BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Eli Ruckenstein, SUNY Distinguished Professor
Emeritus at UB and one of the world's most influential chemical
engineers, has been elected to the 2012 class of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's oldest and most
prestigious honorary societies.
A professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological
Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences,
Ruckenstein has been a UB faculty member since 1973. He retired
from the university in January.
Since 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has been
recognizing "thinkers and doers" from each generation; past members
include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill and
Albert Einstein. Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz describes
election to the academy as "both an honor for extraordinary
accomplishment and a call to serve," noting that the academy is a
leading center for independent policy research.
The new class of members will be inducted during a ceremony in
October at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.
"This is a highly prestigious--and very fitting--tribute to Eli
Ruckenstein's stature and significance as one of the leading
scientists of our time," says President Satish K. Tripathi. "His
boundless intellectual energy, innovation, creativity and
astonishing breadth of scientific knowledge distinguish him as one
of our most eminent faculty members--at the University at Buffalo,
across the nation and within the academy worldwide.
"Not only have Dr. Ruckenstein's achievements revolutionized the
chemical engineering field, but they also have had a profound
impact on a wide range of other fields, from applied mathematics
and computing to cancer research. He is richly deserving of
election to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
but truly, he is in a class of his own."
Ruckenstein conducts both theoretical and experimental research
that not only has changed scientists' understanding of the
fundamental phenomena of chemical processes, but has led to the
development of enhanced research methods and new materials.
He was the first UB faculty member to receive the coveted
National Medal of Science, considered the U.S. equivalent to the
Nobel Prize, which is bestowed on individuals who have made
outstanding contributions to knowledge in the chemical, physical,
biological, mathematical, engineering or social sciences.
Ruckenstein also was the first full-time professor in the SUNY
system to be elected to the prestigious National Academy of
Engineering, and he later was named the 2004 recipient of its
Founders Award, which the organization says recognizes "the elite
of the NAE."
Distinguished engineers who have lauded his many accomplishments
repeatedly mention the unprecedented breadth of his work.
Ruckenstein has made groundbreaking contributions in areas
including transport phenomena, the stability of nano-sized liquid
and solid films, and thermodynamics of complex systems. He
pioneered the theoretical and experimental treatment of the
stability of supported metal catalysts, and developed the first
kinetic theory of nucleation, theories for colloidal forces and
theories in molecular thermodynamics. He also invented new
synthetic methods for preparing polymeric membranes and polymeric
He has published more than 900 scientific papers and 10 patents
have been issued based on his research. One of them, which covers
new materials he developed with interesting thermal and rheological
properties, was licensed by IBM and has been used in the company's
computers. He currently is nearing completion of the third volume
of his collected works.
Ruckenstein has been honored by the American Institute of
Chemical Engineers with its most prestigious awards: the Founder's
Award in 2002 for outstanding contributions to the field of
chemical engineering; the Walker Award in 1988 for excellence in
contributions to chemical engineering literature, recognizing his
work in catalysis; and the Alpha Chi Sigma Award in 1977 for
excellence in chemical engineering research, recognizing his work
in transport phenomena. And, on the occasion of its 100th
anniversary, the institute designated him as one of 50 Eminent
Chemical Engineers of the Foundation Age.
He received the 1986 Kendall Award of the American Chemical
Society for creative theories and experiments in colloid and
surface science and, in 1994, he received the society's Langmuir
Lecture Award for his work in macromolecules.
In 1996, he was awarded the American Chemical Society's E.V.
Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. He received
the Senior Humboldt Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
in West Germany in 1985 for his work related to detergents and the
Creativity Award from the National Science Foundation for his work
on protein separation.
He has received numerous other awards nationally and locally,
including the Walter P. Cooke Award from UB for notable and
meritorious contributions to the university; the Pioneer of Science
Award from the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute; the
Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, UB's highest award; and the
Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal of the Western New York section of the
American Chemical Society for his work in supported-metal
Previously a professor at Polytechnic Institute in Bucharest,
the University of Delaware and Clarkson University, Ruckenstein has
held visiting professorships at the Catholic University in Leuven,
Belgium; Technion in Haifa, Israel; Bayreuth University in West
Germany; and Carnegie-Mellon University.
Ruckenstein received bachelor's and doctoral degrees in
engineering from Polytechnic Institute in Bucharest.
He and his wife, Velina, who is a chemist, reside in