Neal Amundson

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Neal Amundson
Neal Amundson.jpg
Neal Amundson
Born (1916-01-10)January 10, 1916
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Died February 16, 2011(2011-02-16) (aged 95)
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Minnesota
Awards E. V. Murphree Award (1960)
Albert Einstein Award (1989)
Scientific career
Fields Mathematical Modeling, Chemical reaction engineering, Transport phenomena
Institutions University of Minnesota
University of Houston
Doctoral advisor Hugh Turrittin
Doctoral students Over 50 students

Neal R. Amundson (January 10, 1916 – February 16, 2011)[1] was an American chemical engineer. He was the Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota for over 25 years. Later, he was the Cullen Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Houston. Amundson was considered one of the most prominent chemical engineering educators and researchers in the United States.[citation needed]. The Chemical Engineering and Materials Science building at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities bears his name.[2]

Early life[edit]

A Minnesota native, Amundson was educated at the University of Minnesota, earning a BS ChE (1937), an MS ChE (1941), and a PhD in Mathematics (1945).


He taught in the mathematics department until 1947 and joined the University of Minnesota's Chemical Engineering Department, where he served as Chair from 1949 until 1977. During his 25 years as department chair, Amundson helped the department to achieve a high national ranking among chemical engineering departments, which it still retains.[3]

Amundson joined the University of Houston (UH) in 1977 as a Cullen Professor and a faculty member of the Chemical Engineering & Mathematics departments. He served as UH Provost from 1987 to 1989. Amundson is known internationally for his pioneering work applying mathematical modeling and analysis to the solution of chemical engineering problems. His technical contributions are in the areas of mathematical modeling and analysis of chemical reactors, separation systems, polymerization units, and coal gasification units.[citation needed] Amundson was one of the main architects of the analytical methodology practiced by chemical engineers today.[4]

Amundson wrote more than 200 technical articles as well as several books. He chaired the U.S. National Research Council committee that wrote the influential "Frontiers in Chemical Engineering" report. He was the U.S. editor of Chemical Engineering Science from 1955 to 1972. Amundson was elected a member of National Academy of Engineering in 1970[5] and the National Academy of Sciences in 1992.[6] He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992.[7] The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) bestowed on Amundson the prestigious NAE Founders' Award in 1990.[8]

In 1996, Amundson was the first recipient of the International Symposia on Chemical Reaction Engineering (ISCRE) award for excellence,[9] an award that is also named for him. The chemical engineering building at his alma mater University of Minnesota is named in his honor.[10] He received numerous professional awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), American Chemical Society (ACS), International Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering (ISCRE), and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

He received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Minnesota, Notre Dame, Pennsylvania, Guadalajara, and Northwestern University.[8] He received the highest faculty honors given by the Universities of Minnesota and Houston.[8]


Amundson died on February 16, 2011, at the age of 95.


  1. ^ "Father of Chemical Engineering" Neal Amundson Passes Away, University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, February 17, 2011: "passed away yesterday".
  2. ^
  3. ^ Oral history interview with Neal R. Amundson Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Dr. Neal R. Amundson". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Amundson, Neal R.". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Amundson bio, University of Houston. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  9. ^ ISCRE website
  10. ^ 'Father of chemical engineering' turns 90, still teaching at UH