Ohio State’s L.-S. Fan Receives AIChE’s Warren K. Lewis Award for ChE Education

This fall, ChEnected is introducing readers to the recipients of AIChE’s 2022 Institute and Board of Directors’ Awards, AIChE’s highest honors. Recipients are nominated by the chemical engineering community and voted upon by the members of AIChE’s volunteer-led Awards Committee. (You can see more award winners in this series.) 

AIChE’s Warren K. Lewis Award is named for one of the founders of modern chemical engineering. The prize is sponsored by Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Company and recognizes distinguished and continuing contributions to chemical engineering education. 

The recipient of the 2022 Warren K. Lewis Award is Liang-Shih (L.-S.) Fan, Distinguished University Professor and John Easton Professor of Engineering and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University. 

L.-S. Fan is being honored for his multifaceted chemical engineering education contributions, which include outstanding teaching, superior textbooks, student and faculty mentoring, and outreach leadership to diverse groups, the general public, and K-12 students.

Dr. Fan and the other Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients will be honored at the 2022 AIChE Annual Meeting, November 13–18 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“I hope that my Lewis Award recognition will further invigorate the continued efforts of the particle science and technology field.”

About Fan and his work

Liang-Shih Fan’s research centers on multiphase reaction engineering and particle science and technology. As a proponent of particle science, he was the Founding Chair of AIChE’s Particle Technology Forum and he is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Powder Technology.

He is an author of 465 journal papers, 70 patents, and six books, including the widely adopted textbook Principles of Gas-Solid Flows. Another of his books, The Expanding World of Chemical Engineering, has gained popularity with general audiences as an introduction to chemical engineering. He has also delivered 36 named lectureships globally.

Dr. Fan’s impact on education has been extensive. In addition to service on the National Academies’ Diversity Work Force committee on K-12 STEM, he has been a faculty and student mentor at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), served on an NSF/AIChE book writing team for a high school “Active Chemistry” textbook, and has judged the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He has also served on the advisory board of the American Society of Engineering Education’s Journal of Engineering Education.

L.-S. Fan’s other activities include participation on AIChE’s Societal Impact Operating Council and on AIChE Journal advisory board. His teaching at Ohio State has been lauded with numerous awards – including the Engineering Faculty Mentoring Award – and he has advised more than 200 graduate students and post-doctoral associates.  

An advocate for PST

In expressing his gratitude for the Lewis Award honor, Dr. Fan noted that, in addition to the recognition that the award brings to chemical engineering education, he appreciates the attention his selection brings to particle science and technology (PST). “The PST field has not generally been accorded commensurate emphasis in traditional chemical engineering education,” says Fan, “despite the fact that over 50% of the intermediate and final products from the petrochemical, pharmaceutical, mining, and food processing industries are in granular form. Knowledge of PST’s basic concepts can be integrated into traditional chemical engineering courses such as transport phenomena and reaction engineering.”

Dr. Fan notes that available textbooks now teach some specific aspects of  PST, although more efforts in textbook writing in this field are needed. “AIChE’s Particle Technology Forum has promoted PST education, and I hope that my Lewis Award recognition will further invigorate the continued efforts of the PST field to secure its position in the main stream of the chemical engineering curriculum,” adds Fan.

This fall, ChEnected is presenting profiles of all the 2022 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients in this series. Visit ChEnected regularly to meet this year’s honorees.