Robert A. Brown, internationally known for his research and teaching in chemical engineering, has been named the Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Brown is head of the MIT Department of Chemical Engineering.
His appointment to the chair-named for the man considered the founder of modern chemical engineering-was announced by Professor Joel Moses, dean of engineering at MIT. Professor Lewis, who died in 1975 at age 92, was the first head of chemical engineering at MIT. The department was the first of its kind in the United States.
Professor Brown, who specializes in fluid mechanics and transport processes, is also an authority on the use of supercomputers to solve complex engineering problems in chemical processing.
In 1991, he became one of the youngest engineers to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. The citation read: "For application of computing techniques to fundamental and practical problems in fluid mechanics, rheology and crystal growth."
Professor Brown received the BS (1974) and the MS (1975) from the University of Texas, Austin, and the PhD (1979) from the University of Minnesota, all in chemical engineering. He joined the MIT faculty in 1980. In that year, and again in 1983, 1985 and 1988, the students of his department presented him with its Outstanding Faculty Award, and in 1985 he received the MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching Award. In 1984 he was awarded a Camile and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Grant and in 1986 the American Institute of Chemical Engineers presented him its Allan P. Colburn Award for Excellence in Publications.
Last year he was named one of the 1991 Outstanding Young Texas Exes, an award given by the Ex-Student's Association at the University of Texas, Austin, to those who distinguish themselves in their profession before they are 40. The citation cited Professor Brown's work as codirector of the MIT Supercomputer Facility, and his involvement as a founding member of the Consortium for Scientific Computing at MIT.
A version of this article appeared in the April 8, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 26).