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Professor Creates Lecture Series in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Dr. Keith Gubbins looks over the work of one of his graduate students in the CHiPs office on Centennial Campus.
Dr. Keith Gubbins looks over the work of one of his graduate students in the CHiPs office on Centennial Campus.

Renowned physicist Dr. Giovanni Ciccotti of the University of Rome spent a week on the NC State campus in April 2013, delivering a series of lectures for theĀ Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) entitled “Time-Dependent Nonequilibrium Molecular Dynamics.”

Dr. Keith Gubbins, W.H. Clark Distinguished University Professor in the department, was impressed by the visit.

During his visit, Ciccotti was able to give three lectures on campus and spend time meeting with faculty and students.

Often, Gubbins said, a visiting lecturer will fly in on Sunday, lecture on Monday and fly out Monday evening. A tour of the facilities, a couple of meetings and the lecture itself are about all that can be packed into the schedule.

Gubbins thinks that there is a larger impact for students when the visitor can spend more time. He hopes that the Keith E. Gubbins Lecture Series he and his wife, Pauline, have created in CBE will afford some of those opportunities.

Gubbins says it’s particularly important to give students in the department a chance to meet and interact with visiting researchers.

“We struggle to do that because of funding and I thought this was something I could do and make an impact,” he said.

Gubbins, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, admits to a bias for researchers doing quantitative engineering but would like to see lecturers from different fields.

He hopes to bring visiting lecturers in for a week for multiple lectures and plenty of interaction time. The first Gubbins Lecture is planned for the 2015-16 academic year.

Gubbins would like to see the series start with some distinguished engineers, but could also see physicists and other scientists in different fields of interest to engineers as featured lecturers. A faculty group would present names of potential guests and the entire CBE faculty would vote.

Gubbins received a B.S. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, both from the University of London, and has been on the CBE faculty for 17 years. He came to NC State from Cornell University, where he had taught and served as the department head in chemical engineering.

(Original story from NC State College of Engineering)