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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

William Hammock “the engineer guy” professor of chemical and bimolecular engineering

Professor Hammack has been awarded the Hoover Medal.

The award is named for its first recipient, U.S. President Herbert Hoover, who was an engineer by profession. Established in 1929 to honor “great, unselfish, nontechnical services by engineers to humanity,” the award is administered by a board representing five engineering organizations: the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the American Society of Civil Engineers; the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers; and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Previous winners include presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter; industrialist David Packard, the founder of Hewlett-Packard; Arnold O. Beckman, an Illinois alumnus and a scientist, businessman and philanthropist whose support spurred the development of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology on the Illinois campus; and inventor Dean Kamen.

Hammack is a member of AICHE and a William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor at Illinois. He is the creator and host of the popular YouTube channel “engineerguy” and has recorded more than 200 public radio segments that describe what, why and how engineers do what they do. He wrote the books “Michael Faraday’s Chemical History of a Candle, ” “Why Engineers Need to Grow a Long Tail, ” “How Engineers Create the World, ” “Eight Amazing Engineering Stories” and “Albert Michelson’s Harmonic Analyzer. ”

“I am thrilled with the recognition by this award of the importance of reaching out to the public – to explain to them science and engineering,” Hammack said. “With this understanding, the public can better exercise the civic responsibility of shaping the technological forces that shape our lives.”

The National Association of Science Writers, the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Physics all have recognized Hammack for his outreach efforts through numerous awards.

“Bill’s wonderful stories make every engineer proud and watching them immediately converts you into an engineering zealot,” said AICHE Foundation member Eduardo Glandt, the dean emeritus of engineering and applied science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to Professors Bill Hammack and Baron Peters, both recently invested as William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professors in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Professor Peters at his investiture in December 2019.

Baron Peters joined the Illinois faculty in January 2019. His research includes developing fundamental new methods in rare events modeling to understand catalytic and chemical reaction pathways. He studies reactions between charged species in solution, which is an open and fertile area of research with key applications to energy and the food/water nexus. He specifically aims to understand whether a single universal solvent reaction coordinate (e.g., a unifying theme) can be applied to reactions involving charge transfer with atoms in fixed positions, atom migration with fixed charges, and coupled charge transfer and atom migration. In a second area, he studies nucleation and growth using simulations that accurately capture multiple species including solutes, solvents, surfactants, and nucleants.

Professor Peters and his research group.

Professor Peters graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1999, with a BS in Mathematics and Chemical Engineering. In 2004, he earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Bill Hammack

For decades, the EngineerGuy, a.k.a. Professor William S. Hammack, has been enlightening people with his videos, radio commentaries, books, and courses. He is a pioneer of new and novel approaches to engineering outreach. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1984 and his MS and PhD from the University of Illinois in 1986 and 1988, studying intramolecular electron transfer under the late Professor Harry Drickamer. Prof. Hammack taught at Carnegie Mellon for a decade before returning to Illinois and joining the chemical engineering faculty in 1998.

From 1999 to 2006, Hammack created a groundbreaking series of over 200 pieces for public radio that described what engineers do, why they do it, and how. He also created and is host of the popular YouTube channel “engineerguyvideo.” His YouTube videos and pieces for public radio have been seen or heard millions of times around the world.

SCS Director Jonathan Sweedler, College of LAS Dean Feng Sheng Hu, Lycan Professor Bill Hammack, ChBE Department Head Paul Kenis, Vice Provost Paul Ellinger

Congratulations to University of Illinois Professor Bill Hammack, who was recently chosen to receive the Ralph Coats Roe Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Bill Hammack, William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer.

The society selected Hammack for his “pioneering use of new media to present engineering as a creative profession essential to our modern world, particularly for internet-delivered videos that highlight how engineers think, how they use science, and the role of manufacturing in design.” Hammack’s “EngineerGuy” videos and pieces for public radio have been seen or heard millions of times around the world.

The Ralph Coats Roe Medal, established in 1972, recognizes outstanding contribution toward a better public understanding and appreciation of the engineer’s worth to contemporary society. It is named after Ralph Coats Roe, a pioneer and innovator in the design and construction of highly efficient power plants and advanced desalting processes. The society will present the award to Hammack in November 2020. The award includes a $12,000 honorarium and gold medal.

Bill Hammack is a William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor at the University of Illinois. As an engineer, his mission over the last 20 years has been to inform the public about engineering and science. His media work explaining fundamental science and its application through engineering—from his work in public radio to his use of internet-delivered video—has been listened to or viewed over 50 million times. In clear, accessible, but technically accurate language, he has excited the next generation of engineers and scientists, and aided the public in appreciating the impact of science and engineering in our society and economy.

