Entering a New Golden Age of Chemical Engineering

Originally delivered Sep 10, 2014

Chemical engineering expertise is essential for a wide variety of areas that are shaping the world’s future, making this truly a new Golden Age of ChE. At the same time, a hallmark of our scientific and technological advances is that they must address larger contexts, and we must aid both industry and public decision-making. Consider these trends:

  • The new abundance of hydrocarbon resources
  • Biology’s turning into a molecular science
  • Computing’s evolution into a cyberinfrastructure
  • Manufacturing’s shift to emphasize processes and properties
  • Society’s need for the breadth and problem-solving approaches of chemical engineering.

Looking more broadly, for the next hundred years bio-oil products will face difficult competition with abundant gas and oil from hydrofracturing. That sets up conflicts between our intertwined societal aspirations of having both energy and environmental quality. Our knowledge is crucial for providing the technologies and the information to fill such needs wisely and to achieve our world's highest aspirations.

Be sure to read the related blog series "We Are ChE: Entering a Golden Age", authored by AIChE's 2014 Past President, Phil Westmoreland.

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