A leading chemical engineer who has been advancing the field of process systems engineering since the 1950s is to be honoured with the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Sir Frank Whittle Medal.
Roger Sargent FREng, Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College London and former director of its Centre for Process Systems Engineering, has spent his career of over 60 years championing the application of mathematics and computing to solve engineering problems in the process industries.
He is to receive the Sir Frank Whittle Medal for outstanding and sustained achievement at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Annual General Meeting on 8 September, 40 years since the inaugural meeting of the Academy of which he was a founding Fellow.
Professor Sargent was among the first to recognise the need for a branch of chemical engineering concerned with how to design and operate processing facilities, leading the way in developing an approach based on mathematical techniques and developing the first commercially-available simulation software for the industry, SPEEDUP. He went on to found the Centre for Process Systems Engineering (CPSE) in 1989 at Imperial College London, which created the spin-out company Process Systems Enterprise (PSE Ltd). In 2007, PSE Ltd won the Academy’s MacRobert Award for its innovative modelling software.
As an academic, Professor Sargent has supervised over fifty PhD students, many of whom have gone on to become the world’s leading chemical engineers and inspired a network of over 2,000 students with his vision and approach.
Professor Sargent served as President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers from 1973-74, and in 1976 was one of the 130 engineers who formed the Fellowship of Engineering, later to become the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 1993 he was elected as a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Engineering.
On receiving the award, Professor Sargent said: “I am proud to follow in the tradition set by Sir Frank Whittle”.
Professor John Perkins CBE FREng, who nominated Professor Sargent for the award, said: “Roger Sargent is the undisputed father of Process Systems Engineering, a discipline he has played a pivotal role in defining and developing during the course of his long and productive career. It is no exaggeration to say that the vast majority of PSE researchers globally can trace their academic origins back to him. His impact on industrial practice and academia has been enormous.”
Notes for editors
Named after Britain’s jet engine genius, the Sir Frank Whittle Medal is awarded to an engineer resident in the UK whose outstanding and sustained achievements have had a profound impact on their engineering discipline.
Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.
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