11/06/2008 08:00:00

Four Caltech Faculty Members Named Among 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era

American Institute of Chemical Engineers lauds Frances Arnold, Mark Davis, Julia Kornfield, and John Seinfeld

PASADENA, Calif.--Four members of the 11-member chemical engineering faculty at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) were honored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in their list of 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era, published in the October issue of their magazine, Chemical Engineering Progress.

"Now in its second century, the chemical engineering profession--like the Institute--has been shaped and sustained by the achievements, leadership and imagination of thousands of engineers," the AIChE wrote in introducing its list.

The four Caltech chemical engineers named were

* Frances H. Arnold, the Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry, who was recognized for "research on engineering biological systems, particular proteins and genetic regulatory networks, (e.g., using novel enzymes to catalyze cellulose hydrolysis)." The AIChE also noted that Arnold is the only woman to have been elected to all three branches of the National Academies: the National Academy of Engineering (in 2000), the Institute of Medicine (in 2004), and the National Academy of Sciences (in 2008).

* Mark E. Davis, the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering, who was recognized for "pioneering work in new catalytic materials and chemical sensors using ceramics and electronic materials."

* Julia A. Kornfield, professor of chemical engineering, who was recognized for "work on polymer blend dynamics; flow alignment of liquid-crystalline and block polymers; physical aspects of new biomedical materials."

* John H. Seinfeld, the Louis E. Nohl Professor and professor of chemical engineering, who was recognized for "developing first models describing urban air quality" and for being "one of first to describe linkage between urban ozone and global climate change."

"I'm very proud that my colleagues have been recognized in this way by the most important professional organization in the field of chemical engineering. Their selection reflects well on the Caltech approach to things, which is to stay small while maintaining the highest possible standards in education and research," says David Tirrell, chair of Caltech's Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

"At Caltech, I'm inspired to work on the hardest problems, because the students here can solve them," adds Frances Arnold. "This honor, awarded to almost half our department, certainly recognizes that."

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Written by Lori Oliwenstein