UofSC professor elected to National Academy of Engineering

University of South Carolina chemical engineering professor John Monnier has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a prestigious group of researchers selected for their significant and lasting contributions to the field.

Monnier was one of only 84 researchers nationwide to earn the distinction this year. He joined USC’s College of Engineering and Computing in 2004 after spending a career as a research scientist with Eastman Kodak and Eastman Chemical companies. His research focuses on catalysis, and he is credited with the discovery of a new chemical compound with hundreds of applications ranging from pharmaceuticals to automotive fuel components.

“Many accomplished scientists and engineers have the goal of ending their careers where they started them — in a university setting,” Monnier said. “I chose the department of chemical engineering at South Carolina because of the quality of the faculty and topics of the research programs. Specifically, I was drawn to the ongoing and broad-based programs in catalysis, both traditional chemical catalysis and novel applications of catalysis such as fuel cells. I am very happy with my decision to come to South Carolina.”

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions for engineers. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice and education as well as pioneering new technology. Monnier, who currently holds 31 patents and approximately 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, was singled out by the NAE for his discovery of 3,4-epoxy-1-butene (EpBTM) and related derivatives.

“The news that John Monnier was elected to the National Academy of Engineering gave me tremendous joy,” said John Weidner, chair of Carolina's chemical engineering department. “What he has meant to our research program, particularly the training of graduate students, cannot be overstated. Not only is John one of the finest scientists in the area of heterogeneous catalysis in the world, but he brings 30-plus years of industrial perspective that no other faculty member in our department could provide. More importantly though, he brings a personal touch to research that leaves a mark on all the undergraduates, graduate students and faculty members who have worked with him.”

Monnier and the other new elected NAE members will be formally inducted during a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., in October.

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