John Chen, former dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science
, spent nine days in Australia in April, touring the country’s major cities to speak on the future of the chemical engineering profession.
Chen, the president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
(AIChE), was invited to Australia by the Institute of Engineers Australia. Also known as “Engineers Australia,” the institute is a federation of engineering colleges, technical societies, national committees, and interest groups in Australia.
The Chemical College Board of Engineers Australia once every two years chooses an international “Eminent Speaker” to do a lecture tour in Australia. Chen, as this year’s Eminent Speaker, spoke in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and New Castle last month. He called on engineers to seek technical solutions to modern challenges, giving particular emphasis to achieving energy sufficiency with environmental sustainability. His lectures were received enthusiastically, and several individuals and organizations sought follow-up contacts.
The urgent need to develop new sources of energy is a theme Chen has spoken on before as AIChE president. Writing in the op-ed pages of the Allentown Morning Call
in April 2006, he said:
“The energy challenge is humanity’s race against a diminishing quality of life and an economic crisis. This race will not be a sprint, but a marathon…Solutions [will] require the best scientific and technical capabilities, far-sighted government leadership, industry investments, and public knowledge and understanding, from the United States and all countries involved.”
In 36 years at Lehigh, Chen has served as professor in the departments of chemical engineering and also mechanical engineering and mechanics, as chair of chemical engineering, and as director of the Thermo-Fluids Institute.
In his research, Chen studies transport phenomena in multi-phase systems, an area affecting industries ranging from power production, to petroleum refining, to polymer processing.
He has published more than 200 technical articles, including one from 1966, “Correlation for Boiling Heat Transfer to Saturated Fluids in Convective Flow,” which in 2003 received the Classic Paper Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Chen has won 16 other major national or international awards, including the Max Jakob Memorial Award, which is the top international prize for achievements in the science and technology of heat transfer.
AIChE, the premier professional society for chemical engineers worldwide, has 40,000 members, 15 technical divisions, more than 100 professional sections, and numerous student chapters, including an active chapter at Lehigh.