He earned a BS in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University and an MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He taught at Carnegie Mellon for a decade before returning to Illinois in 1999 to join the faculty in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

For his work he has received numerous national awards from scientific, engineering, and journalistic societies, including, most recently, the Carl Sagan Award for the Public Appreciation of Science in 2019 from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents.

Bill Hammack, the William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer.

Congratulations to University of Illinois Professor Bill Hammack, known around the world as “The Engineer Guy,” who was presented with the Carl Sagan Award for the Public Appreciation of Science.

The award, given annually by the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, recognizes outstanding achievement in improving the public understanding and appreciation of science. Previous recipients include Steven Pinker, Thomas Friedman, and Bill Nye. The first recipient was astronomer and science communicator Carl Sagan.

“I am thrilled and honored to receive this award because Carl Sagan and his television series ‘Cosmos’ from 1980 was a model for me in how to communicate science to the public,” Hammack said.

Hammack was recognized on May 4, 2019, at a banquet held in Washington, DC.

The Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) represents the breadth of science and engineering research disciplines through its member societies and federations. The societies are represented by their presidents, presidents-elect, and recent past presidents of leading scientific societies and federations whose combined membership is over one million.

Bill Hammack is the William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor at the University of Illinois. As an engineer, his mission over the last 20 years has been to inform the public about engineering and science. His media work explaining fundamental science and its application through engineering—from his work in public radio to his use of internet-delivered video—has been listened to or viewed over 50 million times. In clear, accessible, but technically accurate language, he has excited the next generation of engineers and scientists, and aided the public in appreciating the impact of science and engineering in our society and economy.

Hammack earned a BS in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University and an MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He taught at Carnegie Mellon for a decade before returning, in 1999, to Illinois, where he now teaches in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He lives in Urbana, Illinois with his wife and two sons.

For his work he has received numerous national awards from scientific, engineering, and journalistic societies, including the American Chemical Society’s Grady-Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry to the Public and the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award. His radio work has also been recognized by his engineering peers–the American Institute of Chemical Engineer’s Service to Society Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s Edwin F. Church Medal; the American Society for Engineering Education’s President’s Award, and the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineer’s Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering the Public Understanding of the Profession. His radio work has been recognized by his journalistic peers via the Science-in-Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers; the Silver Reel for National News and Commentary from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Additionally he has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Society for the Advancement of Science.

CSSP is committed to advancing leadership in science and technology and to establishing policies and programs that will ensure a bright future for 21st century science. Founded in 1973, the society has served as a center for national science leadership development, a strong voice in support of science in the nation’s capital, and the premier forum for national science policy development through open, substantive exchanges on current issues encompassing the full spectrum of science, engineering, and mathematics. CSSP represents the breadth of science and engineering research disciplines through its member societies and federations. CSSP member societies are represented by their presidents, presidents-elect, and past-presidents with combined membership that has historically approached nearly a million scientists.

The School of Chemical Sciences has announced the appointment of three new William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professors: William Hammack and Baron Peters in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Liviu Mirica in the Department of Chemistry.

“Bill, Liviu, and Baron join a superlative group of dedicated colleagues that we honor with named positions, including Gregory Girolami, our other current Lycan Professor,” said Dr. Jonathan Sweedler, director of the School of Chemical Sciences, in the announcement. The named appointments recognize the school’s collective commitment to excellence in scholarly pursuits.

Investitures are being planned for later this year.

Bill Hammack

Professor Hammack
William (Bill) Hammack

Professor Hammack graduated from Michigan Technological University with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 1984. He earned his MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1986 and 1988. He joined the Illinois faculty in 1997.

Dr. Hammack’s scholarly efforts are in the areas of teaching and public outreach. He has excelled over the years, especially in the area of outreach to the general public. He continues to be one of the most listened to and most watched engineering educators in history. From the moment he arrived on campus in 1998, he has pioneered new areas of communicating science and engineering to the general public, and expanded the role of an engineering professor. In 1999, he plowed new ground by creating a unique radio series that shares the hows and whys of engineering to the public. He next pioneered the use of new media, specifically videos accompanied by books, to communicate engineering directly to the public. He created a YouTube channel that currently has over 700K subscribers and nearly 40 million views. The book associated with the YouTube channel, Eight Amazing Engineering Stories, was a bestselling technology book on Amazon. In the classroom he has had an equally pioneering career. His course, CHBE 101: The Hidden World of Engineering, is taught to a diverse mix of students majoring in commerce, architecture, photography, history, and graphic arts. He has also contributed deeply to the engineering profession. His book, Why Engineers Need to Grow a Long Tail, laid out for the engineering profession how to chart a path through the world of “new” or “social” media. In it he shows how the engineers can use new media to reach larger audiences, but also how to aim the message straight at the next generation of potential engineers.

