National Academy of Engineering Honors Alumnus Bob Brown for Leadership

Bob Brown, B.S. ChE ‘73, M.S. ChE ‘75, was recently awarded the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Simon Ramo Founders Award for leadership in chemical engineering research and engineering education. Bob Brown, UT Austin alumnus and president of Boston University headshot

The award acknowledges outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievements to the benefit of society. Brown is being recognized for his “contributions to understanding of viscoelastic liquids and crystal growth, commitment to diversity in engineering, and leadership in transforming disciplines and institutions.”

Brown has been regarded as a pioneer in chemical engineering and engineering education for more than 30 years. He is the current president of Boston University (BU), and has made significant contributions to modern chemical engineering research, particularly in the areas of semiconductor crystals, microstructure formation, and in the understanding of  viscoelastic fluids.

In addition to significant research contributions, Brown is credited with galvanizing BU’s reputation as one of the nation’s top research and educational institutions. Under his leadership, BU launched “Choosing to Be Great” campaign, which focused on strengthening the quality of undergraduate and graduate programs, attracting world-class faculty members, and facilitating research and scholarship opportunities.

Brown currently serves as a trustee of the University Research Association, a member of the Council on Competitiveness, and a director of the DuPont Company. He is also chairman of the Academic Research Council of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Singapore, a key funding body for academic research in that country. He also serves on the Research Innovation and Enterprise Council chaired by Singapore’s Prime Minister.

From 2006 through 2008, he served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), for U.S. President George W. Bush. In 2008, Brown was named one of the top 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Prior to joining Boston University in 2005, Brown was provost and Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). During his 25-year tenure at MIT, he held a number of leadership positions, including head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, dean of the School of Engineering and provost.

Professor Tom Edgar with fellow UT Austin alumnus Bob Brown at the NAE Founders Award Ceremony After earning degrees at UT Austin, Brown, a Texas native, received a Ph.D. in  chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1979, where he worked  under the guidance of Professor L.E. Scriven. He is a member of the American  Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the  National Academy of Sciences, among other professional societies. He has  published more than 250 papers in areas related to mathematical modeling of  transport phenomena in materials and served as executive editor of the Journal  of Chemical Engineering Science.

The Simon Ramo Founders award was presented Sunday, Sept. 29 during the  NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, DC.

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