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Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

  • 1.  Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-15-2018 07:37

    What made you major in chemical engineering instead of chemistry, if that's what you did? In my case, a big reason was the ability to get a good job with a BS right out of school, while in chemistry you needed a PhD. In 1979, when I graduated with my ChE BS from the University of Rochester, my classmates and I all received annual salary offers in the $20,000 to $24,000 range. There were about two dozen of us, and as I recall, everyone had multiple job offers.

     

    Bob Bly

    Copywriter

    31 Cheyenne Drive

    Montville, NJ 07045

    Phone 973-263-0562

    Fax 973-263-0613

    E-mail rwbly@bly.com

    Web www.bly.com

     



  • 2.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-16-2018 00:42
    My reasons were similar, although I never considered a degree in chemistry.  My HS guidance counselor suggested engineering because I did well in math and science.  Having learned to drive in the muscle car era, mechanical engineering sounded good.  It was my first thermodynamics professor who convinced me to switch to chemical engineering.  The versatility of chemical engineering was intriguing, but the clincher was the prospect of more jobs and better money.  I graduated in 1977.  Salaries were a bit lower than you quoted (this was an age of higher inflation, so two years made a significant difference), but job offers were plentiful.  I had four to choose from.
    I think we would get a different story from those who graduated in the mid 1980s.

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    Barry Bennett, CCPSC
    Three Rivers TX
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  • 3.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-17-2018 10:56

    A teacher that I had senior year at school was impressed with my math skills.  At the time, I liked chemistry, so I thought I would combine the two chemical engineering sounded like a good option.  It seemed like a very versatile field to get into and the jobs were plentiful.






  • 4.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-22-2018 10:42

    I originally started out going for a chemistry degree.  Then I found out that the chemistry department required you to memorize everything and they had closed book tests.  The engineering department required you to know how to do things and where to find the information you needed to do them.  They had open book tests.  I have always had a terrible short term memory but am really good at figuring things out.  Once I understood an engineering principle I could figure out when and where to use it, and if I needed to I could look up the formula.  I was also good at math and physics, so I changed my major to chemical engineering and never looked back.  Now that we have process modeling programs I usually don't even need to look up the formula.  I have become an expert in process modeling, process control, and data analysis and enjoyed every minute of it.

     

    Harold Reed, M.S.

    Sirius Technical Services Contract Engineer

    For Evonik Corporation

     






  • 5.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-16-2018 08:25
    With a chemical engineer for a father and a chemist mother, one could say I followed my genes. My father took me to work on holidays and infected me with the love of all things process operations, right down to loving the smells. So it was chemical engineering for me from early on. My mother started in chemical engineering then changed her major after 2 years to get out of the engineering drawing class — she struggles with seeing 3 dimensions looking at an object on paper much less rendering one. She went on to graduate school when my brother and got old enough to take care of ourselves when we got home from school. In May 1985, after the family attended my BS graduation ceremony at Clemson University, we headed to her PhD ceremony at the University of Delaware. Her thesis and dissertation work discovered methods to identify and separate cis- vs trans- bio-inorganic platinum molecules then tested the different ones in lab rats with cancer to discover which version was most effective in killing cancer cells. Thanks to her work, chemo-therapy is far less sickening than before her discoveries in the early 1980’s. 30 years later, she has been enlisted to write a third edition of her textbook on the subject of bio-inorganic chemistry. The first 2 editions are filled with 2D renderings of the 3D molecules she first learned to ID and separate. Using Tinker Toys, she managed to get past her inability to see 3D rendered in 2D. And the world is better off as a result. I went on to get Master and PhD degrees in chemical engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In 1991, I accepted a job working in the oil industry with a salary of $51,000. Apples don’t fall far from the tree...

    ---------------------------------
    Suzanne Roat PE
    Crude and Refining Strategy
    Chevron Corporation
    Houston TX
    ---------------------------------





  • 6.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    FELLOW
    Posted 05-17-2018 11:08
    Everyone in my family had me penciled in for a General Practice in medicine until I found out that I wanted no part of working with blood. Next on my list of possibilities was Chemistry, but I needed to study German per my High School Advisor. This lead to the next prospect, Chemical Engineering, which had everything I liked, math, physics and chemistry. So that was the decision process, graduated with BS in 1977 went to Industry, experienced the 1980's economic turmoil, went back to school got PhD. Never a regret to date.

