Doherty Selected to Present 2020 AIChE Prausnitz Institute Lecture | AIChE

Doherty Selected to Present 2020 AIChE Prausnitz Institute Lecture

August 20, 2020

Michael F. Doherty, the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Process Systems Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been named the John M. Prausnitz AIChE Institute Lecturer for 2020. His lecture, entitled Innovation at the “Frontiers of Chemical Engineering Practice and Science,” is scheduled to be presented online on Nov. 18 at the 2020 AIChE Virtual Annual Meeting. Doherty is the seventy-second person to present the Institute Lecture.


The annual Prausnitz AIChE Institute lectureship is awarded to a distinguished member of the Institute who has made significant contributions to the chemical engineering sciences in his or her field of specialization. The lectureship is endowed by the AIChE Foundation and is named in honor of John Prausnitz, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, who pioneered the field of engineering-oriented molecular thermodynamics.

Doherty’s research focus is process systems engineering, with particular emphasis on crystal engineering for product and process design, and separation with chemical reaction. He is co-author (with Michael Malone) of the textbook, Conceptual Design of Distillation Systems, and he is editor of the distillation chapters in the 8th and 9th editions of Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook

He taught at the University of Minnesota and was Head of the chemical engineering department at the University of Massachusetts prior to joining the faculty at UC Santa Barbara in 2000, where he served as Department Chair from 2008 to 2013. He has also served as a consultant and expert witness, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards for the Royal Dutch Shell Group, The Dow Chemical Co., and other organizations.


With AIChE, Doherty has been a leader of the Computing and Systems Technology Division, and in 2004 he received the Institute’s Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research. In 2008, he was named by AIChE as one of “One Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era.”

Doherty is a trustee and former president of CACHE Corporation. He is also Co-Editor (with Rachel Segalman) of Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering — following its founding editor John M. Prausnitz. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received his BS from Imperial College, London, and his PhD from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, both in chemical engineering. 

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 members in more than 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at