University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


Professor Receives International Award for Chemical Reaction Engineering


Lindsay Lewis

The International Symposium for Chemical Reaction Engineering (ISCRE) has named University of Houston Professor Dan Luss the 2010 recipient of the Neal R. Amundson Award for Excellence in Chemical Reaction Engineering.

One of the highest honors in the field, the Amundson Award is bestowed every three years to recognize a pioneer in the field.

“Dan has been a leader in reaction engineering for many years,” said Michael Harold, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, who co-nominated Luss for the award. “He is, in part, responsible for bringing advanced analysis methods to the field and developed advanced tools to solve problems of practical importance.”

For more than four decades, much of Luss’ research has focused on the safe operation of potentially unstable chemical reactors.  Because chemical reactors have varying steady states, the risk of a catastrophic event during start up or operation is extremely high.

Through advanced study of steady-state multiplicity and dynamics, Luss has been able pinpoint what mode of operation or start-up leads to dangerous scenarios and map out how to avoid these potential hazards.  In fact, many of his findings have been implemented as common operating standards and have even been a factor in the design and control of various chemical reactors.

“Dr. Luss’ accomplishments in quantifying the dynamics of chemical reactors and in establishing firm, scientifically-based foundations for their design and operation have received worldwide attention,” said Jan Lerou, a former post-doctoral fellow of Luss’ and co-nominator for the award. “The insights that his work provided, his dedication to the field and to the chemical engineering profession, and his work ethic have inspired his colleagues around the world.”

The award itself was named after one of the most well known chemical engineering educators in the country, Neal Amundson, Cullen Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and professor emeritus of mathematics at UH. Amundson was the first winner of the award, which was later named in his honor. Luss, also a Cullen Professor, studied under Amundson at the University of Minnesota while pursuing his doctorate and was instrumental in recruiting him to UH in the late 1970s.

In addition to earning his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1966, Luss holds both a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from Technion, Israel. He has received several honors from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) including the Founders Awards, the Wilhelm Award, the Professional Progress Award and the Allan P. Colburn Award. He is a fellow of AICHE as well as a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Luss will receive a plaque and a $5,000 check at the ISCRE 21 conference dinner June 15 in Philadelphia, Pa.



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