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ChemE Ph.D. candidates receive Chen fellowship

Leah Spangler and William Taifan are the inaugural recipients of the John C. Chen Endowed Fellowship in Chemical Engineering.

The graduate student fellowship was established through the generosity of Dr. Katherine L. Chen ‘80G to honor her late husband’s memory as a beloved faculty member, department chair, college dean, and ground-breaking researcher.

The fellowship assists Ph.D. candidates in chemical engineering with their stipend for the academic year. Spangler’s stipend begins this semester while Taifan’s will begin Spring 2018.

Spangler and Taifan were honored during a ceremony at the third annual Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Student Symposium held September 28-29, 2017. Kathy Chen was in attendance and presented both students with their awards.

Spangler gave a poster presentation entitled “Single enzyme biomineralization of CuInS2, (CuInZn)S2, and CuInS2/ZnS core/shell quantum dots for bioimaging applications.” Taifan gave a talk on his research: “Ethanol-to-1,3-butadiene: catalyst surface characterization and reaction mechanism probed experimentally and computationally.”

“I would like for [John] to be remembered at a place where he spent so much of his working life,” Kathy Chen had explained in a recent interview. “He very much enjoyed research. He viewed it as a way to gain a better understanding of the wonderful world that God has created. Perhaps in a small way, we could help by providing some of the much-needed funding necessary for research.”

Chen was an internationally known scholar in transport phenomena involving multi- phase systems and a recognized pioneer in boiling and heat transfer. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in chemical engineering and mechanical engineering for four decades at Lehigh. He served as chair of the chemical engineering department from 1983 to 1989 and dean of engineering from 1999 to 2001.

Chen, the Carl R. Anderson Professor of Chemical Engineering, received 18 major awards, published more than 200 journal articles, and supervised 35 Ph.D. dissertations and 14 MS theses.

Chen is best known for his July 1966 I&EC Process Design and Development paper, “Correlation for Boiling Heat Transfer to Saturated Fluids in Convective Flow.” The article won the Classic Paper award from the Heat Transfer Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 2003. Chen became the first non-mechanical engineer to receive the award.

In the paper, Chen proposed a model that predicts the rate at which heat is transferred to liquid during flow boiling conditions. The “Chen Method,” as it has come to be known, is now the standard for designing vapor-liquid boiling systems used in the chemical, power, refrigeration, petroleum, nuclear and gas industries. According to Google Scholar, the article has been cited nearly 2000 times.

In 2001, Chen received the world’s top prize for achievements in heat transfer – the Max Jakob Memorial Award – from ASME and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

One of his nominators, Raymond Viskanta of Purdue University, wrote that Chen “has been a pioneer and the unquestioned leader in the world on boiling heat transfer and other areas involving two-phase flow and heat transfer.”

- Mary Anne Lynch

Monday, October 9, 2017

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