Dec. 19, 2022
Longtime Schulich professor wins prestigious chemical engineering award
What was originally planned to be a relaxing late-July day trip to Banff with his wife, ended up becoming much more for Dr. Anil Mehrotra, PhD’80, when he received an unexpected email.
The message to the Schulich School of Engineering prof came from the president of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE), saying he’d just received one of his industry’s most prestigious awards.
The Jules Stachiewicz Medal recognizes contributions in the field of heat transfer, including design, research, manufacturing and teaching.
“Well, our Banff trip that day became doubly enjoyable!” laughs Mehrotra.
A passion for his research
After obtaining his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Calgary in 1980, he joined the then-Faculty of Engineering eight months later and has become one of Schulich’s longest-serving professors.
In that time, he has published more than 180 refereed papers in international journals across a wide range of topics.
While Mehrotra’s research has focused on transport properties of crude oil and remediation of contaminated soils, he has taken a particular interest in heat transfer, including a course (ENCH 403) that he taught for more than 20 years.
He was so passionate about the topic, he even taught it while serving as interim dean in 2010-2011 and the interim head of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in 2018-2019.
“I designed and introduced at least three meaningful experiments to provide hands-on experiential learning to undergraduate students,” Mehrotra says.
My research over the years has involved several applications of heat transfer, including a new approach for explaining and modelling wax deposition in pipelines carrying highly paraffinic crude oils.
Taking on leadership roles
Aside from those two high-profile positions, Mehrotra has held a number of other roles during his tenure at Schulich.
For example, he founded the Centre for Environmental Engineering Research and Education (CEERE) in 2002, serving as its director until 2016.
“CEERE also introduced a novel administrative structure as it attempted to bring together faculty members in all engineering departments,” Mehrotra says. “It helped deliver interdisciplinary teaching and research programs in a collaborative culture.”
A believer in multidisciplinary learning and research, he has also served as a director of the Sustainable Energy Development program.
“I hope we see many more of these initiatives at UCalgary going forward,” Mehrotra says. “We need to work collaboratively in tackling some of the huge energy, environmental, health, sustainability, technological and economic challenges faced by our society, today and into the future.”
Proud of what he’s accomplished
As he was receiving his Jules Stachiewicz Medal at an October gala in Vancouver, Mehrotra reminisced about how far the Schulich School has come since he joined as an assistant professor in 1981.
He’s particularly proud of the impact he has had on the hundreds of students who have come through his various classrooms and laboratories, having won a multitude of teaching and service awards over the years.
Mehrotra, who has also been CSChE’s treasurer since 2018, hopes this latest recognition inspires his students to want to make a difference in the world.
“I feel honoured to be among other high-profile and accomplished Canadian researchers who have won the Jules Stachiewicz Medal before me,” he says.