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Wilhelm Lectures

Richard H. Wilhelm

This distinguished lectureship honors the memory of Richard H. Wilhelm, a graduate of Columbia University who spent his entire professional career at Princeton University. He joined the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1934 and served as chairman from 1954 until his death in 1968. In recognition of his distinguished teaching, he was named Henry Putnam University Professor by Princeton University and given the Warren K. Lewis Award in Chemical Engineering Education by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

For his research leadership in numerous areas of chemical reaction engineering, he received from the AIChE the William H. Walker Award in 1951 and the Professional Progress Award in 1952 and the Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society in 1966. In 1968 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest professional distinction that can be conferred upon an American engineer.

In 1973, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers established the R.H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering, presented each year to an individual in recognition of significant and new contributions in the field. The Richard H. Wilhelm Lectureship was established through the generosity of his colleagues, friends, and students.

2015 Wilhelm Lecturer: Ronald G. Larson

Ronald G. Larson became a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1996, after working for 17 years at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. He received a B.S. in 1975, an M.S. in 1977, and a Ph.D. in 1980, all in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Larson’s research interests include the structure and flow properties of viscous or elastic fluids, sometimes called “complex fluids”, which include polymers, colloids, surfactant-containing fluids, liquid crystals, and biological macromolecules such as DNA, proteins, and lipid membranes. He is also interested in fluid mechanics, including microfluidics, and transport modeling. He has written numerous scientific papers and two books on these subjects, including a 1998 textbook, “The Structure and Rheology of Complex Fluids.”

Larson was the President of the Society of Rheology (SOR) from 1997 to 1999, and served on the Executive Committee of that Society during the period 1991 to 2001. He was Chairman of the Division of Polymer Physics of the American Physical Society (APS) in 2010. He served as Chair of the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Michigan from 2000 to 2008. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE). In 1996, he was named the Prudential Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge, United Kingdom; in 2000 he was awarded the Alpha Chi Sigma Award from the AIChE; and in 2002 he received the Bingham Medal from the SOR. He is a Fellow of the APS, a Fellow of the AIChE, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Since 2000, he has been the G.G. Brown Professor of Chemical Engineering and since 2014 has been the A.H. White Distinguished University Professor, at the University of Michigan.

Previous Lecturers in the Series


James Wei

University of Delaware


L.E. Scriven

University of Minnesota


Michel Boudart

Stanford University


Jack B. Howard

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Neal R. Amundson

University of Houston


Roger A. Schmitz

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


John M. Prausnitz

University of California at Berkeley


Rutherford Aris

University of Minnesota


Dan Luss

University of Houston


Reuel Shinnar

City College of the City University of New York


George Gavalas

California Institute of Technology


John F. Davidson

Cambridge University


R. Byron Bird

University of Wisconsin at Madison


George K. Batchelor

Cambridge University


Roger W.H. Sargent

Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine


Robert A. Brown

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


John Villadsen

Technical University of Denmark


Eduardo D. Glandt

University of Pennsylvania


Cherry A. Murray

Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies


Alice P. Gast

Stanford University


Charles F. Zukoski

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


William R. Schowalter

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


John F. Brady

California Institute of Technology


Carol K. Hall

North Carolina State University


Frank S. Bates

University of Minnesota


Mark E. Davis

California Institute of Technology


Frances H. Arnold

California Institute of Technology


George Stephanopoulos

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Lanny Schmidt

University of Minnesota


Martin Feinberg

Ohio State University


Klavs Jensen

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Chaitan Khosla

Stanford University


Enrique Iglesia

University of California at Berkeley