IIT Roorkee organizes the 3rd annual edition of Prof J.B. Lal Memorial Lecture to commemorate his contribution to Chemical Engineering

Roorkee: The third edition of the Prof. J B Lal Memorial Lecture was organized online by the Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee. The objective of the initiative was to commemorate the achievements of Prof. J. B. Lal in the field of Chemical Engineering. A Padma Vibhushan recipient and the first Indian engineer to be elected as a Fellow of Royal Society, UK, Prof. Man Mohan Sharma, Emeritus Professor, University Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, was the key speaker on the occasion. Prof. Man Mohan Sharma delivered a lecture on ‘The Exciting World of Chemical Engineering and the Life of a Teacher in a University.’ The event witnessed the presence of Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director-IIT Roorkee, Prof. H. P. Veluswamy, Prof. Prateek Kumar Jha, Prof. Shishir Sinha, Prof. Shushil Kumar and Prof. A. K. Sharma.

Padma Vibhushan awardee Prof. M M Sharma said “Chemical engineering is a comparatively new branch of engineering that has enhanced the quality of living. The scope of chemical engineering encompasses technology from the nano level to the meso level. Chemical engineers work in diverse sectors ranging from apparel, manufacturing and much more. New frontiers in biotechnology-based products, particularly in downstream processing, new strategies in separations, nanotechnology, product engineering, formulation engineering, chiral engineering, utilization of renewable raw materials, particularly lignin (for example, from sugarcane bagasse), CO2 removal on large-scale from lean streams will require smart Chemical Engineering. The proliferation of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and widening scope of the subject can justifiably classify as it a Liberal Engineering discipline.”

“We are grateful to Prof M.M Sharma for delivering the JB Lal Memorial Lecture. He is a doyen and a father figure of Chemical Engineering. The Department of Chemical Engineering is proud of its legacy and aims to raise the bar higher through such activities. A memorial lecture by Prof MM Sharma will go a long way in motivating students and faculty to strive for excellence in research” said Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee

Prof. Man Mohan Sharma FREng (born on May 1, 1937, in Jodhpur, Rajasthan) is an Indian chemical engineer. He was educated at Jodhpur, Mumbai and Cambridge. In 1990, he became the first Indian engineer to be elected as a Fellow of Royal Society, UK. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan (1987) and the Padma Vibhushan (2001) by the President of India. He has also been awarded the Leverhulme Medal of the Royal Society, the S.S. Bhatnagar Prize in Engineering Sciences (1973), the FICCI Award (1981), the Vishwakarma medal of the Indian National Science Academy (1985), G.M. Modi Award (1991), Meghnad Saha Medal (1994). Professor Sharma has made tremendous contributions to chemical engineering science and technology. His studies on Bronsted based catalysis in CO2 hydration and, subsequently, the kinetics of COS absorption in aqueous amines and alkanolamines brought out a linear free energy relationship between CO2 and COS absorption in solutions of amines and alkanolamines. He has contributed extensively to the role of microphases in multiple reactions that he pioneered. He also became an independent Editor of Chemical Engineering Science at a young age.

He was educated at Jodhpur, Mumbai and Cambridge. Prof. Sharma obtained a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (1958) from UDCT (ICT) and, subsequently, MSc (Tech.) in 1960. He obtained Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering) (1964) at Cambridge University with PV Danckwert.

Professor J.B. Lal Memorial Lecture Series’ was started during the academic session of 2018-19. Prof. J. B. Lal (1910-1970) was the founding head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Roorkee. Prof. Lal completed his Doctor of Science from Allahabad University (1939), Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (1948) and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (1950) from College of Engineering, University of Michigan, US. He started his career as a research assistant at H. B. T. I., Kanpur. He joined as Head of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Roorkee in 1966. During his tenure at the university, Prof. Lal played a pivotal role in the establishment of various laboratories such as Fuel Lab, Technical Analysis Lab., Technical Instrumental Lab, Fluid Dynamics Lab., Mechanical Operation Lab, Heat Transfer Lab., and Mass Transfer Laboratories. He published more than 25 original papers on pure chemistry and more than 60 papers on Chemical Technology.

Prof. Lal won many accolades for his contribution to the field of Chemical Engineering. He was elected as an associate member of the Royal Institute of Chemistry of Great Britain & Ireland in 1944, a professional member of the Chemical Institute of Canada (M.C.I.C), Ottawa, ONT in 1947, member of the Indian Institute Of Chemical Engineers in 1953. He won the Oil Technologist Association of India Gold Medal for meritorious work in 1962, Rai Bahadur Maha Narain Memorial Gold Medal (1962) and Jaipuria Gold Medal (1963).

The Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee was incepted in 1966. It is the first department in India to have started an innovative Masters programme in Industrial Pollution Abatement and Industrial Safety and Hazards Management. It is also the first department in the country to have an integrated Dual Degree programme with Masters Programme in Hydrocarbon Engineering. The department has set very high standards in teaching and has engaged in useful and high-level research exemplified by research papers in high impact peer-reviewed journals. It is currently ranked 7th in Times Higher Education Ranking 2020 and 8th in the QS University World Rankings 2020.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Prof. Deepak Ojha who extended gratitude to eminent speakers on behalf of the Institute.


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