Elected in 1972
“For contributions and leadership in development, engineering, and marketing of new chemical processes.”
BY P. L. THIBAUT BRIAN
RALPH LANDAU died on April 5, 2004. The co-founder of Scientific Design Company, Inc., which later became the Halcon SD Group, he was probably the most gifted and successful chemical industry innovator of his generation. Under his leadership his company became the major world source of new petrochemical processes, contributing to about one-fourth of all new processes in the period between 1960 and 1985. Licensing of these technologies and design of the plants to produce them resulted in more than 400 plants in 40 countries.
Ralph Landau was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 19, 1916. He attended Overbook High School and developed a keen interest in mathematics and science. He then enrolled in the chemical engineering program at the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a B.S. degree in 1937. With a Tau Beta Pi fellowship to attend any university, he enrolled in the doctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He attended the School of Chemical Engineering Practice and then completed his doctoral thesis, earning an Sc.D. degree in 1941.