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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Dr Vassiliadis celebrates the contributions of Roger W.H. Sargent at memorial event

Dr Vassiliadis contributed a talk on optimal control in chemical engineering at a memorial event for Roger W.H. Sargent, founder of process systems engineering.

Dr Vassilis Vassiliadis, PI of the Process Systems Engineering (PSE) research group at CEB, was an invited speaker at a memorial event at Imperial College London on 4 April to honour the memory of Professor Roger W.H. Sargent. Professor Sargent, founder of the field of process systems engineering (PSE) within chemical engineering in the 1950s-1960s, foresaw the necessity of introducing rigorous modelling and solution methodologies across the field, working with various quantified scientific fields in an interdisciplinary way. He worked systematically to achieve this, even beyond his retirement in 1993. His influence in chemical engineering is considered to be one of the greatest ever in shaping the discipline and profession.

Event attendees came from all over the world including Professor Nilay Shah, Head of Department at Imperial College, Professor Claire Adjiman, Director of the Centre for Process Systems Engineering (CPSE) and Professor Costas Pantelides, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Process System Enterprise Ltd., Professor David Bogle from UCL and Professor Ignacio Grossmann from Carnegie-Mellon University in the United States.

Dr Vassiliadis, one of the last PhD students to be supervised by Professor Sargent jointly with Professor C.C. Pantelides, gave an invited talk on 'Optimal Control in Chemical Engineering'. He was also accompanied by his research group.

Dr Vassiliadis said: “Roger Sargent was quite possibly the most influential chemical engineer in our era, who is in effect responsible for introducing sophisticated rigorous mathematical modelling in an integrated manner in our discipline.

Directly with his own scientific contributions, as well as those of the thousands of students on his multi-generational academic tree, he has without a doubt created enormous savings for industry and society, which without exaggeration will be in the billions of pounds by now. Equally important is the creation of the associated numerous new jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs and for new enterprises.

PSE is as relevant as ever presently, with great contributions to be made with better understanding, optimisation and control of novel challenging processes, such as in biotechnology and biomedical applications. With process intensification and innovation, and an ever-increasing complexity of industrial production systems, it is very important to continue developing new tools able to manage these safely and profitably.

Professor Sargent,“Prof.” to all of his students, was an exceptional person and an outstanding mentor. He inspired confidence in everyone working with him and especially to all of us, his students. I am deeply grateful to Prof. for having chosen to teach us and to share his dream with us. May his legacy be passed down for many generations to come, and may he be remembered for the great human being he was.”

See Dr Vassiliadis's talk here



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