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Warren L. McCabe Lecture — Kathleen Stebe

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April 30, 2018 | 10:30 am

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Kathleen J. Stebe
Dr. Stebe

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State presents the Warren L. McCabe Lecture Series featuring Dr. Kathleen J. Stebe, the Deputy Dean for Research and Innovation and the Goodwin Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, on Monday, April 30, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. in 1011 EB I. The title of her lecture is “Geometric Strategies for Directed Assembly in Soft Matter.”

Geometric Strategies for Directed Assembly in Soft Matter

We have been developing new strategies, based on geometry, to direct the assembly of colloids in soft matter. By confining soft matter in vessels with well-defined shapes and boundary conditions, we define global energy landscapes. Colloids deform this soft matter; their deformations cost energy. Since these deformations decay over distances similar to the colloids’ diameter, they create an energy field around each colloid that depends on the global energy landscape. As a result, colloids move as if they were in an external applied field. Examples include colloids at fluid interfaces, colloids adhered to lipid bilayer vesicles and colloids in nematic liquid crystals. In each example, paths, sites for preferred assembly, and structures are defined by the curvature of interfaces and boundaries. New observations in living systems are presented. These assembly strategies give control over system microstructure, and provide new approaches for diverse fields including materials design and control of micro-robots.

About Kathleen J. Stebe

Kathleen J. Stebe (Kate) is the Deputy Dean for Research and Innovation and the Goodwin Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Educated at the City College of New York, she received a B.A. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the Levich Institute. After a post-doctoral year in Compiegne, France, Stebe joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where she became Professor and served as the department chair. Thereafter, she joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Stebe is an Associate Editor of the journal Soft Matter, and has been recognized by the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, and as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Radcliffe Institute. Stebe’s research focuses on directed assembly in soft matter and at fluid interfaces, with an emphasis on confinement, geometry, and emergent structures for novel functional materials.


Warren L. McCabe was a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University for 12 years after his retirement from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a co-author of the widely used textbook Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering. McCabe was also a co-author of the textbook Elements of Chemical Engineering. Chemical engineers know the name McCabe best through the McCabe-Thiele method, a graphical means to determine the number of equilibrium stages in a binary distillation.

Professor McCabe was widely regarded as one of the founders of the profession of chemical engineering, and he was a legend in engineering education for his innovative ideas. He died in retirement at Black Mountain, NC, on August 24, 1982, shortly after his 83rd birthday.

The Warren L. McCabe Lecture Series was created in 1983 to honor McCabe for his contributions to chemical engineering.

*Financial support for the Warren L. McCabe Lecture Series from Praxair, Inc. is gratefully acknowledged.


April 30, 2018
10:30 am
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