Revisiting the Future of Chemical Engineering [Interviews]

By Sonja Bradfield on
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The first meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers was held in Pittsburgh PA, December 1908. Our profession has seen dynamic and profound change in the 110 years since that inaugural meeting. At the 2018 AIChE Annual Meeting, the 110 Year Celebration will look at chemical engineering, 25 years in the future.  

Leading up to this event,  AIChE presents "Revisiting the Future of Chemical Engineering," a blog series featuring predictions from these leaders in academia, industry, and government (national laboratories) on what the profession will be like 25 years in the future. This series reprises a similar effort completed for AIChE's Centennial Celebration ten years ago.

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Phillip Westmoreland's picture

We welcome the perspectives of others who wish to comment. To help interviewees frame their visions, we posed the same four questions as in 2008 and chose chemical engineers from different sectors and development areas, different geographies, and different career stages, expecting them to build their visions from their particular perceptions. The questions were: 1. Looking into the next 25 years, how do you expect your industry/research area to evolve due to market and technological opportunities? 2. Traditional core areas of ChE expertise like applied chemistry, transport processes, process analysis and design, and business/communication skills are being augmented and changed by new expertise in science and engineering at molecular and nanometer scales, in biosystems, in sustainability, and in cyber tools. Over the next 25 years, how will these changes affect your industry/research area? 3. What new industries/research areas do you foresee, appearing as wholly new or between existing ones? 4. These are important aspects that make up the future chemical engineering profession. So are the needs for advancing initial and continuing education; high standards of performance and conduct; effective technical, business, and public communication; and desires for a better and more sustainable future, individually and collectively. Considering all these factors, what do you think the chemical engineering profession will be like 25 years from now?