University of Pittsburgh
February 8, 2006

Pitt Professor Named Engineer of the Year by Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania

Eric Beckman, director of Pitt's Mascaro Sustainability Initiative, is internationally known for his work on "green" science

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh Professor Eric J. Beckman will be honored as the 2005 Engineer of the Year by the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP) at its annual awards banquet Feb. 22.

Beckman, who is the Bayer Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt and codirector of the University's Mascaro Sustainability Initiative (MSI), was selected by the ESWP awards committee for his "outstanding leadership, innovative guidance, and service to the engineering profession and society."

"Eric was chosen by the Engineers' Society to receive the Engineer of the Year Award because of his work in sustainable engineering, his diverse range of technical achievements, his commitment to education, and his enthusiasm for the profession of engineering," said Alex G. Sciulli, who is the first vice president of the ESWP and chair of the awards committee.

Beckman's research encompasses the design of more sustainable products and processes. Current projects include designing sustainable alternatives to products and processes that employ chlorine, like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic; greener alternatives to acrylamide (a harmful chemical used in various industrial processes); and benign ways of making the environmentally friendly substance hydrogen peroxide.

Beckman earned the Ph.D. degree in polymer science and engineering at the University of Massachusetts in 1988 and the B.S. degree in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980.

Beckman received a Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1992 and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2002 for his work in the development of nonfluorous, highly carbon dioxide-soluble materials. He has published more than 150 papers and holds 25 patents.

The MSI is dedicated to promoting and supporting interdisciplinary research and education programs that focus on green construction and the sustainable use of water. Its mission is to encourage and nurture new collaborative projects based on strong and innovative research helping to translate the fundamental science of sustainability into real products and processes. More information can be found at

At the banquet, the ESWP also will honor Carnegie Mellon University President Jared L. Cohon with its William Metcalf Award, named after the society's first president and given to "a very outstanding engineer … whose field of engineering accomplishment relates to those fields normally associated with Western Pennsylvania."

The ESWP serves as a catalyst to promote interaction throughout the technical community in Western Pennsylvania. Its more than 1,000 members and 50 associated technical societies reflect the richness of the full spectrum of engineering and applied science disciplines. More information is available at

NOTE: A photo of Eric Beckman is available at