Chemical and Biological Engineering  
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Department Milestones

The UW-Madison Department of Chemical Engineering, founded in 1905, is well known for its many contributions to education and research. Otto L. Kowalke, who became the department chairman in 1914, started a tradition of authorship with his Fundamentals in Chemical Process Calculations.

Transport Phenomena authors

Professors Lightfoot (left), Bird and Stewart, authors of Transport Phenomena, in 1960. (Large image)

Olaf A. Hougen came to the department for graduate study in 1916 and subsequently joined the faculty. He was both an international leader in the development of chemical engineering as a profession and a pioneer in chemical engineering education. The Olaf A. Hougen Professorship in Chemical Engineering is funded by the Hougen Professorship Fund of the University of Wisconsin Foundation. Colleagues and former students of Professor Hougen, other friends, and corporations have contributed to the fund to honor one of the founders of the modern chemical engineering profession.

Hougen and Kenneth M. Watson were co-authors of the three-volume text titled Chemical Process Principles (Material and Energy Balances; Thermodynamics; Kinetics & Catalysis), which was a milestone in the literature of the profession because of its emphasis on applying the basic principles of mathematics, chemistry and physics to the analysis of chemical processes. Roland A. Ragatz, who served on the department faculty for nearly half a century, was a co-author of subsequent editions of this text.

Another milestone was the 1960 publication of Transport Phenomena, by faculty members R. Byron Bird, Warren E. Stewart and Edwin N. Lightfoot. Both this text and Chemical Process Principles have had a major impact on chemical engineering curricula in the United States and abroad. A second edition of Transport Phenomena is forthcoming (see the Spring/Summer 2001 issue of On These Foundations for an update).

Other widely used undergraduate text-books written by department faculty include Strategy of Process Engineering by Dale F. Rudd and Charles C. Watson, An Introduction to Chemical Engineering Kinetics and Reactor Design by Charles G. Hill, Jr. and Process Dynamics, Modeling and Control by B. A. Ogunnaike and W. Harmon Ray.

In addition, numerous advanced textbooks and research monographs have been written by our current faculty members.

Wisconsin Chemical Engineering Centennial, 1905-2005

Campus view in 1907

On August 12-14, 2005, the department celebrated its 100th birthday, with a centennial celebration that drew more than 300 alums, guests and friends. They came to Madison from around the world (literally) to reminisce, renew old friendships and learn about the past, present and future of the Chemical and Biological Engineering department at UW-Madison. The program opened with a reception Friday evening at Memorial Union, looking out over a beautiful view of the Union Terrace and Lake Mendota. The following morning Bob Bird told us about the history of the department, Harmon Ray highlighted the accomplishments of its alumni and Jim Rawlings showed where the department is today and how it is moving forward into its second century. On Saturday evening, 400 alums, guests, faculty and current grad students and postdocs packed into the Great Hall at Memorial Union for a banquet and program with master of ceremonies Juan de Pablo. On Sunday, alums were on their own to enjoy a gorgeous day in Madison. MORE ...

Copyright 2007 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Date last modified: 24-Aug-2007
Date created: 13-Apr-2004
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