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Cedomir M. Sliepcevich

  • Born: October 4, 1920, Anaconda, Montana

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0108
Interview Date: March 1, 1993
Location: University of Oklahoma,
Interviewer: James J. Bohning
No. of pages: 64
Sponsor: Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation
Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation

  Abstract of Interview

Cedomir Sliepcevich begins the interview with a description of his family and early years in Anaconda, Montana. A firm educational beginning in Anaconda influenced Sliepcevich to attend college. He enrolled in the chemical engineering program at Montana State College in 1937. During his sophomore year, Sliepcevich knew he wanted to go on to graduate school. In 1939, he transferred to the University of Michigan and received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering there. While a graduate student, Sliepcevich studied thermodynamics under George Granger Brown. During the summer of 1942, he worked with Fred Kurata on a National Defense Research Council classified project on screening smokes. While earning his Ph.D., Sliepcevich was an instructor at the University, where he taught thermodynamics. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1947, he also worked as a consultant for the U.S. Army V-2 rocket test program. In addition to his career in academia, Sliepcevich continued to do consulting work for various companies, including Monsanto Chemical Company, Constock Liquid Methane Corporation, and Autoclave Engineers, Inc. In 1955, he joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma as Professor and Chairman of Chemical Engineering. Sliepcevich was instrumental in redeveloping the University's doctoral program and engineering curricula, and established the Flame Dynamics Laboratory there. He founded his own firm, University Engineers, Inc., in 1963, which specialized in fire protection systems for liquid natural gas. He officially retired from teaching in 1991 and continued to work as a consultant on many research projects. Sliepcevich concludes the interview with reflections on his career.

Audio recording of this interview is not available.

  Education

1941 B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan
1942 M.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan
1948 Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan

  Professional Experience

Private Consultant

1942 Private Consultant

University of Michigan

1942 - 1948

Associate, Research Institute

University of Michigan

1942 - 1946

Teaching Assistant

University of Michigan

1946 - 1948 Instructor

University of Michigan

1948 - 1952 Assistant Professor of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

University of Michigan

1948 - 1952 Chairman of the Graduate Standards Committee for Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

University of Michigan

1953 - 1955 Associate Professor of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

University of Michigan

1953 - 1955 Chairman of the Graduate Standards Committee for Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

Autoclave Engineers, Inc.

1945 - 1990 Consultant

Autoclave Engineers, Inc.

1961 - 1990 Board of Directors

Monsanto Chemical Company

1952 - 1953 Senior Chemical Engineer

Constock Liquid Methane Corporation

1955 - 1960 Manager of Research, Development, and Engineering Conch Methane Services Ltd. (London)

Constock Liquid Methane Corporation

1960 - 1963 Principal Consultant

University of Oklahoma

1955 - 1959 Professor and Chairman of Chemical Engineering

University of Oklahoma

1956 - 1962 Associate Dean of the College of Engineering

University of Oklahoma

1958 - 1963 Chairman of the School of General Engineering

University of Oklahoma

1963 - 1991 George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Engineering

University of Oklahoma

1989 - 1991 Robert W. Hughes Centennial Professor of Engineering

University of Oklahoma

1991 Professor Emeritus of Engineering

Constock-Pritchard Corporation

1961 - 1963 Board of Directors

University Engineers, Inc.

1963 - 1978 President

University Engineers, Inc.

1963 - 1978 Chairman of the Board of Directors

Republic Geothermal, Inc.

1974 - 1975 Board of Directors

University Technologists, Inc.

1978 President and Chairman of the Board of Directors

  Honors

1958 Curtis McGraw Research Award, American Society for Engineering Education
1959 International Ipatieff Research Prize
1962 National Sigma Xi Lecturer
1964 George Westinghouse Award, American Society for Engineering Education
1967 Sesquicentennial Award for Distinguished Alumni, University of Michigan
1972 Member, National Academy of Engineers
1972 Peter C. Reilly Lecturer, University of Notre Dame
1973 Engineer of the Year, Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers
1974 Engineer of the Year, National Society of Professional Engineers
1974 Oklahoma Hall of Fame
1975 Distinguished Service Citation, University of Oklahoma
1975 Award of Merit, Oklahoma Academy of Science
1976 Donald L. Katz Lecturer, University of Michigan
1978 William H. Walker Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
1986 Gas Industry Research Award, Sprague Schlumberger, Operating Section, American Gas Association
1992 University of Oklahoma established C. M. Sliepcevich Professorship in College of Engineering
1993 First Honorary Member of the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Early Years 1

Growing up in Anaconda, Montana. Parents' history. Family emphasis on education. Working on local railroad. Decision to enroll in Montana State College.

College and Graduate School 5

Going into chemical engineering. Transferring to University of Michigan. Math Courses. Studying under professors Lee Owen Case, George Granger Brown and Donald L. Katz. Becoming a teaching fellow. G. G. Brown as thesis advisor.

Early Career 17

V-2 rocket testing program. Continuing in academia. Working for Monsanto Chemical Company. Biomedical research. Leaving University of Michigan for University of Oklahoma.

Teaching and Consulting 27

Consulting for CONOCO. Chairman and Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Oklahoma. Restructuring engineering department and curricula. Marriage to Cleo L. Whorton. NSF grants. Developing the Flame Dynamics Laboratory.

Later Career 40

Grant from National Bureau of Standards Fire Protection Division. CONSTOCK. Liquefied natural gas studies. Working for Office of Saline Water. Consulting work for NASA. Energy conservation. University Engineers, Inc. Consulting for Dow and Owens-Corning Fiberglas.

Final Thoughts 50

Presentation on thermodynamics. Retirement from academia. Serbian Orthodox Church. Reflections on career.

Notes 54

Index 58

  About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning is professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he was a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and has presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was the foundation’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. He is currently a visiting research scientist and CESAR Fellow at Lehigh University. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.

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