Ravi Datta, WPI professor and CHE department head and keynote guest speaker Esin Gulari pause for a picture during the seminar.

New Frontiers in Chemical Engineering: Impact on Undergraduate Curriculum

Friday, May 7, 2004
Higgins Laboratories, Room 116
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA 01609

WPI, a national leader in educational innovation, is pleased to host a workshop on the future of the discipline of Chemical Engineering and its impact on the undergraduate curriculum.

The vital discipline of Chemical Engineering is in a state of flux. Its contributions to the betterment of society remain unsurpassed. However, the future appears uncertain. The petroleum and the commodity chemicals industries are no longer the dominant employers of Chemical Engineers, who now work in increasingly diverse industries. Exciting new opportunities exist at the interface with biology, medicine, environmental science, materials science, and computer science. These are summarized in the recent report by NRC entitled "Beyond the Molecular Frontier. Challenges for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering". However, this vitality and excitement about the future is not evident to the high school student. Enrollment in Chemical Engineering has declined nationally in recent years as students chose other related disciplines founded on molecular sciences (chemistry and biology). Further, the typical Chemical Engineering curriculum has remained virtually unchanged over the past three decades.

The questions that this workshop seeks to address are:

Leaders from the various traditional and new segments of the chemical industry will speak on the future of their industry followed by a discussion of what new skill sets are required and how they might be incorporated into the UG curriculum.

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Last modified: Nov 03, 2004, 09:23 EST