Baron Peters

Baron Peters

Professor Peters graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1999, with a BS in Mathematics and Chemical Engineering. He earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004. He completed postdoctoral research at MIT from 2004 to 2006 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Ecole Normale Superieure from 2006 to 2007. He joined the Illinois faculty in January 2019.

Dr. Peters’ research includes developing fundamental new methods in rare events modeling to understand catalytic and chemical reaction pathways. He studies reactions between charged species in solution, which is an open and fertile area of research with key applications to energy and the food/water nexus. He specifically aims to understand whether a single universal solvent reaction coordinate (e.g., a unifying theme) can be applied to reactions involving charge transfer with atoms in fixed positions, atom migration with fixed charges, and coupled charge transfer and atom migration. In a second area, he studies nucleation and growth using simulations that accurately capture multiple species including solutes, solvents, surfactants, and nucleants. This is a general platform that can be broadly applied to a wide array of value-added products in the chemical industry.

Liviu Mirica

Professor Mirica graduated from California Institute of Technology with a BS in Chemistry in 1999. He earned a PhD in Chemistry from Stanford University in 2005. He held an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2005 to 2008, and joined the Illinois faculty in January 2019.

Liviu is a leader at the junction of inorganic, organic, and biological chemistry.  Trained at top chemistry peer institutions, he has a world-class pedigree with emphasis on the activation of oxygen by metals to bond to carbon, a topic relevant to fuel cells, where activated oxygen burns methanol to create electrical energy.  He is a leader in renewable energy projects. Mirica has developed new biology-inspired ligands that bind metal ions (nickel, palladium, copper), forcing upon them unusual structures with therapeutic properties against amyloid diseases. He is a leader in the field of understanding how metal ions interact with amyloids, aggregates of misfolded proteins that form plaques in neurodegenerative diseases. He launched a vibrant program at Washington University at St. Louis, as manifested by external funding from NSF, DOE, and NIH, and shares our vision that chemical synthesis has the most impact if implemented without regard to traditional boundaries that have previously separated inorganic and organic chemistry. 

Bill Hammack, a.k.a., Engineer Guy, has released a new video in which he demonstrates the temperature-dependent shape memory of nitinol metal. He explains how “twinning” in the crystal structure of nitinol produces the memory effect and he shows a nitinol-based engine that is powered by temperature differences. He closes the video with a description of superelasticity, a phenomenon related to the memory effect, which he demonstrates with a cardiac stent.

 

Colleagues, friends, and family gathered Friday, April 6, 2018, to honor William S. Hammack and thank supporters Jim and Karen Morris at a ceremony marking Hammack’s appointment as the Donald and Dolores Morris Professorial Scholar.

Paul Kenis, department head, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Karen and Jim Morris, Bill Hammack, Donald and Dolores Morris Professorial Scholar, Jonathan Sweedler, director, School of Chemical Sciences; Matthew Ando, associate dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Hammack, a professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois, has pioneered new and novel approaches to engineering outreach. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1984 and his MS and PhD from the University of Illinois in 1986 and 1988, studying intramolecular electron transfer under the late Dr. Harry G. Drickamer. Prof. Hammack joined the department as a faculty member in 1998 after teaching at Carnegie Mellon for a decade.

Bill Hammack

From 1999 to 2006, he created a groundbreaking series of over 200 pieces for public radio that described what engineers do, why they do it, and how. Dr. Hammack also created and is host of the popular YouTube channel “engineerguyvideo.” His YouTube videos and pieces for public radio have been seen or heard millions of times around the world.

Jim and Karen Morris

The Donald and Dolores Morris Professorial Scholar was established by Illinois alumnus Jim Morris (BS ChemE ’81) and his wife Karen Morris in honor of Jim’s parents, Donald and Dolores Morris. As children of the Depression, Donald and Dolores came from humble beginnings and always stressed the importance of a college education to their three children.

