AIChE Endows Lectureship Honoring William R. Schowalter | AIChE

AIChE Endows Lectureship Honoring William R. Schowalter

William R. Schowalter (left); Michael D. Graham (right)
William R. Schowalter (left); Michael D. Graham (right)
August 22, 2019

The AIChE Foundation has announced a new lectureship inspired by the career contributions of William R. Schowalter — a Fellow and former director of AIChE, and the Class of 1950 Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, at Princeton University. The lectureship was established to recognize Schowalter’s outstanding contributions to both the technical and educational foundations of the chemical engineering profession.

The inaugural William R. Schowalter Lecture will be presented by Michael D. Graham, the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on Nov. 13, 2019, at the AIChE Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. Graham’s talk, “Flowing Complex Fluids, from Blood to the Buffer Layer,” will describe the flow of blood in microcirculation, as well as segregation in blood and other confined multicomponent suspensions.

Schowalter’s career accomplishments span seminal research in the field of fluid mechanics, as well as visionary academic leadership as department chair at Princeton and subsequently as dean of engineering at the University of Illinois. Schowalter has also served as an international ambassador for higher education in his role as an advisor to the presidents of the National University of Singapore and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia.

Reflecting Schowalter’s broad contributions to chemical engineering, the lecture’s focus will alternate from year to year between topics related to fluid mechanics, typically delivered from an academic perspective, and topics of general interest to chemical engineers, typically presented by speakers from industry.

Pablo Debenedetti, incoming chair of the AIChE Foundation and Schowalter’s colleague at Princeton, helped to establish the new lectureship, which was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor. In discussing Schowalter’s contributions to the profession, Debenedetti said that it is highly unusual for a chemical engineer’s career to encompass such a broad range of activities, and to do so with such unqualified distinction. “Bill’s work has influenced countless chemical engineers, and he has truly been a force for good,” said Debenedetti. About the lecture, he added, “By addressing both fluid mechanics and topics of general interest to our profession, this lectureship is a fitting tribute to Bill’s scholarship and his humane and generous vision, leadership, and integrity.”

Michael Graham joined the chemical engineering faculty at the Univ. of Wisconsin in 1994, and he chaired the department from 2006 to 2009. His research has explored the rheology and dynamics of polymer solutions and suspensions, especially under confinement, as well as instabilities and turbulence in Newtonian and complex fluids. He is the author of the textbooks “Microhydrodynamics, Brownian Motion, and Complex Fluids” and (with James Rawlings) “Modeling and Analysis Principles for Chemical and Biological Engineers.” He has served as an associate editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics. Graham is vice president of the Society of Rheology. He earned his BS and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton and Cornell University, respectively.

The William R. Schowalter Lecture supplements a roster of prominent lectures held in connection with AIChE’s conferences. Information about the lecture, and the AIChE Foundation endowment fund that supports it, is available at

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