In Memoriam: Professor K.C. Chao (1925-2013)
October 13, 2013
Emeritus Professor Kwang-Chu Chao passed away on October 13, 2013. He was a Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue between 1968 and 1993, with the Harry Creighton Peffer Distinguished Professor designation given in 1989. In 1993 he became Emeritus Professor.
Dr. K.C. Chao (BS ‘48 National Chekiang University, Taiwan; M.S. ‘52 and Ph.D. ‘56 both University of Wisconsin) was a contemporary and former laboratory partner of Professor Bob Greenkorn, where they both worked for their PhD degrees with the renowned Professor Olaf A. Hougen. Known for the widely used and cited Chao-Seader correlation (this contribution was designated a Citation Classic in 1981), Dr. Chao brought to Purdue not only important industrial experience from his years with Taiwan Alkali Company (1948-1951, 1952-54) and Chevron Research (1957-63), but also academic understanding developed during his years at Illinois Institute of Technology (1963-64) and Oklahoma State University (1964-68). After several changes of scenery, Dr. Chao found a home at Purdue and stayed here for the next 25 years. A meticulous and methodical investigator, he developed an outstanding thermodynamics research group.
Dr. Chao coauthored the book Thermodynamics of Fluids with Dr. Greenkorn published in 1975 by M. Dekker, Inc. An AIChE fellow, Dr. Chao was named Honorary Professor of both the Beijing Institute of Beijing Institute of Chemical Technology and Zhejiang University, and appointed Harry Creighton Peffer Distinguished Professor in 1989. He was granted emeritus status in December 1993 and he received the 1994 Donald L. Katz Award of the Gas Processors Association in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in gas processing research and excellence in engineering education. A thermodynamics symposium was held in his honor on September 15, 1995, with a banquet attended by friends, colleagues and former students. Dr. Chao advised 17 and co-advised 12 MS and advised nine and co-advised 18 PhD students. He worked closely with Dr. Greenkorn in thermodynamics research and they co-advised many of these former students.
He will be sorely missed by his family, students, colleagues and friends.