Imperial College London

Professor Roger Sargent becomes the first winner of the IChemE MM Sharma Medal


Professor Roger Sargent

The IChemE MM Sharma Medal recognises his immense contributions towards expanding the field of chemical engineering over the course of his career.

Established in 2014, the MM Sharma Medal was launched to recognise sustained contributions to the field of chemical engineering research by an individual. Professor MM Sharma, the medal’s namesake is one of the most esteemed chemical engineers in India. He was the first Indian engineer to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and served as the Director of the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT, formerly UDCT), India’s premier chemical engineering institute for 33 years during which time the institute’s research and academic output improved exponentially. He won the Leverhulme Medal of the Royal Society for his work towards understanding the dynamics of multi-phase reactions in industrial processes. To honour his illustrious career, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour, in 2001.

The IChemE Medals & Prizes Committee has chosen Professor Roger Sargent as the first ever recipient of the award to recognise his contributions towards pioneering and establishing the field of Process Systems Engineering right here at Imperial College London. Professor Sargent’s career is inextricably linked to the history of chemical engineering at Imperial. He obtained his PhD under the supervision of legendary Professor Dudley Newitt following which he began his academic career as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemical Engineering. By 1966, Professor Sargent was Courtaulds Professor of Chemical Engineering (a position he held until 1992) and from 1975-1988 he served as Head of Chemical Engineering. However, it was in 1989 that he would found the Centre for Process Systems Engineering (CPSE) which is his lasting accomplishment.

Professor Sargent is widely known as the “father” of Process Systems Engineering. He has been pioneering the use of computers in the field of chemical engineering since the fifties. His influence over the field of process systems engineering is notable not only because of the breadth of research that he contributed but also because of the sheer size of his “academic family tree” of research students, many of whom went on to great prominence in the field themselves. By the beginning of the 21st century, seven ‘generations’ of researchers had been supervised by him totalling over 600 people! In recognition of his accomplishments, the Annual Professor Roger Sargent lecture was instituted at the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1994. The IChemE also instituted the Sargent Medal in 2014 in honour of his work.

A visionary in many ways, Professor Roger Sargent has led the world in the use of computer aided design of products and processes all throughout his career that spans over four decades. His mark upon the institution and the field is indelible.

The 2015 roll call for IChemE medals and awards will feature three other winners associated with Imperial College London – Professor Costas Pantelides who will receive the Sargent Medal, Professor Athanasios Mantalaris who will receive the Donald Medal and alumnus Ed Daniels, Executive Vice President - Commercial and New Business Development at Shell, who will receive the Council Medal.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Roger Sargent for his latest accolade. It is truly well-deserved and we wish him many more to come!

The full list of the 2015 IChemE medal and prize winners can be found here


Mikhail Menezes

Mikhail Menezes
Department of Chemical Engineering

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