After he graduated from Illinois, Jim Morris joined Exxon and over the years he has held a variety of different positions with Exxon and ExxonMobil. He has worked on projects throughout the Gulf Coast and around the world, including offshore production operations in Nigeria and a liquefied natural gas project in Qatar. Now chief facilities engineer for ExxonMobil Upstream, he is responsible for the global application of facilities technologies, career development for engineers, and planning key strategic initiatives. He and his wife Karen live in Houston, Texas.

Check out the new educational and entertaining videos from Engineer Guy Bill Hammack.

In his video on the drinking bird toy, Hammack, the Donald and Dolores Morris Professorial Scholar, reveals the operation and engineering design underlying the toy. He explores the role played by the water the bird “drinks,” shows what is under the bird’s hat, and demonstrates that it can operate using heat from a light bulb or by “drinking” whiskey.

Another new video explores Hammack’s book, Fatal Flight, The True Story of Britain’s Last Great Airship. The R.101 was a luxury liner three and a half times the length of a 747 jet. The British expected the airship to spearhead a fleet of imperial airships that would dominate the skies as British naval ships had ruled the seas. But that dream ended when, on its demonstration flight to India, the airship crashed in France, tragically killing nearly all aboard.

More videos can be found on the Engineer Guy’s YouTube channel; and at www.engineerguy.com

URBANA – In an era of so many scientific and technological breakthroughs—advances in genome editing, the discovery of Higgs boson or the “God particle,” the launching of deep space satellites—two award-winning Illinois scientists have teamed up to re-introduce people to a remarkable 19th century lecture series about the candle.

Yes, the deceptively simple candle.

“There is no better, no more open door by which you can enter into the study of science than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle,” said British chemist Michael Faraday in 1848.

Even now, over 150 years later, one would be hard pressed to find an object of study that would equal the candle, said Bill Hammack and Don DeCoste in their new companion book to the YouTube series on The Chemical History of a Candle. Hammack is “The Engineer Guy,” creator of the popular YouTube channel about the fascinating engineering behind everyday objects. He also is Professor and Donald and Dolores Morris Faculty Scholar in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Don DeCoste is an award-winning chemistry instructor.

Michael Faraday's The Chemical History of a Candle
Michael Faraday’s The Chemical History of a Candle

Beginning in 1848, Faraday delivered a series of evening lectures on the chemical history of the candle. The lectures are often referred to as the Christmas lectures not because of their content, but because of when they were delivered—in December. The lectures are really an extended illustration of the scientific method, according to Hammack and DeCoste.

Standing before hundreds of people in a crowded lecture room at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Faraday spoke with authority and enthusiasm about the concepts of mass, density, heat conduction, capillary action and convection currents.

Today, Hammack and DeCoste enlighten modern readers by prefacing Faraday’s famous lectures with their own guide to the topics and demonstrations, with key points and helpful diagrams. Charmed by his language, Hammack and DeCoste opted to keep the original language of the lectures, although they updated some text and chemical terms as needed.

For his lectures, Faraday aimed his content at “the juvenile auditory.” The new YouTube series and companion book also focus on young people as the core audience. The book is available in a variety of formats (hard cover, paperback, e-book and downloadable pdf). It includes a teaching guide, with several experiments to help people understand the big ideas of chemistry, such as the particulate nature of matter.

The book: Michael Faraday’s The Chemical History of a Candle with Lectures, Teaching Guides and Student Activities. The companion book to the YouTube video series by Bill Hammack and Don DeCoste.

The book is available as hard cover, paperback, e-book, plus a free pdf, at http://engineerguy.com/faraday

About the authors
Bill Hammack
is a Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois, where he focuses on educating the public about engineering and science. He is the creator and host of the popular YouTube channel engineerguyvideo. His outreach work has been recognized by The National Association of Science Writer’s Science in Society Award; the American Chemical Society’s Grady-Stack Medal, and the American Institute of Physics’ Science Writing Award. His other books include Why Engineers Need to Grow a Long Tail (2011), How Engineers Create the World (2012), Eight Amazing Engineering Stories (2012), and Albert Michelson’s Harmonic Analyzer (2014).

Don DeCoste is a Specialist in Education in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, where he teaches freshmen and pre-service high school chemistry teachers. He has received the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Provost’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, and the School of Chemical Sciences teaching award four times. He is the co-author of four chemistry textbooks.

To reach Bill Hammack, email whammackatillinois [dot] edu or call 217-689-1461.

In his latest fun and educational video, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Bill Hammack, also known as the Engineer Guy, reveals the engineering design of a NERF blaster, including how it shoots only one dart at a time using a novel air restriction mechanism.

Check it out!

 

 

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