and the profession.


In his research activities, Professor Hougen developed important original and fundamental principles for the mainstream of modern chemical engineering: heat transfer, gas adsorption, thermodynamics, catalysis, applied kinetics, and process design. In his teaching, Professor Hougen's warmth of personality and sincere interest in each student's future were a source of inspiration to chemical engineers around the world. He instilled in his students a sense of responsibility to their profession and to society. Professor Hougen's influence on chemical engineering education in the United States and abroad was achieved through his numerous publications, many of which established patterns for chemical engineering teaching and research.


His many honors included five awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Esso Award of the American Chemical Society, and the Lamme Gold Medal Award of the American Society for Engineering Education. From 1961 through 1963, he served as a scientific attaché at the American Embassy, Stockholm, Sweden, and in 1974 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.