Elected in 1970
“For pioneering contributions to the fundamental analysis of chemical processes and leadership in chemical engineering education.”
BY DAN LUSS AND ARVIND VARMA
NEAL R. AMUNDSON, Cullen Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and professor of mathematics at the University of Houston, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2011, at the age of 95. He was a transformational figure, considered by many to be the most prominent and influential chemical engineering educator in the United States.
His contributions to the chemical engineering profession were both revolutionary and multifaceted. They included introducing science into a field that before his time was dominated by an empirical and qualitative approach. Amundson charted an innovative course that transformed the profession and led to the development of a science-based methodology guided by quantitative analysis. Starting in the 1950s, he repeatedly demonstrated the advantages of applying mathematical modeling and advanced solution techniques to predicting the behavior of complex chemical processes and systems. He pioneered the application of advanced mathematical techniques to understand the behavior of chemical processes, including chemical reactors, separation systems, polymerization, coal combustion, and atmospheric science. His research led to a deeper understanding of such systems and contributed to their better and safer design and operation. This approach is now widely followed all over the world in education, research, and practice.