UCSB Engineering

July 19, 2012

Professor Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Chemical Engineering Literature

Chemical Engineering professor Jacob Israelachvili to receive AIChE’s 2012 Walker Award for authoritative textbook on intermolecular forces


UC Santa Barbara professor Jacob Israelachvili, known as one of the most influential chemical engineers in the modern era, has been honored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) with the 2012 William H. Walker Award for Excellence in Contributions to Chemical Engineering Literature.

The Walker Award honors a member of AIChE who has made an outstanding work in chemical engineering. Israelachvili first published his textbook “Intermolecular and Surface Forces” in 1985, and has since published two updated editions and sold approximately 20,000 copies. It has been praised as one of the most significant books on the fundamentals of intermolecular forces ever published and has been translated into Japanese, Russian, and soon will be translated into Mandarin Chinese.

“I have dedicated 45 years of my career to exploring the forces between molecules, particles, and surfaces and have been fortunate to publish a now renowned textbook on the subject,” said Israelachvili. “I am happy to see it being used at universities and research institutions throughout the world.”

Israelachvili’s research has been the subject of more than 400 articles in scientific journals over the past several decades. In 2011, Israelachvili and his research team received acclaim for developing a breakthrough equation that predicts molecular forces in hydrophobic interactions. He will accept the Walker Award this October at the AIChE Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"He has an amazing record of scientific publication, partly reflected in his citation h-index of 82 at the time of his nomination," said Gary Leal, professor of Chemical Engineering at UCSB. "He has taken a very difficult subject and, via the use of illustrative figures and disarmingly simple physical explanations, has produced a book that is easy and enjoyable to read."

“This book would not have been possible without the constant interactions I’ve had with graduate students, post-docs, senior research collaborators, and colleagues who have been role models. They forced me to think both in depth and breadth, and taught me how to communicate complex concepts simply and succinctly,” commented Israelachvili.

Two other UCSB faculty members—Leal, and former College of Engineering dean Matthew Tirrell—have been honored with the AIChE Walker Award in past years.

Dr. Jacob Israelachvili is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and member of the U.S. National Academy of Science and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Israelachvili received his Ph.D. in Physics from University of Cambridge and joined the UCSB faculty in 1986. He was recently named by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers as one of the “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” for his achievement and leadership in the field.


Intermolecular and Surface Forces third edition Jacob Israelachvili

Related Links

Faculty Profile - Jacob Israelachvili

AIChE William H. Walker Award

Media Contact

Melissa Van De Werfhorst
(805) 893-4301
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