The department of Chemical and Biological Engineering held its second successful "away game" in September, with faculty and emeritus faculty from the department joining a diverse group of east coast alumni at the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum in Philadelphia for a reception, presentation and discussion about educating the next generation of engineers.
The first Wisconsin Connection event was held in Houston in 2010, and we hope to continue the series in areas around the country where we have large concentrations of departmental alumni—we're looking at Minneapolis next, so for those of you in that area, stay tuned.
Special thanks to the Philadelphia organizing committee: Jeff Brake (PhD '03), Kevin Fogash (PhD '97), Theresa Good (PhD '96), Pierce Hubbard (PhD '06), Bill Krekelberg (BS '03), Tony Liu (PhD '89), Tunde Ogunnaike (PhD '81), and Dan Patience (PhD '02).
Jeffrey Greeley (PhD '04) of Argonne National Laboratory received a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Early Career Award for his work to develop computational models for enhanced understanding of chemical and physical processes at electrode/fluid interfaces. Through monetary awards, the Early Career Research Program supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the areas supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science.
Rudiyanto Gunawan (BS '98) was appointed last year as Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Systems Engineering at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, moving from the National University of Singapore where he established a reputation as a leading scientist in the field of chemical-biological systems analysis. His approach to research combines methods from the engineering sciences with mathematical modeling and concepts of biology. Rudi has made important contributions to the understanding of programmed cell death and the aging of mitochondria.
J. Michael Jensen (BS '73) was honored with this year's Distinguished Achievement Award from the UW College of Engineering for his 34-year career with Procter and Gamble that enabled him to couple his love of technology with his passion for innovation. After holding several positions in research and development, Mike retired in 2008 as global vice president of research and development for P&G. In addition to creating new or reinventing existing P&G businesses whose products had major effects on consumers' lives, Mike also devoted energy as a recruiter to developing the R&D organization itself, recruiting, among others, hundreds of Badger alumni to lead P&G initiatives worldwide, and he has been a champion—both inside and out of P&G—for building a diverse, inclusive culture.
Bernhard Palsson (PhD '84) and Genomatica, a spin-off company he co-founded, have been awarded the 2011 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the "Greener Synthetic Pathways" category. Genomatica was recognized for its efforts to produce major industrial chemicals—those made and sold in billions of pounds per year—with better economics and a smaller environmental footprint, using genetically engineered microorganisms and renewable feedstocks. Bernhard also has been selected to receive the 2012 Promega Biotechnology Research Award from the American Society for Microbiology.
Jeffrey Siirola (PhD '70) served on the blue-ribbon committee of the American Physical Society that prepared a report titled, "Direct Air Capture of CO2 with Chemicals" to better inform the scientific community on the technical aspects of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The report determined that DAC would not be pursued aggressively until the world has largely eliminated centralized sources of CO2 emissions, especially at coal and natural gas power plants, either by substitution of non-fossil alternatives or by capture of nearly all of their CO2 emissions. From what is now known, the report concludes, it would not be wise to delay dealing with climate change on the grounds that at some future time DAC could be available as a significant compensating strategy.
Donald Woods (PhD '61), Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering from McMaster University, has published a new book, Motivating and Rewarding University Teachers to Improve Student Learning—A Guide for Faculty and Administrators, from the City University of Hong Kong Press. With improving student learning as the ultimate goal, Don suggests many concrete ways to change the teaching practice and, more importantly, the culture of a university.