IIT Roorkee organizes 4th edition of Prof. J.B. Lal Memorial Lecture on ‘The Future of Chemical Engineering Teaching’

Roorkee: The Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee organized the 4th edition of Prof. J B Lal Memorial Lecture. The online lecture on The Future of Chemical Engineering Teaching aimed to review the teaching of chemical engineering in the past and explore needed changes for the future.

Prof. Edward L. Cussler Jr. Emeritus Professor, Chemical Engineering & Material Science, University of Minnesota (USA), and Former President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) graced the event as a key speaker at the lecture. He delivered a lecture on ‘The Future of Chemical Engineering Teaching’ which witnessed the presence of Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, Prof. VC Srivastava, Head of Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee, Prof. Shishir Sinha, Prof. Deepak Kumar Ojha, Prof. Ashish Yadav, Prof. HP Veluswamy, and Prof. Shushil Kumar.

The lecture delivered by Prof. Edward L. Cussler Jr. stressed stimulating the necessary reexamination of chemical engineering. His lecture was focused on three pillars – the material to be taught, how it should be taught, and how the content will change.

 “Importance and guidance of quality teaching in the field of chemical engineering needs to be understood for the upcoming generations. The majority of students will stop their education with a bachelor’s degree; therefore our teaching should focus on topics that these students shall probably use in their forty-year of career. We must review the teaching of chemical engineering from the past to discover the required changes for the future” said Prof. Edward L. Cussler

He emphasized that the teaching should be focused on those topics which are likely to be used by the students throughout their career span. Such a scope can be summarized as “poetry” and “grammar,” that is, on the key ideas behind what we teach, and how these ideas are structured.

The lecture shed light on how we should teach, are exemplified two figures. The first, John Calvin, a Protestant theologian, believed that his teaching presented the ultimate truth, the revealed word of God. We should avoid this arrogance. The alternative, associated with the philosopher Socrates, is that a teacher should guide the students in reviewing what is now believed and in exploring where future ideas should go. The approach of Socrates is more apt for chemical engineering. The lecture emphasized how teaching should change in the future, starts by recognizing that our profession has centered on fossil fuels, especially petroleum. In the future, we should expand to energy resources like solar and wind power, spark interest in food and clothing, and include new routes to health.

“We are honored to have Prof. Edward L. Cussler Jr. for delivering the 4th edition of Prof J.B. Lal Memorial Lecture. He is an inspiration for everyone in the field of Chemical Engineering. Prof. Cussler delivered a remarkable lecture on the teaching of Chemical Engineering and the changes required for the future” said Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee

Prof. Edward L. Cusslerhas served as Director, Vice President, and President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He is currently working as a distinguished Institute Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota. He obtained his B.E. with honors from Yale University in 1961, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1963 and 1965, respectively, working with E. N. Lightfoot. Prof. Cussler has received the Colburn and Lewis Awards and the Institute Lectureship from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). After thirteen years of teaching at Carnegie-Mellon University, Cussler joined the University of Minnesota in 1980. He has written over 250 articles and five books, including Diffusion, Bioseparations, and more recently, Chemical Product Design. He has received the Separations Science Award from the American Chemical Society, the Merryfield Design Award from the American Society of Engineering Education, and honorary doctorate degrees from the Universities of Lund and Nancy. Cussler is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, organizes Prof. J B Lal memorial lecture every year, to commemorate its founding Head Prof. J B Lal. The lectures are mainly focused on evolution and advances in chemical engineering education. Prof. (Dr.) Jagraj Bihari Lal was the founder Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee (earlier University of Roorkee) from January 1966 to July 1969.

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