    ------------------------------
    Norman Loney FAIChE
    Visiting Scholar
    University of Cincinnati
    Cincinnati OH
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-17-2018 13:28
    Genes as well.  My father is a chemist.   And I would beg to go with him to his job.  At that time my father didn't see his line of work meant for girls, this was in the mid to late 80's.  But I was attracted to it like a magnet.

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    Raushanah Bashir
    Katy TX
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  • 8.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-16-2018 08:27
    ​I started as chem major and graduate with a ChemE degree for three reasons:

    1) I hate chemistry lab

    2) I didn't have to go to grad school to get decent job

    3) I liked engineering better

    I graduated in 2010.

    ------------------------------
    Kevin Poff
    Chemical Engineer
    ECBC
    APG, MD
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-16-2018 09:00
    I got a book for Christmas in high school.   The Way Things Work.   I was hooked.

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    John Sharland PE,FSFPE
    Bridgewater MA
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  • 10.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    LOCAL SECTION SECRETARY
    Posted 05-17-2018 11:04
    I had the best of both worlds.  I went to a small, liberal arts college for my undergraduate education, and it did not offer engineering.  I majored in chemistry as an undergrad and then obtained graduate degrees in chemical engineering.

    I spent 23 years as a full-time faculty member in a chemical engineering department at a midwestern university, and, interestingly, for much of the time I was there, of the ten faculty in the department, almost half (four), did not have B.S. chemical engineering degrees.  Three (including me) were B.S. chemists, and the fourth was a B.S. mechanical engineer.   One of the chemists had a masters in industrial hygiene and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering.  I always thought that the variety of backgrounds brought interesting perspectives to the department.

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    Daniel Gulino
    Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering
    New Mexico State University
    Las Cruces NM
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-16-2018 09:18

    Wow – great question that struck a chord with me.  As a kid I'd set up my chemistry set in my dad's ice fishing shanty which he parked in the back yard during the summer.  For a while it was my favorite pastime right up there with fishing.  For whatever reason, my dad had a small vial of mercury and I was fascinated with the little beads of the stuff.  When I started learning chemistry in high school, it seemed like if you understood the science of chemistry, you understood how the world really worked. 

    But I liked math, too, and although no whiz I had a knack for word problems.  When it looked like I was going to college and it came time to pick a school, I went up to my high school chemistry teacher with the dilemma:  chemist, or chemical engineer?  The conversation was brief and went something like this:  me:  "I want to pick a school but don't know if I want to be a scientist or engineer".  Mr. Deshon:  "What's your favorite subject now?"  Me:  "Algebra".  Mr. Deshon:  "Then be an engineer".  The best advice I ever had.  I never looked back.  Thank you, Mr. Deshon.

    I went on to get an M.S. in 1981 - right before the job market went south.  I would say that the one surprise at the time in looking for a job was the geographical limitations of ChE's in the traditional line of work.  West Virginia looked enough like home that I took a job there.



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    Gary Sawyer, P.E.
    Process Evaluations LLC
    Media, PA
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  • 12.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-16-2018 10:10
    What I have seen in my career is that really good chemists have superb memories. They remember the different ways chemicals have been and are being made – the entire chain of reactions and byproducts – and can make connections for potential new products and/or applications that others have missed.

    Engineers remember how to find the information that they need to solve a problem. I have also seen engineers that successfully focused their careers on a particular chemistry (e.g. fluorochemistry or silicon chemistry) with enough depth that they could function as chemists effectively.

    Both disciplines are necessary if you want to make money in the chemical industry.

