News from Chemical Engineering

Simon L. Goren, Chair

Space, the final frontier: We have labored too long in cramped and archaic research space. Anticipation is rampant as the College's newest building, Tan Hall, nears completion. Over the course of the 1996 Fall Semester, much of Chemical Engineering research will move into five floors of modern and attractive research space in Tan Hall and the remaining Chemical Engineering research will be consolidated in Gilman Hall.

The research groups of Professors Blanch, Clark, and Keasling (biochemical engineering and bioseparations) will occupy the fourth floor of Tan Hall plus renovated space on the fourth floor of Latimer Hall, which is on the same level and connected by a hallway. The research groups of Professors Bell and Iglesia (heterogeneous catalysis and reaction engineering) will move to the third and part of the second floors of Tan Hall. The research group of Professor Radke (surface and colloid phenomena and multiphase flow in porous media) will occupy the remaining part of the second floor. The research groups of Professors Muller (flows of complex fluids) and Maboudian (surface chemistry relevant to electrical and optical materials processing) will occupy the B level below the plaza. And, the research groups of Professors Denn (polymer fluid flows and polymer-surface interactions), Graves (plasma processes related to semiconductor manufacture), and Reimer (use of NMR techniques to study structure-property processing relationships in electronic, polymeric, and catalytic materials) will occupy the D level of Tan Hall.

The third floor of Gilman will be devoted mostly to the electrochemical engineering research programs of Professors Cairns and Newman (batteries, fuel cells, and transport phenomena in electrolyte solutions). Professor Prausnitz's research (thermodynamics of phase equilibria) will occupy part of the second and third floors of Gilman Hall. The research group of Professor Chakraborty (modeling of polymeric and other materials using quantum and statistical mechanics) will be located on the second floor of Gilman Hall. Venerable old Gilman Hall will require much needed and expensive renovation to properly house these research groups and the research groups of new Chemical Engineering faculty.

This year we are authorized to recruit for two new faculty members at the junior or senior levels. While we have strong interests in chemical processing, polymer science and engineering, electrochemical engineering, and modeling materials from the molecular perspective, the search will be open to all outstanding candidates with interests in frontier areas of chemical engineering. The Search Committee consists of Harvey Blanch, Clay Radke, and myself. Alums are welcome to send us names of outstanding candidates or urge such candidates to contact us directly.

We were saddened to announce in last Spring's News Journal the passing of Charles Tobias on March 6, 1996. Charles had a brilliant career at Berkeley. He joined UC Berkeley in 1947 when Chemical Engineering was a newly formed division within the College, and played a pivotal role in its development into one of the top chemical engineering departments of the world. Charles almost singlehandedly brought electrochemical engineering into the modern age. He was a prime mover in the Electrochemical Society, being its President in 1970-71, and in the International Society of Electrochemistry, being its President in 1977 and 1978. His awards are numerous and prestigious, including election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1983. Charles served as Chair of the Department from 1967 to 1972 and was Acting Dean of the College in 1978. He was Acting Director of the University Art Museum in 1972 and on its Board in 1972-73 and 1974-75. Charles retired in 1991 after 44 years of service to the University. Upon retirement he received the most distinguished award the Campus can bestow, the Berkeley Citation for Distinguished Achievement. Retirement in Charles' case is a misnomer. He was active supervising graduate students, writing, and advising the Department Chair until only weeks before his death.

Everyone who knew Charles was indelibly stamped by his wit and wisdom, his love for science and music, and his never lacking and seldom wrong advice. I am happy to say that even after retirement, Charles was a frequent advisor to me on personal and professional matters. An extremely moving memorial for Charles was held on Sunday, April 14, 1996, in the Great Hall of The Faculty Club. The overflowing attendance and the inspirational messages testified to the encouragement, guidance, and support that Charles gave to all sorts of individuals: students, faculty, and Hungarian refugees. Two of Charles' former graduate students, Dick Alkire and Gina Whitney, reminisced about him as a research and personal advisor. Their remarks about Charles vividly and accurately brought back the intense feeling of what it was to know this gentleman. I especially enjoyed a story told by an old hearts playing companion, George Maslach, about Charles being promised by his father a trip to anywhere in Europe when he completed his bachelor studies. Upon so doing, Charles selected to go to San Remo, a noted casino. True to his word, Charles' father paid for the trip, but knowing his son, he did this by wiring funds to Charles on a day by day basis. Charles was a reasoned gambler in his scientific and engineering career. He tackled the tough and important problems in electrochemistry, but from a fundamental perspective. He brought an order and scientific approach to what was before only a compendium on empirical and often contradictory observation. Virtually everyone now working in the U.S. in this field can trace his or her engineering lineage to Charles Tobias. The best memorial we can think of is a continued vigorous program in electrochemical engineering at Berkeley.