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Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
University of Minnesota
151 Amundson Hall
421 Washington Avenue SE
Minneapolis MN 55455
Main Office: 612-625-1313
Fax: 612-626-7246


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Professor L. E. (Skip) Scriven, faculty member of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota, passed away August 3, 2007 of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Professor Scriven received his B.S. in 1952 from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph. D. in 1956 from the University of Delaware.  He worked as a research engineer for Shell Development Co. before joining the Chemical Engineering department in 1959 as an Assistant Professor.  Skip was named a Full Professor in 1966 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978.  In 1988 he was selected as Regents Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota

During his illustrious career, Professor Scriven has authored over 400 publications and has advised over 100 Ph. D. students in the department.  His research program was internationally renowned, focusing on coating and coating processes.  The program excelled at combining experimental, theoretical, and computer modeling approaches in order to better understand industrial coating application processes.  During his career he also made significant contributions to the fields of capillary hydrodynamics, enhanced oil recovery, colloid science, and the theory of interfacial phenomena.  He was one of the co-founders of the NSF Center for Interfacial Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

In addition to his research program, Skip was very much involved in undergraduate instruction in the department. He was the champion for the Unit Operations Lab, the most important chemical engineering lab taken by undergraduates. Professor Scriven was an advocate for and much involved in the team teaching program in the department. His graduate course in fluid mechanics was one of a kind. He spent years polishing, sharpening and perfecting the course.

Professor Scriven has held many distinguished visiting professorships and lectureships, and he has served on committees for outside and national organizations.  He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).  In 1986 he was invited to give the Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecture by the American Mathematical Society.  Some of the more recent awards he has received include two Roon Awards from the Federation of Societies of Coatings Technology (1993 and 2002), the ACS Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (1990), the Tallmadge Award in Coating Science and Technology (1992) and the Founders Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (1997).  Most recently, he received the Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings for 2007 from the American Chemical Society, in recognition of outstanding contributions to coatings science and technology.  In 1998 the International Society of Coating Science and Technology instituted the L.E.Scriven Award to recognize outstanding young researchers in the field that he helped to found.

In addition to teaching and research, Skip was very involved with the chemical engineering profession, and wrote a number of articles on its history.  He also had some thoughts on its future:

In brief, the practice of chemical engineering, like seasonal foliage, changes;  like individuals, the subdisciplines grow, mature, and give birth to others;  the discipline like a species evolves, but the essence, like a tree, is invariant.  For the better part of a century, the profession in the United States has broadened its base - now rejoining materials science - and built on it successfully to fulfill the needs of both the existing and the emerging chemical process technologies of each era.  As past high technologies have matured, and turned senescent or moribund, the profession has again and again moved on to new frontiers, rapidly enough to avoid any danger of extinction.  What factors are likely to be important for the next hundred years?  Primarily those that have been important over the past hundred.  My encounters with them leave me with two deep questions that remain largely unanswered.  What constitutes an engineering discipline like chemical engineering?  And what maintains the associated profession?

Perspectives in Chemical Engineering, edited by C. K. Colton, Academic Press, New York, 1991 (Advances in Chemical Engineering, Volume 16) pp 1-40


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