Lecturer Weekman speaks from experience

March 11, 2004, 1:34 p.m.

When students walked into chemical engineering 442 one Monday, the person standing at the front of the class was not their professor.

"Did Chris tell you I'd be here today?" asked the trim, white-haired man, referring to their regular teacher, Christodoulos Floudas.

Hardly waiting for an answer, he flipped on the overhead projector and began talking about his experiences helping to design one of the biggest synthetic fuel plants in the world. He did not so much as say his name, but he needed no introduction.

The visiting lecturer was Vern Weekman, a former oil industry executive who has become an important part of the chemical engineering curriculum at Princeton. By the time they are seniors, students in that major know him well. Rather than lead his own course, Weekman gives guest lectures in nearly every course the department offers. His role is to build on the theoretical knowledge and research experience the students accumulate and connect it to real-world problems drawn from his 42 years of experience in the field.

"Sometimes you lose touch with why you are doing this," said Eva Steinle-Darling, who graduated in 2003 and is now in graduate school at Stanford. "He was our connection to reality."

Read the full story in the Weekly Bulletin.

Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601