Title and Description Page
Childhood and Early Education 1
Family background. Early life in South Carolina, Kansas, and Arkansas. Life-long interest in railroads. High school in Little Rock, Arkansas, and early interest in science.
College Education 5
Science and mathematics courses at The Citadel military school and transfer to Georgia Institute of Technology. Discussion of curriculum and chemical engineering program at Georgia Tech. Interest in unit operations. Effects of World War II on curriculum and career options.
Wartime Career at Monsanto Chemical Company 9
Position with Monsanto and assignment at general headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Positions at Kankakee Ordnance Works and Longhorn Ordnance Works. Discussion of TNT nitration process. Civil engineering work. Involvement in set-up of synthetic rubber plant in Texas City. Work with ethylene cracking furnaces. Monsanto vs. Dow processes for styrene. Membership in AIChE.
Postwar Career at Monsanto Chemical Company 19
Postwar shift to commercial petrochemical production based on acetylene and ethylene. Work on ethylene plant joint venture with Socony Vacuum Oil Company. Styrene plant analysis. Texas City polystyrene plant destroyed in Grandcamp explosion and rebuilt as center of Monsanto's petrochemical business. Academic leave at University of Michigan. Work with BASF on German acetylene pilot plant.
Graduate School 24
Fellowship at the University of Texas. Ph.D. work on catalysis and reaction engineering with Howard Rase. Position with Shell Development Company.
Return to Monsanto Chemical Company 26
Work with Ralph Wenner at Central Research Laboratories. Heading engineering research group. Company consultant in areas of ethylene and hydrocarbon pyrolysis. Shift from emphasis on acetylene-based to ethylene-based derivatives. Work from 1964 to 1979 heading a technology function to serve corporate Monsanto.
Academic Career 28
Monsanto's continuing education program and affiliation with Washington University. Course in process design at Washington University. Offered first chair in engineering at University of Texas (UT). Discussion of Monsanto's attitude toward publishing, and papers on distillation technology, technical writing, and trace quantity engineering to protect the environment. Discussion of contribution to Perry's Handbook and international textbook on distillation. Discussion of chemical engineering degree requirements and need for collaboration with industry. Development of Monsanto's FLOWTRAN computer program for process simulation/computer-aided design. FLOWTRAN licensed to Department of Energy. Aspen Technology. Development of UT's Separations Research Program (SRP), with industrial support for fundamental and applied research. John McKetta chair, teaching, students. Research in separations, heat transfer, extraction, adsorption, and structured packings. Lecture for King Award. International collaborations and SRP publications. Importance and advantages of distillation processes and research. Discussion of graduate students, industrial vs. academic careers, involvement in AIChE Dynamic Objectives Committee and publications and continuing education committees. Consulting activities. Computer program design. Discussion of family.