Department of Chemical Engineering hosts second annual Distinguished Lecture


On Wednesday, Oct. 26, the Department of Chemical Engineering hosted its second annual Distinguished Lecture featuring Jacob Israelachvili, professor of chemical engineering, materials and biomolecular science and engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Israelachvili’s lecture, “Dynamic (non-equilibrium, rate, time and history-dependent) Adhesion and Rupture Forces in Materials, Soft Matter and Biological Systems,” focused on the increasing complexity of polymer and biological systems and the various categories of rate, time and history-dependent phenomena that have surfaced as a result. Israelachvili explored these topics, focusing on data collected in recent experimental studies of interactions in viscoelastic, soft material, colloidal and biological systems that involved complex deformations, slow structural rearrangements and various relaxation processes occurring at different time scales.

For the past three decades, Israelachvili has served as a faculty member at the UCSB, where he holds joint appointments in the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Materials and Biomolecular Science and Engineering. He served as the associate director of the Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB from 1993 until 2003. His many awards include the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Alpha Chi Sigma Award; the Adhesion Society Award for Excellence in Adhesion Science; the American Chemical Society National Award in Colloid and Surface Chemistry; and the Materials Research Society Medal.

Israelachvili is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Royal Society of London. He is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Most recently, Israelachvili was added to the AIChE list “One Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era,” and elected to the fellowship of the American Academy of Science. In addition, he received the world’s highest award in tribology, the 2013 Tribology Gold Medal Award, for pioneering contributions to the technology and science of friction and wear.

Israelachvili’s presentation served as a follow up to the department’s 2015 inaugural Distinguished Lecture, which featured David A. Tirrell, the Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology.

The annual event aims to bring together the materials science, chemistry, life science and engineering communities for an afternoon of learning and enrichment at University Park. 


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Jacob Israelachvili, professor of chemical engineering, materials and biomolecular science and engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Jacob Israelachvili lecture
Jacob Israelachvili spoke in front of a full crowd at the Huck Life Sciences Building Berg Auditorium on Wednesday, October 26.

jacob and phil
Chemical engineering department head Phillip Savage presents the 2016 Distinguished Lecture award to Jacob Israelachvili.



The Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering, established in 1948, is recognized as one of the largest and most influential chemical engineering departments in the nation.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry.

Department of Chemical Engineering

119 Greenberg Complex

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2574