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    David Charlesworth
    Sugar Land TX
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  • 13.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    LIFE MEMBER
    Posted 05-16-2018 10:22
    I majored in chemistry, because married women were not allowed to work in refineries, so I changed my major from ChE to Chem..  Patsy Chapplear, was at Rice researching the properties of frozen methane, while her husband worked in a refinery.  I felt the odds of my husband working in Bishop, Pt. Arthur or Amarillo, Tx were slim to none, and so I felt that, with a chemistry degree, I could get a high school teaching position in chemistry, physics, or math.  As it turned out, I discovered that Austin Chemical was a janitorial supply company and one of the profs that I spoke to about the lack of chemistry jobs suggested that I go to graduate school.  I did, had a son, and then finished as a Ch E.  By that time, the world had changed and I entered the haz waste world on the ground floor.  One of my specialties is lab and data quality.  I have consulted for many refineries in Texas, as well as NC and DE.  It's been a great ride.

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    Caroline Reynolds BA,MA,MS,PE
    President
    CR Solutions
    Austin TX
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-16-2018 12:54
    Interesting discussion, and one that college students will be interested to follow.
    I followed in my father's footsteps to pursue chemical engineering.  I was good at math/science in high school, but didn't like chemistry that much.  I loved Chemical Engineering 101 though, with the process flow and system thinking; I was hooked from there.  I worked as an intern in a lab and realized that wasn't for me long term.  When selecting which branch of engineering, I selected chemical engineering because at the time I was told it offered the most options for career. I don't know if that was or is true, I think it's more what you make of it.
    On the topic of women in chemical engineering, I did some research at my alma mater and chemical engineering still has the highest percentage of women.  When I graduated '94 many women were interested in the emerging environmental field (air and water quality) and chemical engineering was the best fit.

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    Sabine Brueske CEM,CMVP
    Program Director, Industrial Analysis Program
    Energetics Incorporated
    Bellingham WA
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    DIVISION VICE CHAIR
    Posted 05-16-2018 15:33

    In my case the choice was between physics and chemical engineering and yes coming from a blue collar family I went for the money. I guess I just couldn't see how I'd ever advance economically teaching physics and everyone who supposedly 'knew anything' told me chemical engineers made good money.






  • 16.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    Posted 05-17-2018 12:42

    My path to becoming a faculty member in Chemical Engineering of 47 years followed an unusual path, but it helped me advise many young people about their education and career decisions.  I started at Pomona College, a liberal arts school with no engineering, that had an arrangement called the "Combined Plan" to earn a BA at Pomona and a BS at MIT in 5 years.  I remember in Physical Chemistry learning about thermodynamics and thinking "this is all very nice, but what is it good for?" When I got to MIT, I found out. Though my ChE PhD at Berkeley involved in molecular theory, I never really looked back to do science; the goal was always to use fundamentals for applications.  Several of my classmates at Pomona stayed 4 years and then went to graduate school in ChE and also had fruitful careers. 

    I learned from my experience to tell advisees, "Life should be doing what you find fun - within the constraints."  While the constraints normally involve a paying job, it's most important to define and enjoy one's "fun". (Some people call this finding one's passion.)

    To me the difference between a scientist and an engineering is the former wants to "understand" whereas the latter wants to "do something about it, possibly without full understanding".  The difference between those for whom chemistry is their science, or chemical engineering is their engineering, is if the molecular level of nature is what is interesting and empowering because reaction and transport are our basic phenomena.



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    John O'Connell, FAIChE
    Professor Emeritus
    University of Virginia
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  • 17.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-17-2018 15:47

    In my high school years, I was very much interested and also very good in chemistry including laboratory work involving chemical analyses. At the same time, I was well aware of the fact that South Asian parents expect their children to be doctors, engineers, lawyers and so on in that order. My parents wanted me to be an engineer and I also experienced the constant pressure to be good in Science and Mathematics. I did just that and got admission into university engineering program.

    My interest in chemistry and the curiosity to learn how chemicals are manufactured made me decide to join the university Chemical Engineering program. I was and still am happy that I did. However, I was surprised to know that Chemical Engineering is more about engineering and with not much emphasis on chemistry. As a Chemical Engineer (now retired, but active with many professional volunteering activities) with a broad knowledge of various engineering disciplines and Thermodynamics (Chemical & Engineering), I was able to adapt easily in Chemical Physics, Nuclear Reactor Safety and Petroleum Production R&D for over five decades.  I am still very much interested in chemistry, but am proud to be a Chemical Engineer and thank God I made the right decision!



