Dr. Carol Hall of NCSU Named Rousseau Pioneer Award Recipient

This fall, ChEnected is introducing readers to the recipients of AIChE’s 2020 Institute and Board of Directors’ Awards, which are AIChE’s highest honors. Recipients are nominated by the chemical engineering community and voted on by the members of AIChE’s volunteer-led Awards Committee. These awards recognize outstanding achievements and world-class contributions across a spectrum of chemical engineering endeavors. 

The Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by a Woman Chemical Engineer 

The Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by a Woman Chemical Engineer is given to a member of AIChE who has made significant contributions to chemical engineering, and who has paved the way for women to have a greater impact on the profession.

The award is sponsored by Pfizer and is named for Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau, who was the first woman member of AIChE and a pioneer at Pfizer, where she designed the first deep-tank penicillin fermentation commercial plant during World War II.

This year’s honoree is Dr. Carol K. Hall, the Camille Dreyfus Distinguished University Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University.

Hall is being honored for her four decades of field-leading research accomplishments, as well as for her inspiring leadership in chemical engineering, and her tireless mentorship of colleagues — especially young faculty and women — at all levels of the profession.

I am honored to receive the Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau Award, which puts me in the company of its previous recipients…I am a fan of them all.

Dr. Hall's accomplishments

Carol Hall earned her BA and PhD — both in physics — from Cornell University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, respectively. After postdoctoral training in chemistry at Cornell, and work as an economic modeler at Bell Labs, she joined the Chemical Engineering Department at Princeton University in 1977 as one of the first women to be appointed to a chemical engineering faculty in the U.S. In 1985, she joined North Carolina State University, where her research applies statistical thermodynamics and molecular-level computer simulation to topics of chemical, biological or engineering interest involving macromolecules or complex fluids.

The author of over 285 publications, Hall delivered AIChE’s Institute Lecture in 2006 and received its Founders’ Award in 2015. She also served as Meeting Program Chair for AIChE’s Centennial Annual Meeting in 2008, and was a member of AIChE’s Board of Directors from 2009–2012.

Dr. Hall is a Fellow of AIChE, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Hall relfects on receiving the Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau Award

Dr. Hall reflected on the support and collaborations that have enhanced her career experiences.

I am honored to receive the Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau Award, which puts me in the company of its previous recipients — Frances Arnold, Elsa Reichmanis, and Paula Hammond. I am a fan of them all. I am indebted to my good friend Peter Cummings for nominating me and to Pablo Debenedetti, Alice Gast, Eduardo Glandt, and Keith Gubbins for writing support letters.

Carol Hall (front row, in green) with a recent class of students.

It has been my good fortune to wind up in chemical engineering, even though I trained in another discipline, because a few forward-thinking men decided to take a chance on me: George Stell, Robert Jahn, and Leon Lapidus. I have had a wonderfully fulfilling professional life. I adore working with grad students and postdocs. I have benefitted from working with amazing collaborators over the years, am grateful to the agencies that funded our work, and feel blessed to be in the warm, supportive environment that is NC State. 

AIChE has been my professional home. I am also grateful to Princeton University for giving me my start in chemical engineering. Finally I thank my wonderful family, and my loving partner, Sheldon Newman, for enriching my life, being there for me, and accompanying me on this journey.

The Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau Pioneer Award is graciously sponsored by Pfizer.

Stop back for more entries in our series on the 2020 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients, and catch up on any previous posts in the series you've missed.