Volume 92, Issue 12

Thursday, September 24, 1998

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A meeting of the engineering kind

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Chemical engineers and engineering students will converge in London on Oct. 4 as Western hosts the 48th annual Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference.

The four-day conference will offer as many as 1,000 engineers from over 20 countries a forum to report on the progress of chemical engineering technologies as well as a chance to reflect on new methods for teaching engineering, said Hugo de Lasa, professor of chemical engineering at Western.

"This may mean new processes that eliminate chemicals that harm the environment – the final beneficiary is the environment and society at large," he said.

The conference itself does not implement new ideas but the people present may choose to do so, de Lasa added. "This may translate into new research in universities or companies or it may translate into new ideas. We are trying to promote new concepts or innovations," he said.

For the first time this conference will offer a full program for engineering students, said Tarek Elsolh, chemical engineering PhD student at Western and director of the student conference. "We got an amazing response from students," he said.

The conference will offer students the chance to listen to speeches from prominent engineers, participate in workshops and engage in competitions.

"It will be an open forum to discuss whether graduate school is a good investment in your future or not," he said.

Elsolh added it will be a tremendous opportunity for students to meet other engineering students as well as potential employers. "Students will get the chance to see the new technologies – what is being done and where the interest is these days," he said.

University Students' Council VP-finance Dave Small said the USC made a $500 donation in support of this conference because it is a good way to get the Western name out and show other universities its quality of education.

"I'm sure it will help a lot of chemical engineering students determine where they want to go in life."

Small also said the conference has planned tours of several engineering companies for students to see what the job really entails. "It's an opportunity to see what it's like to be a professional engineer," he said.

Paul Fox, director of industry liaison at Western said this conference can only have a positive effect for Western. "It is quite an accomplishment for us to have a conference like this in London, in terms of this type of technology it is quite an event."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998