News from Chemical Engineering

Simon L. Goren, Chair

 Attendance at our Alumni Reception during the November 1995 AIChE Meeting in Miami Beach was the largest ever. There were at least 300 alumni or guests who attended for part of the evening. To satisfy this hungry group, we had to double the food order. It was most enjoyable hearing about the successes of our alumni and bringing them up-to-date about changes in the department. We would like to see even more alumni at the next meeting.

 The 1996-97 academic year will mark a very significant milestone in our department's history, namely the fiftieth anniversary of our founding as a separate department. We plan to celebrate this golden occasion on the Berkeley Campus with an appropriate event. The nature and timing of the event will be announced shortly. Some of you may recall a special edition of the Gilman Hall Newsletter on our fortieth anniversary; Professor Foss put together a large number of letters from our alumni reminiscing about their experiences here as students. I would be very pleased to receive letters from you about the good old days and how well we did or did not (perish the thought) prepare you for the real world.

 Each year our Department invites a distinguished person as the Berkeley Lecturer in Chemical Engineering to spend several days on Campus interacting with our Faculty and students. The Lecturer also gives two talks. We choose someone whose research and teaching we highly value and whose presence on Campus, even for a short visit, will provide inspiration and stimulation to our own teaching and research efforts. I am happy to announce that this year's Berkeley Lecturer will be Professor Robert Langer of the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. The titles of his two talks are "Controlled Release Systems for Proteins and Other Molecules," scheduled for Monday, April 8, 1996, and "Polymers in Medicine: Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering," scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, 1996. Our alumni are invited to attend these lectures and we look forward to seeing a number of you then.

 Other visitors to the Campus this year include Stanley Sandler, on sabbatical leave from the University of Delaware for fall 1995; Howard Brenner on sabbatical leave from MIT for spring 1996; Levi Thompson on sabbatical leave from the University of Michigan for fall 1995 and spring 1996; and Lynn Gladden from Cambridge University as a Visiting Miller Research Professor for six weeks in spring 1996. Our alumnus, Henrik Wallman, is on part time leave from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and is teaching our undergraduate process control course this Spring. Moshe Sternberg recently retired as Senior Vice-President of Research and Development of the Biotechnology and Biological Drugs Division of Bayer and is co-teaching our graduate biochemical engineering course with Harvey Blanch this spring.

 In the latest National Research Council's ratings, 35 of the 36 departments at Berkeley rated were among the top ten departments of their group; Chemistry was rated #1 and Chemical Engineering was rated #3. Because of the excellence of the department and the campus as a whole, Berkeley remains a most desired destination for sabbatical leave visitors, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars or researchers. During the Spring 1996 Semester we will have 42 such visitors in the department. These visitors greatly enrich our research program. However, finding office space for all of them provides a concrete example of close packing. Our space problems should be greatly relieved when we gain access to the new building, Tan Hall, later this year.

 Many of you are aware of the financial pressures faced by institutions of higher education across the country. UC Berkeley was not exempt from such pressures. Our faculty size has been reduced by a wave of retirements to 16.5 full time equivalent ladder rank faculty. It does appear that the California State economy has been improving, so I prefer to believe that the hardest times are now behind us.

We are currently recruiting and interviewing candidates for an open faculty position. The candidates are extremely impressive. I look forward to introducing you to our newest faculty member in the next newsletter.

We are sorry to note the passing of 
Charles Tobias on Wednesday, March 6, 1996. 
A future column will honor his many 
contributions to this College and 
his profession.