Editorial: Engineering Stories | AIChE

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Editorial: Engineering Stories


This is an expanded version of the Editorial that appears in the January 2019 issue of CEP.

When I took on the role of senior director of publications last January and learned that my major goal for 2018 was to launch a new journal — the Journal of Advanced Manufacturing and Processing (JAMP) — I was more than a little nervous. I had never been involved with academic, peer-reviewed research publishing, let alone the start-up of a new journal. My manager assured me it would be fun, but I wasn't convinced.

Fast forward a year. We now have an awesome editorial team and an editorial board that stretches across the globe and spans the advanced manufacturing landscape. We are collaborating with the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute and other Manufacturing USA Institutes to cover topics ranging from modularization and smart manufacturing to cell and tissue manufacturing and biopharmaceutical processing. The inaugural issue is scheduled to hit the stands in April. AIChE members will be able to subscribe at no cost for the first two years — watch for details in the coming months. And, I can say that it truly has been fun.

I suspect the fun I am having launching JAMP pales in comparison to Barry Fitzgerald's experience. Fitzgerald is the founding editor-in-chief of Superhero Science and Technology, a peer-reviewed, online, open-access journal published on the Delft Univ. of Technology (TU Delft) Platform for Open Journal Systems. In his introduction to the first issue, he explains that the journal's primary aim is “to publish research in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and ethics that is motivated by the superhero genre. … By connecting research to popular culture elements from the superhero genre such as superheroes, supervillains, superpowers, scenes from films or the comic book literature, researchers can engage the general public in their work using a unique approach.” (And, of course, we like to think of chemical engineers as superheroes.)

A similar approach earned the recognition of AIChE's Education Div., which presented its 2018 Award for Innovation in Chemical Engineering Education to Lucas Landherr of Northeastern Univ. for "contributions to chemical engineering education through comics and animation that visualizes and teaches complex concepts." In his bio on AIChE Engage, Landherr explains, "I collaborated with a professional artist to create a 10-page comic to explain fugacity. The comic describes the thermodynamic basis for fugacity, key relevant equations, how it can be applied, and its larger purposes in phase and chemical equilibrium." He offered the comic for free online, and it is now being used at universities throughout the U.S. and in the U.K., Belgium, and Denmark.

Fitzgerald and Landherr are using nontraditional techniques to connect with their audiences. We at CEP aim to connect with you, our readers, through various means — tutorial-type features that provide practical problem-solving guidance; short news stories that report on the latest research developments; special sections that take an in-depth look at biological engineering, energy, and other subjects; and an assortment of columns that provide perspectives on career, safety, and technical topics. You can read the print issue of CEP or the online html version; you can download PDFs of articles and file them for future reference; and you can carry the latest issue in your pocket with the CEP app.

This month we hope to connect with you in a way that we don't often use in CEP — through a story. The Process Safety Beacon (p. 18) points out that "storytelling has been recognized for centuries as an effective way to impact the brain and the heart, as well as to preserve history," and that "stories are effective teaching tools … because they are engaging and memorable."

This issue's news feature (pp. 4–10) looks at the topic of women in engineering through an unusual lens and tells the story of the six women comprising America's first and only all-female class of chemical engineers. Whether you're a woman engineer or not, I think you'll find it fascinating on many levels. Click here and see for yourself.

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