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Westmoreland receives honorary professorship

Westmoreland presents at NJUT.
Westmoreland presents at NJUT.

Dr. Phillip Westmoreland, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University, traveled to Nanjing, China, Oct. 6 to receive an honorary professorship from Nanjing University of Technology (NJUT).

NJUT is particularly interested in fostering a relationship with Westmoreland, he said, because of his work applying computational quantum chemistry, particularly the chemical steps for converting biomass into bio-oils. Westmoreland is the 2013 president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and hisrole will also help the university achieve its goal of broadening its interactions with the chemical engineering community worldwide.

The honorary professorship is meant to foster valuable interactions between chemical engineering and materials engineering at NJUT with the US chemical engineering community and NC State.

Dr. Keith Gubbins, W.H. Clark Jr. Distinguished University Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State, received the first honorary professorship from NJUT, recognizing his interactions with Xiahua Lu, professor of chemical engineering at NJUT. Gubbins is a National Academy of Engineering member and leader in molecular simulation and its application. Westmoreland has also worked with Lu on his visits to NC State.

The day after a ceremony was held, Westmoreland presented a speech entitled “Molecular Kinetics of Making Bio-oils: Opportunities and Challenges for a Golden Age of Chemical Engineering” at the NJUT College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

He discussed his biofuels kinetics research, featured on the cover of the December 13, 2012 issue of Journal of Physical Chemistry A.  Westmoreland also discussed the importance of chemical engineering as the result of new hydrocarbon resources, applied biology, cyber infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and its relation to the breadth of the field.

Westmoreland earned a BS in chemical engineering from NC State, an MS in chemical engineering from Louisiana State University, and a PhD in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the NC State faculty in 2009.

Prior to joining NC State, Westmoreland was a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He served as acting head of the department from 2003 to 2005.

He has also worked as a research engineer with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Coal Technology Program, as a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and as a program director at the National Science Foundation.

NJUT is one of the first higher learning institutions dedicated to the practice of engineering to be approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education. In 2001, Nanjing University of Technology was established by merging the Nanjing University of Chemical Technology and the Nanjing Institute of Architecture and Civil Engineering.