A Distinguished Lecturer

Chemical engineering professor Michael Doherty has been selected to present the distinguished AIChE Lecture

UC Santa Barbara chemical Engineering professor Michael Doherty has received one of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) most prestigious honors: He has been selected to present the 2020 John M. Prausnitz AIChE Lecture.

The honor is awarded annually to distinguished AIChE members who have made significant contributions to chemical engineering in their field of specialization.

“I am extremely honored to be selected to give this lecture,” said Doherty, who holds the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Endowed Chair in Process Systems Engineering. “Over the decades I have attended a great many institute lectures, and the standard is very high. I am already thinking about topics, and soon I will contact former lecturers for their advice.”

"Michael Doherty has been an influential leader and past chair of the Chemical Engineering Department who has led numerous initiative, including a highly successful fundraising drive for Graduate Discovery Fellowships and Founders Chairs," said Rod Alferness, dean of the UCSB College of Engineering. "He is world renowned for his pioneering research in separation science and engineering, including the theory and applications of reactive separations. Most recently, his work has turned to the challenging field of engineering crystal growth for both batch and continuous processes. He is a superb scholar and we are delighted to celebrate with him this latest honor."

The lectureship is endowed by the AIChE Foundation in honor of John Prausnitz, a chemical engineering professor at UC Berkeley and a National Medal of Science recipient, who pioneered the field of engineering-oriented molecular thermodynamics. Doherty has strong connections to Prausnitz, having worked closely with him for the past decade on the journal Annual Reviews of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Prausnitz was the founding editor, while Doherty and Rachel Segalman, professor and chair of UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Chemical Engineering, were his co-associate editors; they took over as co-editors after Prausnitz retired.

“I have known John for almost my entire career, since I spent a sabbatical year with his sponsorship at UC Berkeley in 1984,” said Doherty. “He has been my mentor and advocate ever since, which has been a great act of generosity, since I was never one of his students.”

Doherty’s research focuses on process systems engineering with particular emphasis on crystal engineering, and separation with chemical reaction. He holds six patents, has published more than 200 technical papers and given more than 250 invited lectures.

Previously, Doherty was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and received the E.V. Murphree Award for Industrial and Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, and the Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research and three divisional research awards from AIChE. He was also listed among the top “One Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” in 2008.

Doherty hopes Prausnitz will be in the audience when he presents his lecture in mid-November during the 2020 AIChE Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The AIChE has more than 60,000 members from 110 countries.

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