William Schowalter, authority on fluid mechanics, honored with lectureship in his name

Monday, Sep 2, 2019
by Scott Lyon

The nation's largest chemical engineering organization has created a lectureship named for Princeton professor William R. Schowalter, honoring a career that has spanned seven decades and left an indelible mark on the study of fluid mechanics.

Schowalter, who is the 1950 Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, emeritus, began his career as a graduate student at the University of Illinois in 1951 and joined Princeton's chemical engineering faculty in 1957. In the early 1960s he became an international authority in the processing of complex fluids. By the end of the 1980s Schowalter had helped bring two major branches of study into the mainstream of chemical engineering research: rheology, the study of the flow of matter, and colloidal dispersions, the distribution of small, undissolved solids in a liquid mixture.

"Bill has influenced countless chemical engineers," said Pablo Debenedetti, who helped establish the lecture. Debenedetti is a professor of chemical and biological engineering and Princeton's Dean for Research, as well as Schowalter's successor as the 1950 Professor of Engineering and Applied Science.

The American Institute for Chemical Engineering (AIChE) will hold the inaugural William R. Schowalter Lecture on November 13, at the organization's annual meeting in Orlando, FL. Michael D. Graham of the University of Wisconsin will present a talk on blood flow in micro-circulation.

Debenedetti, who will become chair of the AIChE Foundation this year, called the lectureship a "fitting tribute to Bill’s scholarship and his humane and generous vision, leadership, and integrity."

Schowalter lives in Princeton, NJ, where he continues to work daily from his University office.