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Faculty, staff, and academic programs excellence together are key for Purdue Engineering’s Pinnacle of Excellence at Scale. From hiring and retention, to promotion and tenure, to reward and recognition, the OAA staff work hard to ensure Purdue Engineering is the “college of choice” for the best engineering talent.

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ABE's Solomon wins DoE Career Award

People use enzymes to create fuels from plants, fungi to produce antimalarial drugs, and E. coli bacteria to generate life-saving insulin. These systems are attractive because they are sustainable and rely on renewable plant biomass, but they are still wildly inefficient.

Kevin Solomon, a Purdue assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, plans to improve the efficiency by using giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and horse dung and a U.S. Department of Energy Career Award, which supports the development of research programs by outstanding scientists early in their careers. The DOE will provide $750,000 over five years to fund his proposal, “Genetic Tools to Optimize Lignocellulose Conversion in Anaerobic Fungi and Interrogate Their Genomes.”

“Nature and biological processes are good at fixing carbon dioxide and turning it into biomass. But we want to break the chemicals in that biomass back into sugars that we can convert into a wide array of products,” Solomon said. “However, if breaking down trees were easy, they wouldn’t exist.”

Shih honored by AIAA

Tom Shih, a professor in AAE, has been selected to receive the 2020 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Thermophysics Award.

Tom Shih, a professor in AAE, has been selected to receive the 2020 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Thermophysics Award.

The award, established in 1975, is presented for an outstanding singular or sustained technical or scientific contribution by an individual in thermophysics, specifically as related to the study and application of the properties and mechanisms involved in thermal energy transfer and the study of environmental effects on such properties and mechanisms.

Shih was selected “for significant contributions in the development and application of computational design tools for the thermal management of gas turbines to improve efficiency and service life.”

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Shih said. “I want to thank my students and colleagues who have worked with me and who have made all of the contributions possible.”

Shih will receive an engraved medal and certificate of citation during the Awards Luncheon at the 2020 AIAA Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition in June in Reno, Nevada.

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Paul Anastas — Lecture

Green Chemistry: The Future

To achieve a sustainable society, there will need to be a transformation on a civilization-wide scale. This transformation will affect all aspects of life including the way that we raise food, generate energy, utilize water, design products, and communicate. These changes will only be possible if the way that we think changes. There have been civilization wide changes in history. These changes of always been accompanied by the way that humans collectively perceive what is knowable versus unknowable; what is possible versus impossible; what is our place and role in the universe. There are forces in place today that will drive a change in the way that we answer these questions. How the change in these answers can influence whether we will move toward or away from a sustainable society. The beginning of green chemistry over the past 25 years has been focused largely on how we do what we’ve always done, better. Doing things better is not the same as doing a better thing. In order for the future to look dramatically different from the past, the design of the material basis of our society and economy and how those materials will relate to the service, function, and applications we need to perform will need to change.