The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), a global professional membership organization for chemical, biochemical and process engineers and other professionals involved in the chemical, process and bioprocess industries with a membership exceeding 44,000 members in over 120 countries, has chosen to honor the life and accomplishments of Professor Christodoulos A. Floudas posthumously by awarding him the prestigious Sargent Medal.
Named after Roger Sargent, former president of IChemE and Courthaulds professor of chemical engineering at Imperial College, the medal was launched in 2014 to recognize a major contribution to research in the area of computer-aided product and process engineering. Sargent, thought by many to be the founding father of Process Systems Engineering, has a huge influence both through his research and his many students and academic tree. The two previous awardees of this honor are Professor Costas Pantelides, a professor of chemical engineering at Imperial College and the managing director of Process Systems Enterprise Ltd, who received the honor in 2015, as well as Professor Ignacio Grossmann, the Rudolph R. and Florence Dean University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and Floudas’ doctoral advisor, who received the award in 2014. Floudas was specifically selected for substantially influencing and shaping the field of process and systems engineering.
“We award people who are best in their field, people who have made a difference, people who have inspired others. We do this because chemical engineering matters, and without their contributions society wouldn’t benefit,” said IChemE’s Director of Policy and Publications, Claudia Flavell-While.
Floudas was the director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute and the Erle Nye ’59 Chair Professor for Engineering Excellence in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University until August 2016, when he passed away while on vacation with his family in Greece.
He previously served Princeton University for 29 years and was the Stephen C. Macaleer ’63 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Emeritus at Princeton.
Born in Ioannina, Greece, he earned a diploma of chemical engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1982 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1986, studying under Professor I. E. Grossmann.
During a career that spanned four decades, he became a world-renowned authority in mathematical modeling and optimization of complex systems. His research interests were at the interface of chemical engineering, applied mathematics, and operations research, with principal areas of focus including multi-scale systems engineering for energy and the environment, chemical process synthesis and design, process operations, discrete-continuous nonlinear optimization, local and global optimization, and computational chemistry and molecular biology.
He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors for teaching and research, including election to the National Academy of Engineering in 2011, selection as a member of TAMEST (The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Sciences of Texas) in 2015, and induction as a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Athens in 2015. Among other recognitions, Floudas was the recipient of the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1988, the 2001 AIChE Professional Progress Award for Outstanding Progress in Chemical Engineering, the 2006 AIChE Computing in Chemical Engineering Award, and he was named a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in 2014 for the 11 years between 2002-2012 and again in 2015.
With a membership exceeding 44,000 members in over 120 countries, and offices in the Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and the UK; IChemE aims to be the organization of choice for chemical engineers. It promotes competence and a commitment to best practice, advances the discipline for the benefit of society and supports the professional development of its members. IChemE is the only organization to award Chartered Chemical Engineer and Professional Process Safety Engineer status.