Debenedetti wins Alpha Chi Sigma Award for chemical engineering research

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2019
by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti has been selected to receive the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)'s Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research.

The award cites Debenedetti's "seminal research contributions on the metastable liquid-liquid phase transition and properties of water at supercooled conditions."

Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and a professor of chemical and biological engineering, is a leader in the development of computational and theoretical methods for investigating liquids, amorphous solids and biomolecules.

His research includes the investigation of supercooled liquids, which maintain their liquid state even when brought below their freezing point. Molecular simulations using state-of-the-art sampling methods by the Debenedetti group suggest that at deeply supercooled temperatures and high pressures, water can take two forms, one of higher density and the other of lower density, and that these two forms represent distinct liquid phases of water, in addition to the familiar phases of solid ice and water vapor.

First presented in 1966, the Alpha Chi Sigma Award is one of the AIChE’s highest honors, and is sponsored by the Alpha Chi Sigma Educational Foundation and Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity. Award recipients are nominated by the AIChE members and selected by an awards committee. The award will be presented Nov. 10 at the 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Debenedetti joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1985 and was appointed dean for research in 2013. Previously, he served as vice dean of Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science from 2008 to 2013 and chair of the chemical engineering department between 1996 and 2004. Debenedetti obtained his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Buenos Aires University, Argentina (1978), and his M.S. (1981) and Ph.D. (1985) degrees, also in chemical engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


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