University of Pittsburgh
February 10, 2004

Pitt Engineering Faculty and Alumni Win Carnegie Science Center Awards for Excellence

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Eric Beckman, Bayer Professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, will be honored April 12 with a Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence in the Environmental category. The awards recognize the most outstanding recent achievements in science and technology in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Beckman, codirector of the School of Engineering's Mascaro Sustainability Initiative, is being recognized for his work in green chemistry. His pioneering work in creating a gel form of CO2—carbon dioxide—is being employed in enhanced oil recovery, efficiently maximizing the output of older wells in an environmentally friendly manner.

The CO2 gel, an environmentally benign solvent, may be useful in replacing a chemical used by dry cleaners, perchloroethylene, a ground contaminant and probable carcinogen. It also could replace washing solvents used during the manufacture of semiconductors. Linde Gas, a European supplier of industrial gases, has licensed Beckman's method for producing the CO2 gel solvent.

Joe McCarthy, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and the University's Product Realization Curriculum Team will receive Honorable Mentions in the University/Post-Secondary Educator category. With the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation, McCarthy is redesigning the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum to be more integrated by using block scheduling.

The Product Realization Curriculum Team is being recognized for creating and support of the Certificate of Product Realization, a hands-on technical and business education option for Pitt Engineering students. The program closes competency gaps in product design and product creation between academia and industry. The team is made up of Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Bopaya Bidanda, and Larry Shuman, all in the Department of Industrial Engineering; Rabikar Catterjee in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business; Michael Lovell in the Department of Mechanical Engineering; and Marlin Mickle in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Pitt alumnus Gerald E. McGinnis, chair and founder of Respironics, will receive the Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence in the Entrepreneur category, which recognizes an individual who has successfully commercialized the results of scientific research to develop a business and generate jobs. McGinnis earned the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree at Pitt in 1960.

The Carnegie Science Center Awards for Excellence raise public awareness about science and its application in our lives. They also serve to underscore the interrelationship of schools and universities, research laboratories, business development, and job creation in this region. Awardees will receive a $1,000 cash prize, to be applied to an identified project.