UT Austin Professor and Illinois alumnus Keith Johnston, PhD '81, to deliver Parr Lecture


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The University of Illinois Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is pleased to announce that University of Texas at Austin professor Keith Johnston, PhD ’81, will deliver this year’s Parr Lecture.

Johnston’s lecture, entitled, “Helping Nanoparticles Reach Their Colloidal Potential,” will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Room 116 of Roger Adams Laboratory.

Johnston is the M.C. (Bud) and Mary Beth Baird Endowed Chair and Lyondell Chemical Company Faculty Fellowship in Engineering in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Illinois, studying under Professor Charles Eckert.

Dr. Keith Johnston will deliver this year’s Parr Lecture.
Dr. Keith Johnston will deliver this year’s Parr Lecture.

Dr. Johnston conducts fundamental research combining materials chemistry, colloid and interface science and polymer science to guide the development of applications in a wide range of fields, including drug delivery, biomedical imaging/therapy, electrocatalysis in energy storage and subsurface energy production.

He has discovered/co-discovered various nanomaterials, including water/CO2 microemulsions, silicon nanowires, and highly active perovskite electrocatalysts and supercapacitors. He has made significant contributions in a new field of nanotechnology for subsurface green energy production which includes CO2 sequestration, improved oil recovery, magnetic nanomaterials for electromagnetic imaging of reservoirs, nanocapsule delivery and greener fracturing with low water utilization.

He joined UT after a year at Sandia National Laboratories. His awards include the Allan P. Colburn Award and Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology from AIChE, and he was named one of AIChE’s “One Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era.” He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. Dr. Johnston directed UTs activities in the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center: Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes through 2009.

The Parr Lecture is named after Samuel W. Parr, the founder of chemical engineering at Illinois. A Granville, Ill. native, Parr became professor of applied chemistry and head of industrial chemistry at Illinois in 1891. He was a prolific author and made numerous discoveries. Parr developed an alloy—called Illium, made of nine different metals—that has powerful corrosion-resisting properties. He also invented the first simplified instrument for measuring the heating value of coal.

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This story was published November 14, 2017.