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    [Varagur] [Rajan] [Ph.D., P,Eng.]
    Senior Member
    []
    []
    [Canada]
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  • 18.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-18-2018 00:07
    For me, it was a combination of technical and personal grounds. I liked the computational and physical aspects of chemistry, but not so much the direct laboratory stuff (organic synthesis and so on scared the daylights out of me). I also liked applied math too much to give it up for organic, analytical, and inorganic chemistry.

    But more importantly, there was a personal element as well. I was trying to make up my mind between the two, but found the ChE department taking more interest in me-they actually pointed out scholarships for me to apply to and were offering much more hands-on mentoring than the faculty in the Chem department. Also, the ChE department at my school was very small: most of my ChE classes had about six students, so we were a very close-knit group!

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    Ahmed Ismail
    Assistant Professor
    West Virginia University
    Morgantown WV
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    2017 35 Under 35 Winner
    Posted 05-18-2018 00:12
    Great discussion topic!

    In high school, everyone told me that I should major in medicine. I quickly changed my mind after taking a Human A&P course. It was not very exciting learning a bunch of Latin words and phrases. I found it boring. However, I was a big math nerd that participated in math competitions. I already had an interest in chemistry because I used to mix different things together as a child to “see” what would happen. I attended a SWE summer camp that explained all engineering and automatically knew which one to choose. Chemical engineering was the best of both worlds.

    ---------------------------------
    Sheena Reeves PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Prairie View A&M University
    Cypress TX
    ---------------------------------





  • 20.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-18-2018 09:55
    I started school exploring outer space with a telescope, following weather, and any article about the oceans as a hobby.  I began as an engineering student and switched to a geophysics major but right after that decision my personal life changed.  I could not go to grad school  so I changed major to ChE.  Needed to get working and make money quickly in a field area I could enjoy.  Wrestled with EE and ChE but decided on ChE because I felt I could use it to explore more natural science areas.

    ------------------------------
    John Maziuk
    Consultant VP of Engineering and Technology
    Verdant Engineering
    Ocean Pines MD
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-21-2018 12:28
    This is a great discussion thread. Going back 50 years when I was graduating from high school in India, there was not much that a young student could choose in terms of his/her future career. It was almost always the decision of the family and close relatives. In my case, during the last two years of my high school, I was heavily influence by a friend of my father. He had just returned to India after completing a PhD in chemical engineering from Karlsruhe University in Germany. He was a very effective motivator for me to choose chemical engineering over any other field because of his own background. He himself was a chemist by training up to his BSc (undergraduate) education, but pursued applied chemistry for is MSc at Calcutta University. This opened the door for him to go for a PhD degree in chemical engineering. He explained to me how the chemical engineers utilize the knowledge of chemistry to design and make products that are essential to the society. This was a very appealing message to me. Going through my chemical engineering undergraduate and graduate program I realized it is not only chemistry, but you have to have a very good understanding of other branches of science also, particularly physics and mathematics. This made my ChE education all the more enjoyable. Not so much back then, but these days a good knowledge of biology also is necessary for one to derive the full benefits of a chemical engineering education. I use this personally as I did my PhD in environmental engineering and apply the principles of microbiology extensively in my practice.

    In summary, chemical engineering is a field that allows the graduates to pursue career opportunities in several areas depending upon their choice, passion and interest.




    ------------------------------
    Somnath Basu PhD, PE
    Vice President Global Process Engineering
    Headworks International
    Houston TX
    Somnath
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    Posted 05-22-2018 09:59
    ​I also graduated 50 years ago this spring.  I can remember attending registration at University of Missouri of Rolla (by myself); I am not sure I was even aware that Chemical Engineering was a separate field of engineering. Upon  entering the student union area where registration was being held I was  met at the door by a distinguished gentleman in a three piece suit who asked if he could assist me.  I replied that I was there to register in engineering and he asked what my interests where.  I replied that I kind of liked chemistry to which  he replied "do you mean Chemical Engineering" and I answered "I guess so" and that is how I became a Chemical Engineer.  The gentleman was Dr. Harvey Grice who became my advisor and was eventually the department chair.  Fifty years later I still enjoy my work in process engineering in the E&C business and at this time have no retirement plans.  I have a lot of  vacation  which allows me to accommodate all my leisure interests including hunting and fishing.  I  work on interesting projects with great people and have a good income, so I can never come up with a good reason to change this just because I am 71 years old.  In my 50 years as a chemical engineer I can never once remember arising in the morning and  wishing  I did not have to go to work.

