Meeting Sneak Peek: AIChE Annual Meeting Set for Boston, Nov. 7-11; Online Nov. 15-19 | AIChE

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Meeting Sneak Peek: AIChE Annual Meeting Set for Boston, Nov. 7-11; Online Nov. 15-19

Meeting Preview

Building the Bridge in 21st Century Education: Chemical Engineering Industry + Academia


This November, chemical engineering researchers, educators, and innovators worldwide will once again gather in-person when AIChE conducts its 2021 Annual Meeting in Boston, MA. A virtual version of the Annual Meeting will be available to all meeting registrants, including those who cannot travel to Boston.

The Annual Meeting — along with the associated Annual Student Conference — will be held at Boston’s John B. Hynes Convention Center, the Sheraton Boston, and the Marriott Boston Copley Place, Nov. 7–11, with the virtual meeting taking place online from Nov. 15–19. Chemical engineering undergraduates will convene in person from Nov. 5–8, and online from Nov. 13–14.

The meeting’s programmers are preparing to deliver the best of both the in-person and online experiences to conference participants. In-person sessions at the Annual Meeting — along with major lectures, keynotes, panels, exhibits, and poster sessions — will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing on the virtual platform for all attendees the following week. All registrants will have access to both the in-person and online meeting formats, and online viewers will enjoy a range of live virtual sessions, as well as on-demand viewing of in-person sessions at any time during the online meeting. Both the in-person and virtual meetings will provide unopposed time blocks devoted to networking on a variety of informative and enjoyable topics.

Technical program highlights

The meeting’s theme — Building the Bridge in 21st Century Education: Chemical Engineering Industry + Academia — will be underscored in discussions about new learning paradigms, incorporated into a program containing more than 750 technical sessions.

One new topical conference will explore material interfaces that address energy needs, with sessions addressing topics in solar energy, hydrogen storage, electro- and photo-catalysis, separations, and more. Another new conference examines innovations in process engineering, and highlights efficient and sustainable design, commercialization, and the use of processes and products. Other new and updated topical conferences expand upon the challenges surrounding waste plastics, workplace skills for chemical engineers, and intersectionality and inclusivity in the workforce.

Returning topical conferences showcase the role of chemical engineers as innovators. These conferences cover breakthroughs in synthetic and renewable fuels, microbes at biomedical interfaces, applications of data science to molecules and materials, sensors, entrepreneurship, and contributions toward solving the COVID-19 pandemic. The Next-Generation Manufacturing conference incorporates topics related to Industry 4.0, process intensification, smart manufacturing, and cybersecurity.

Registration information and the latest details about the technical program are available at

Spotlight on featured events

The meeting programmers have assembled a roster of prominent guest speakers for the meeting’s featured lectures and panels.

Emphasizing the meeting’s theme, while also advancing the objectives of AIChE’s Institute for Learning and Innovation, this year’s Annual Meeting program features panels that address the Academia-Industry Partnership in 21st Century Education. The first of these sessions (Nov. 8) will provide an update on the 2015 National Science Foundation survey on industry and academia alignment, and an outlook on how to better prepare future chemical engineers for the workforce. Presenters will include Yang Luo, Senior R&D Director for Process Technology at Honeywell Advanced Materials, and Phillip Westmoreland, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State Univ.

A second panel (Nov. 9), will explore the ways that industry and academia can best cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. Among the speakers at this session will be Anna Protopapas, President and CEO of Mersana Therapeutics.

The John M. Prausnitz AIChE Institute Lecture (Nov. 10) — The AIChE Foundation has endowed this lectureship in recognition of John M. Prausnitz (Univ. of California, Berkeley), the pioneer of chemical engineering-oriented molecular thermodynamics.

The 73rd Institute Lecture will be delivered by Arup K. Chakraborty, Institute Professor and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Physics, and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chakraborty will discuss the challenges faced in developing vaccines that are effective against rapidly mutating viruses, and how approaches from engineering and the life sciences are addressing this challenge.



SBE’s James E. Bailey Award Lecture (Nov. 9) — Sponsored by AIChE’s Society for Biological Engineering (SBE), this lectureship and award honor the memory of biotechnology pioneer Jay Bailey. The 2021 Bailey Award Lecture will be presented by James J. Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his lecture, “Synthetic Biology: Life Redesigned,” Collins will present an overview of synthetic biology applications in biotechnology and medicine.



Daniel I. C. Wang Award Lecture (Nov. 9) — Also sponsored by SBE, this lecture is named in appreciation of Daniel Wang’s contributions to education and research in bioengineering. William E. Bentley, the Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Chair of Engineering and the Inaugural Director of the Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices at the Univ. of Maryland, will deliver the 2021 lecture.



The Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering Lecture (Nov. 9) — The 2021 Andreas Acrivos Award Lecture will be delivered by the 2020 award recipient, David V. Schaffer, the Hubbard Howe Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Univ. of California, Berkeley. Schaffer’s lecture will describe the directed evolution of new adeno-associated viral vectors for clinical gene therapy.



The William R. Schowalter Lecture (Nov. 10) — Established in 2019, this lecture honors fluid mechanics pioneer William Schowalter (Princeton Univ.). The lecture’s focus alternates from year to year between topics in fluid mechanics, typically delivered by an academician, and topics of general interest to the profession, delivered by a speaker from industry. The 2021 Schowalter Lecture will be given by Eric S. G. Shaqfeh, the Lester Levi Carter Professor of Engineering at Stanford Univ., who will discuss particle suspensions in elastic fluids.



The Prausnitz, Acrivos, and Schowalter lectures are endowed by the AIChE Foundation. For the first time at the Annual Meeting (Nov. 8), another Foundation-endowed event will honor the recipient of the Langer Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Excellence and will feature remarks from Robert S. Langer himself. The 2021 prize recipient and lecturer will be announced online.

AIChE Celebrates the 2020 and 2021 Hoover Medalists

At the 2021 Annual Meeting, AIChE and the chemical engineering community will laud two chemical-engineering recipients of the Hoover Medal — an interdisciplinary prize recognizing an engineer whose endeavors have advanced the well-being of humankind.

The 2020 Hoover medalist is William S. Hammack, the Lycan Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For more than 20 years, Hammack’s public radio and internet appearances as the “Engineer Guy” have explained fundamental science and its application through engineering to a vast audience. Hammack receives the Hoover Medal and presents a lecture at the AIChE Annual Meeting on Nov. 8.



The 2021 Hoover Medalist is Cato T. Laurencin, University Professor, Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and CEO of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at the Univ. of Connecticut. Laurencin is being recognized for mentoring a generation of underrepresented engineers and for his work at the policy level to foster justice, equity, fairness, and diversity. He will lecture on these topics in two talks on Nov. 8.



As the world navigates the evolving circumstances related to the pandemic, safety remains AIChE’s chief concern for in-person meeting attendees. AIChE is working with the Boston venues to adhere to all local and national directives for social distancing and sanitizing protocols.

Visit for the latest program and registration information.


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