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The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Hougen Symposium 2012

Olaf Andreas HougenOLAF ANDREAS
HOUGEN (1893–1986)

former Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was one of the outstanding original contributors to the science and practice of modern chemical engineering. He is remembered for his inspired teaching, his leadership in engineering education and research, and his volunteer work in retirement for the university and the profession. It is in his honor that this symposium is named.

In his research activities, Professor Hougen developed important original and fundamental principles for the mainstream of modern chemical engineering: heat transfer, gas adsorption, thermodynamics, catalysis, applied kinetics, and process design. In his teaching, Professor Hougen's warmth of personality and sincere interest in each student's future were a source of inspiration to chemical engineers around the world. He instilled in his students a sense of responsibility to their profession and to society. Professor Hougen's influence on chemical engineering education in the United States and abroad was achieved through his numerous publications, many of which established patterns for chemical engineering teaching and research. He was the author or coauthor of seven books and 156 papers.

His many honors included five awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Esso Award of the American Chemical Society, and the Lamme Gold Medal Award of the American Society for Engineering Education. From 1961 through 1963, he served as a scientific attaché at the American Embassy, Stockholm, Sweden, and in 1974 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

THE OLAF A. HOUGEN SYMPOSIUM is supported by the Hougen Professorship Fund of the University of Wisconsin Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Colleagues and former students of Professor Hougen, other friends and corporations have contributed to the fund to honor one of the founders of the modern chemical engineering profession. Professor Hougen believed that leading research departments have an obligation to provide leadership to their professions through activities that strengthen the crucial link between the generation and dissemination of new knowledge. It is in this spirit that we continue this symposium series by inviting distinguished colleagues to present public lectures on a topic of current interest and importance to the profession and to society generally.

Symposium Synopsis

Engineering Microbes


for the Chemical Industry


In the 20th century, the field of chemical engineering developed the methods and the underlying principles to efficiently refine fossil fuels into the array of products used by consumers. These products include transportation fuels, materials, pharmaceuticals, and specialty chemicals that enable our current lifestyle. Unfortunately, this system is not sustainable and societal pressures to change are increasing. New processes are needed to build a sustainable chemical economy, to reduce dependence on foreign materials, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals, to produce new medicines, and to stimulate new industries. For these reasons, the next generation of scientists and engineers will develop new methods to make chemical products from renewable resources that are ultimately derived from solar energy. This symposium, hosted by Assistant Professors Pfleger and Reed will focus on recent efforts to engineer microorganisms for the production of fuels, pharmaceuticals, and high-value chemicals.

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Lectures in room 1610 Engineering Hall

9:00-9:45 am
Gregory Stephanopoulos
Metabolic Engineering: synthetic chemistry of the 21st century

9:45-10:30 am
Huimin Zhao, UIUC
Synthetic Biology: Putting Synthesis into Biology

10:30 -11:00 am Break

11-11:45 am
James Liao
University of California, Los Angeles
A Tale of Two Butanols: Exploring Metabolism for Fuels and Chemicals

11:45-1:30 pm Lunch
(on your own)

1:30-2:15 pm
Chaitan Khosla
Assembly Line Biosynthesis of Polyketide Antibiotics

2:15-2:45 pm
Brian Pfleger
Integrating Systems and Synthetic Biology for Engineering Chemical Production in Bacteria

2:45-3:15 pm
Jennifer Reed
Tools for In silico Design of Microbial Biocatalysts

3:15-5:00 pm
Poster Session
Engineering Hall Lobby