Following Forest Hills High School in New York City, I attended Cornell University for a five-year program leading to a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degree. After spending one year at the University of Rochester to obtain a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering, I came to Princeton University in 1951. Four years later, with a fresh PhD, I joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where I remained, interrupted only by sabbatical leaves in Switzerland, Germany, England, New Zealand, and Australia. Most of my professional work has been in applied chemical thermodynamics for process design, in particular, development of molecular-thermodynamic models for calculating phase equilibria for large-scale separation operations. I have also worked on the properties of electrolytes and hydrates, critical phenomena in fluid mixtures, properties of polymers and gels, adsorption of fluid mixtures, and separation of biomolecules. For many years I was a consultant for Air Projects and Chemicals and for the Fluor Corporation. Throughout my long teaching career, I have stressed the importance of context and of integrating science and engineering with humanities and with the needs of society. Such integration makes better engineers and contributes to personal happiness.


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Supplemental Material

Listen to a 2011 interview with author John M. Prausnitz to learn more about his career in chemical engineering and biotechnology. He also discusses the importance of interdisciplinary study and looking beyond a single field of study to benefit from the knowledge and viewpoint of others.

  • Article Type: Review Article
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