Sujit Datta Is AIChE’s 2023 Allan P. Colburn Award Recipient

First presented in 1945, the Allan P. Colburn Award for Excellence in Publications by a Young Member of the Institute is given to an AIChE member in their early career. The award is sponsored by DuPont. 

This year, AIChE presents its Allan P. Colburn Award to Dr. Sujit S. Datta, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University. He is being honored for outstanding contributions to chemical engineering through publications on the physicochemical dynamics of flow instabilities, swellable and shrinkable gels, and living systems in complex porous environments.

Dr. Datta and the other Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients will be recognized at the 2023 AIChE Annual Meeting, November 5–10 in Orlando, Florida.

About Sujit Datta

Beginning at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied mathematics and physics, Sujit Datta earned his PhD in physics at Harvard University, where his focus turned to fluid dynamics and instabilities in soft and disordered media. He went on to do postdoctoral training in chemical engineering at Caltech, where he studied the biophysics of the gut with Rustem Ismagilov. 

Dr. Datta joined Princeton in 2017, where his lab studies the dynamics, self-organization, and applications of complex, soft (“squishy”), and living systems. Datta’s research has shed new light on the behaviors of complex fluids and bacterial populations in complex environments, and this insight is guiding the development of new approaches to environmental remediation, energy production, agriculture, water security, and biotechnology. 

The work from Datta’s Princeton lab has helped to revolutionize the fields mentioned above, and has been documented in more than 75 articles to date. These publications have appeared in such high-impact journals as Science Advances, PNAS, Nature Communications, Physical Review Letters, Physics of Fluids, and Journal of the American Chemical Society. 

Datta also leads STEM outreach efforts to bring together diverse perspectives and provide access to researchers from traditionally underrepresented groups in studies of soft and living systems.

Dr. Datta’s scholarship has been recognized by a variety of communities, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of his work. In addition to AIChE’s Colburn Award and an AIChE 35 Under 35 Award, Datta’s honors have included the ACS Unilever Award, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, three awards from the American Physical Society (Early Career Award in Biological Physics, Andreas Acrivos Award in Fluid Dynamics, and the Apker Award), the Arthur Metzner Early Career Award from the Society of Rheology, a Pew Biomedical Scholar Award, an NSF CAREER Award, and numerous commendations for teaching.

This fall, ChEnected is presenting profiles of all the 2023 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients. Visit ChEnected regularly to meet the honorees.