NASHVILLE, Tenn. – M. Douglas LeVan has been named the J. Lawrence
Wilson Professor of Engineering for the Vanderbilt School of
"Professor LeVan has proven his leadership both as a world-renowned
expert in his chemical engineering discipline and as chair of the
school’s Department of Chemical Engineering," says School of
Engineering Dean Kenneth F. Galloway. "We are extremely pleased to
honor him as the first J. Lawrence Wilson Professor of Engineering."
The J. Lawrence Wilson Chair in the School of Engineering was
created through donations from the Wilson family, the Rohm & Haas
Company and members of the Haas family in honor of Vanderbilt alumnus,
business executive, civic leader and philanthropist J. Lawrence Wilson.
A member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust since 1987, Wilson also
serves on the School of Engineering Shape the Future Campaign Committee.
LeVan chairs the Department of Chemical Engineering at Vanderbilt
and, prior to his appointment to the J. Lawrence Wilson Chair, was
Centennial Professor of Chemical Engineering. Considered one of the
world’s leading researchers in the area of adsorption processes, LeVan
is currently developing equipment to make oxygen from the atmosphere on
LeVan is working with researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center to
develop a system that will take carbon dioxide from the Martian
atmosphere and separate it into oxygen and carbon monoxide.
Vanderbilt’s equipment conducts the third and final step of the process
that recycles unreacted carbon dioxide back into the system. The
adsorption bed that LeVan and his research team are designing produces
carbon monoxide as a byproduct that can be used for fuel as well as for
the production of other materials needed on Mars.
LeVan has edited and authored numerous books and articles on
adsorption and ion exchange, adsorption processes for gas separation
and fixed-bed adsorption. Adsorption involves the use of solids for
removing substances from either gases or liquids. Applications include
separating air into oxygen and nitrogen and removing trace impurities
from air and water.
After obtaining his bachelor of science in chemical engineering from
the University of Virginia in 1971, LeVan received his doctoral degree
in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley
in 1976. He was appointed assistant professor of chemical engineering
at the University of Virginia in 1978 and achieved full professor
status there in 1989. He came to Vanderbilt in 1997 as Centennial
Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Media contact: David F.Salisbury, (615) 343-6803