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February 1999 AIChE Newsletter
American Institute of Chemical Engineers
1999 Officers at the January Meeting. Front row (l to r): Jan Berry, Steve McCoy, Hank Cochran. Middle row: Tsewei Wang. Back row: David DePaoli, Paul Taylor, Thomas Klasson, and Ken Plummer. Not pictured: Saleem Zwayyed.
An Illuminating February Meeting
THIS MONTH'S PROGRAM
"Photogen Technologies, Inc.: The Science and Business Behind a High-Tech Medical Start-Up"
Timothy C. Scott, Ph. D.
Inventing innovative technology to solve problems in the field of medicine is only the beginning step in the process of forming a successful high-tech medical company. Critical seed funding for company genesis is more dependent upon the perceived business skills of the management, potential market size, return on investment, and intellectual property packaging, than on the details of the technology itself. The initial formation of Photogen Technologies was based on the idea of using simultaneous two-photon excitation (TPE) of photoactive drugs to treat deep-tissue cancer tumors and to image deep-body tissues. The company technology base has expanded to embrace the more general approach of minimally invasive therapies for diagnosis and treatment of disease. However, the focus is still predominantly on the use of photochemistry to solve biological problems. The presentation will chronicle the formation and growth of Photogen as a publicly traded company and highlight the business model being used to develop products. In addition, technical highlights will be shown that are allowing several product development pathways to be pursued.
The January meeting was held at Mandarin House. After an ample and delicious Oriental buffet dinner, there was an award-winning program. Hank Cochran was presented this year's Research Award from the section, then joined last year's winner (and this year's national AIChE Alpha Chi Sigma Research Award winner) Peter Cummings in providing an overview of the current state-of-the-art in molecular dynamics (MD) research. This is an increasingly important area (there were 168 papers of this type at the 1998 Annual Meeting), and will continue to be, since there has been an exponential increase in computing power (computing speed increases an order of magnitude roughly every five years). Two graduate students from the University of Tennessee that work with Hank and Peter, Sumeet Salaniwal and Jonathan Moore, presented highlights of their MD research.
Sumeet described work that may have significant impact in designing surfactants for solvents of the the future. Supercritical carbon dioxide is a leading candidate for replacing conventional industrial solvents; however, it cannot dissolve polar or polymeric substances. Fluorinated surfactants have been shown to be useful in improving the solvent quality of SC CO2 by forming reverse micelles that can contain significant amounts of the desired solutes. Sumeet's simulations are aimed at determining the effects of surfactant structure and solution conditions on the formation and stable existence of reverse micelles. He showed an impressive video of micelle formation which presented an interesting finding - micelles can be stable even with a large fractional area of the inner material exposed.
Jonathan discussed MD research aimed at a molecular-level understanding of polymer rheology. This work has implications in polymer-processing applications and in lubrication. Jonathan showed impressive videos of the transient rheology of a polyethylene melt that displayed the power of simulations in visualizing molecular behavior. His results have explored a stress overshoot during the initial shearing of the fluid, and extreme alignment of the polymers during shear.
The future for this work looks bright, as better computers will allow larger problems to be solved, and the addition of tools such as the Spallation Neutron Source will allow interplay between experiments and simulations. It may be worthwhile to stay aware of this field; due to the continuing improvement in computer power (it's been said that today's supercomputer will be your laptop in a decade), it is very possible that MD software will be accessible to everyone in a few short years.
Section Sponsors Session at 1999 Tennessee Technology Summit
The Knoxville-Oak Ridge section of AIChE is sponsoring a technical session at the 1999 Tennessee's Technology Summit (a combined event between WATTec Technology Conference and Zack Wamp's Tennessee Economic Summit), to be held June 1-3, 1999 at the Holiday Inn-World's Fair Park. The theme of the summit is, Showcasing Our Technology for Economic Development. AIChE is sponsoring a 3-hr session, entitled, Recent Trends in Chemical Engineering Potentially Contributing to Tennessee's Economic Development. Bob Hightower of ORNL and Tsewei Wang of UTK are the session organizer and program chair respectively. Contributions from area chemical engineers are being solicited. For more information please contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Tsewei at email@example.com.
Section and Student Chapter Participating in Knox County Career Fair
The Knoxville-Oak Ridge local section and the UT Student Chapter of AIChE are co-sponsoring a booth at the Knox County Schooled for Success Career Fair. Over 4000 8th graders and their teachers and parents are invited to the fair at the Convention Center, Exhibit Hall II, on February 2, 1998, from 4 to 8 pm. Dr. Tsewei Wang, an associate professor at the UT Department of Chemical Engineering, is serving as the faculty mentor to the Student Chapter students who are carrying out the work. Financial assistance is provided by the local section. The purpose of the Fair is to introduce the 8th graders to the range of careers available to them in today's market. AIChE is going to have a booth displaying a poster with pictures showing the areas that chemical engineers are engaged in professionally. Various products including consumer products will be displayed to show the role chemical engineers play in today's society. Several AIChE members have called to contribute related literature and items for our display. They are all appreciated. Pictures and more details of our participation at the fair will be forthcoming in the next newsletter.
Local Section Awards
The Research Award was presented to Hank Cochran in January. Hank was cited for outstanding research contributions in a broad array of molecular-based chemical engineering applications, including experimental work, theory, and molecular simulation.
Hank Cochran accepts Research Award.
Submit Award Nominations (including 2-sentence citation) to any officer:
Technical Achievement (by Feb. 23): for outstanding technical achievement in chemical engineering.
Engineer of the Year (before March meeting): for outstanding contributions of any kind.
Note that section awards are now not limited to section members.
The Section Executive Committee is undertaking the task of updating the Section's Bylaws. Bylaws are submitted to AIChE (for approval) and to the State of Tennessee. The current Bylaws were established in the 1980's and changes are needed to better reflect the operation of the Section and to ensure that we are consistent with current AIChE requirements. The plan is to present the proposed changes for membership balloting later this year. Ken Plummer has volunteered to lead this effort for the Section.
Houston Career Fair
Institute members and employers attending the Spring Meeting in Houston March 16 & 17 can benefit greatly from the fair planned by AIChE's Career Services Department.
AIChE members attending the meeting may review job postings and submit resumes for company review. Employer representatives will conduct on-site interviews with qualified candidates. Those unable to attend the Career Fair may submit their resumes to AIChE's career services department for distribution to all participating employers. For information and registration visit www.aiche.org/employment/career.htm or contact Herb Scheftel at (212) 591-7670; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, employers with openings for chemical engineers are encouraged to contact Herb to learn more about this cost-effective and efficient method for identifying qualified AIChE members seeking employment opportunities.
Professional Development Courses in Houston
AIChE is offering 39 Professional and Technical Training courses March 8-19, 1999 in Houston, TX at the Sheraton Astrodome. Choose from the following tracks:
Take a course, attend topical meetings, career management workshops, and dinners. You'll be able to customize a package that fits your own technical, professional and networking needs - a great way to enhance your time away from work.
For more information or a course catalogue, call 1.800.242.4363 or visit the AIChE web site at www.aiche.org.