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    Ralph (Ed) Palmer
    Manager, Downstrea Process Design
    Wood.
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-23-2018 01:25
    Hi
    I tend to empathize with Ralph's story, as my life history of becoming a chemical engineer is not very different. Back then in late eighties (and probably even now !!!) people used to think that chemical engineering is a good choice, if you have an interest/inclination towards chemistry. Having spent more than 30 years in a career spanning various functions in manufacturing and consulting companies, including plant operations, I am convinced that a good grip on basic chemistry does help in becoming a better chemical engineer.

    Regards


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    Alok Pandit
    Director
    Equinox Software & Services Pvt. Ltd.
    Pune
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-21-2018 12:43

    I majored in Chemical Engineering on the advice of my father, a career chemist.  He advised that a chemical engineer can do the work of a chemist having taken those courses (perhaps not all the analytical chemistry but that is resolvable) however a chemist can not necessarily do the work of a chemical engineer (due to the coursework that the engineer will complete).  His advice has rung very true.

     

    Richard Pudlo  PE

     






  • 25.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-22-2018 00:00
    Chemical Engineering an empirical science is founded by Chemists - McCabe among the pioneering founders. Concepts have been and continue to be developed by chemists be it Unit Operations, Reaction Kinetics, Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer etc. Fugacity , VLE Thermodynamics are classic examples. Distillation column prototype and the concept of reflux - chemists' experimentation. Chemical Engineers do well what they are educated and trained to do and chemists continue to pioneer science to help advance Chemical Engineering. Chemical Engineers make the scientific concept a reality in economical and socially meaningful scale. Nobel prize is awarded to science - underlying its vitality to engineering & technology. The distinction between Chemistry and Chemical Engineering is fuzzy. Chemists can innovate without being chemical engineers but understanding of chemistry especially physical chemistry is imperative for chemical engineers.

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    [Venkat] [Subramanian]
    [Consultant Expert]
    [Principal Consultant]
    [Self Employed]
    [Chennai] [TN State]
    INDIA
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-22-2018 00:14
    After a bachelor degree in Chemistry I became a Chem E. Chem E afforded "making things happen in a big way" and economically producing materials that are essential to the society. The number of resources a chemical engineers need at their disposal fascinated me. It is chemistry and physics at work! Chemical Engineers are involved in evaluation & selection of a variety of resources such as catalysts to pumps and instrumentation. They easily rise to the top of industries as their work directly impacts the profitability of the enterprise. These are the motivating factors for me among other factors.

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    [Venkat] [Subramanian]
    [Consultant Expert]
    [Principal Consultant]
    [Self Employed]
    [Chennai] [TN State]
    INDIA
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-23-2018 10:55

    ​I worked as a lab technician at a power station after having attended college for a year. My original major had been Pre-Med and I had taken Chemistry for the year but had not done particularly well.  I had to leave due to a family situation and the year of college chemistry was what eventually got me a lab helper job.  I was able to quickly rise to the top Lab technician position at the power station as others left or transferred, but I quickly realized that the job I was in was going to be a dead end in the future.  Plants have a limited lifespan and it was not sufficient to build a career around.  I was given the opportunity to help the plant Results engineers do tests and caught on real quickly. I was even able to do some rudimentary linear programming to be able to  The plant manager believed I really should go back to college as he said while I was very intuitive, to really understand how things worked I needed to be educated in key things like thermodynamics, and physics. At the plant lab we shared space with the Company Chemists. They were the ones that planted the seed in my mind that I needed to be a chemical engineer.  They also subscribed to Chemical Engineering magazine which I read religiously. Of course the chemist said it was because Chemical Engineers were paid a whole lot more, particularly if you went to work at the Oil Companies at places like the refinery that was just over the back fence of our Tulsa Power Station.  I took their advice to heart, quitting my job at the plant and going back to school at Oklahoma State. While Chemical Engineers are trained in key things like Physical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, it was the kinetics training that really set us apart from other engineers.  Being able to predict how fast a reaction could take place. 

