Thomas Edgar Receives Top Honor from American Automatic Control Council

Dr. Thomas Edgar poses after receiving the Bellman Award at the AACC conference in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Tina Smothers PhotographyThomas F. Edgar, director of the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award. It is the highest recognition from the American Automatic Control Council (AACC), awarded for distinguished contributions to automatic control theory or application.

The award honors Edgar’s “career of outstanding educational and professional leadership in automatic control, mentoring a large number of practicing professionals and research contributions in the process industries, especially semiconductor manufacturing.” Edgar was presented with the award on July 2 at the American Control Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

Over the course of his 40-year academic career, Edgar has been a leading contributor to research and education in energy, process modeling, control and optimization with applications in chemical reactors, energy systems, semiconductor manufacturing and improved oil recovery.

His work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including election to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering. He has a legacy of leadership in chemical engineering, having served as president of both the AACC and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He is a past recipient of the Sustainable Engineering Forum’s Research Excellence in Sustainable Engineering Award (2013), the AIChE F.J. & Van Antwerpen Award (2010), the Council for Chemical Research’s Malcolm Pruitt Award (2009), the AIChE Walter K. Lewis Award for Chemical Engineering Education (2005), the AIChE Computing in Chemical Engineering Award (1995) and the AACC John R. Ragazzini Education Award (1992).

Since 2001, Edgar has been executive director of Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering Education (CACHE), where he was president from 1981 to 1984. Edgar also co-directs the industrial-academic research group Texas-Wisconsin-California Control Consortium and sits on the board of Pecan Street Inc., a public-private partnership focused on renewable energy and smart grids in Austin. In 2013, Edgar began directing the UT Austin Energy Institute, where he leads multidisciplinary energy research, education, and policy initiatives and helps educate the public about energy issues.

Edgar has published more than 450 articles and book chapters, and is also the co-author of textbooks “Optimization of Chemical Processes” and “Process Dynamics and Control.” He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from Princeton University and his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas.

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