20/04/2016

The chemical engineer Hugh Scott Fogler receives honorary doctorate from the URV

The professor from the University of Michigan (76) is regarded as a towering figure in the world of chemical engineering for his outstanding career in teaching, research and technology transfer. His ideas have been a source of inspiration for the URV’s School of Chemical Engineering, which prompted the University to award him an honorary doctorate on 15 April in a ceremony at the Rector’s Offices

The rector Josep Anton Ferré invests the new honorary doctor.

Dr Fogler’s sponsor was Professor Azael Fabregat who, during his presentation of the URV’s newest doctor, said that Dr Fogler “is a key figure in the recent history of chemical engineering ” and an excellent autodidact, a great researcher and a good transmitter of knowledge.

Dr H. Scott Fogler has been a professor at the University of Michigan’s Department of Chemical Engineering since 1965 and, as his sponsor explained, is known around the world as the author of two bestsellers in the discipline, namely “Elements of chemical reaction engineering”, used as a set text in classrooms all over the world since it was first published in 1986, and “Strategies for creative problem solving”, which offers an introduction to this essential skill for engineers. The didactic ideas present in his books have inspired, among others, the educational model implemented by the URV’s School of Chemical Engineering (ETSEQ) over the last 20 years.

He has received 15 honours and awards for teaching from his own university and from institutions across America, and 10 awards for his work at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Two of these awards are the Warren K. Lewis Award from the AIChE and the National Catalyst Award from the Chemical Manufacturers Association.

His research interests have focused on the application of chemical reaction engineering principles to the petroleum industry, transport and reaction in porous media, gelation kinetics and asphaltene stability multiphase flows. He has published more than 200 scientific articles and more than 40 doctoral students have graduated from his research group. He has led many research projects financed by American government agencies and private companies. Nine oil companies have given over four million dollars to support research at Dr Fogler’s laboratory into scientific and technological challenges. Most recently, he completed a two year assignment on a commission appointed by President Obama to study and make recommendations on the flow of diluted bitumen in the Keystone Pipeline, which is currently under construction and, when completed, will run for more than 5000 km from Canada to the United States. Professor Fogler has also been president of the AIChE, which was founded in 1908 and is the largest association of chemical engineers in the world with more than 45,000 members in more than 100 countries.

During the ceremony, the Rector of the URV, Dr Josep Anton Ferré, presented Dr Fogler with traditional symbols of investiture dating back to medieval times, including a medal, a cap, a book on science and wisdom, a ring and a pair of white gloves.

World energy challenges

The speech by the URV’s newest doctor was a valuable lesson in energy and the future which he entitled “Helping to solve the world’s energy challenges through chemical engineering”. Fossil fuels, the primary source of energy today, will be insufficient to meet the world’s energy future demands and he predicted a collapse and turning point in the world economy by 2050. He discussed alternative sources of energy such as hydroelectric, wind and geothermal and in particular solar, describing different systems and investigations at various plants in the United States.

H. Scott Fogler during his speech, accompanied by Professor Azael Fabregat
H. Scott Fogler during his speech, accompanied by Professor Azael Fabregat.

Dr Hugh Scott Fogler also taught various classes and seminars at the URV in the days prior to his investiture and said that he had enjoyed getting to know the students at the ETSEQ.

During his speech, the rector Josep Anton Ferré described Dr H. Scott Fogler as a “university man in all senses of the word” for his excellent work in teaching, research and transfer, that is, in the three principal missions of the URV. The rector went on to state that Dr Fogler’s work “mirrors the URV’s own commitment to society”.

Dr H. Scott Fogler is the first chemical engineer to receive an honorary doctorate from the URV and, by the same token, the URV’s honorary doctorate is the first that Dr Fogler has received.