    However, over the course of my career I rarely utilized it.  Instead I have had a very diverse career. I have been an engineer that designed and built natural gas and NGL pipelines. gas plants, LNG facilities, FPSOs, FLNG topsides, Deepwater topsides and subsea facilities. I have been an operations engineer for a world class helium/LNG extraction plant, a NGL fractionation facility and performed real time hydraulic modeling and leak detection for an interstate pipeline. It was the diverse education that I received as an engineer that facilitated all this.  As engineers we were trained in all the basic engineering sciences. Thermodynamics, Physics, Electrical, Statics and Strengths, Dynamics and Materials. Each were fundamental in allowing me as an engineer to constantly recreate myself in a role that was needed by industry so that I could always be relevant.

    What I have learned in my 39 years is that the most important training that we as Chemical engineers receive is what once Dr. McKetta at the University of Texas told a group of AICHE members was what set up apart from other engineers, "We can look it up faster".  In the day of the information overload of the internet the ability to research and vet the data being presented for it's validity is even more important.



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    Marc Young PE
    Managing Partner
    Marc S. Young, PE, Consulting Engineer
    Sealy TX
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-24-2018 13:29

    I wanted a career that integrated the disciplines of chemistry and chemical engineering. After getting a bachelor's degree in chemistry, I bridged into a graduate program in chemical engineering. The biggest obstacle I encountered in bridging was the high "activation energy"-the investment of time and money to take collateral courses required for admission into the chemical engineering graduate program.  I had to take most of the junior- and senior-level chemical engineering courses required for the BS degree.

    After completing my PhD and joining the chemical engineering faculty at Michigan State University, I began teaching one of two "bridging" courses developed at MSU specifically to accelerate chemists' transition into a chemical engineering graduate program.  These courses (Foundations of Chemical Engineering I and II) cover the foundational theories and calculations of mass and energy balances, thermodynamics, reaction engineering, fluid flow, heat transfer, mass transfer, and separations, all at an accelerated pace.

    Since these courses were adapted to a streaming Internet format about 20 years ago, hundreds of students have taken them online, either to bridge into a chemical engineering graduate program or to develop chemical engineering skills needed to advance their industrial careers.  It has been satisfying to help others obtain the strategically valuable multidisciplinary training across chemistry and chemical engineering that I've enjoyed.    



    ------------------------------
    R. Mark Worden
    Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
    Michigan State University
    East Lansing, MI
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  • 29.  RE: Chemical engineering vs. chemistry

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 05-25-2018 23:02
    My dad was a Chemist, and as a boy I loved messing around with the various chemistry sets he assembled for me.  It was always assumed I would follow his footsteps and study chemistry.  In my senior year at high school there were various trips to visit factories/plants/universities/offices to assess the career opportunities available.  For one such trip I asked my dad if we could have a tour of a new plant his company had just commissioned.  It was fascinating!  I was a convert, and chose Chemical Engineering - as did 5 of my classmates who were similarly smitten.  It helped that BS Chemical engineers were (and are) paid higher than PhD Chemists!   I subsequently had a fabulous career as a Process Engineer with various EPC companies, around the world.  I always tell students "you can stick a pin in a globe, and go work there" as a Chemical Engineer.  And you can always find a job!  I have lived/worked in the UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and in 4 US States.  And have done shorter-term assignments in myriad other locales.
    I fell in love with Ethylene plants - and specialized in startup of these.  But along the way I worked in/on refineries, chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical plants.  Always a challenge - never boring.  I was always surprised that I was paid to have so much fun!  If you don't look forward, each day, to going into work - change jobs NOW.  Now retired (and loving it).

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    Chris Wallsgrove
    Process Engineering, Commissioning, Startup
    Consultant
    Irvine CA
    ------------------------------