The Van Ness Award is made in recognition of the achievements of the late H.C. Van Ness, Institute Professor Emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It is presented annually to honor a chemical engineer who has made seminal contributions to the profession. The Van Ness Award Lecture Series is sponsored by a generous endowment from Edward ’62 and Nancy Feltham.
Professor Van Ness received his B.S. and M.S. Degrees from the University of Rochester, where he was also an instructor for two years. After another two years with the M.W. Kellogg Company, he attended Yale University and received a D. Eng. in 1953. Following four years as an Assistant Professor at Purdue University, he came to Rensselaer in 1956. He was a Visiting Professor at Kings College, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, the University of California, Berkeley, and at Danmarks Tekniske Hojskole, Lyngby, Denmark.
Professor Van Ness and his students devised experimental methods that have served as prototypes for world-wide application in accurate and rapid measurement of primary physical properties. They also developed efficient techniques for data reduction that are fundamental to the correlation and generalization of thermodynamic properties for application to chemical process design. In recognition of his significant achievements, Professor Van Ness was named a Fellow of the AIChE, received the 1988 W.K. Lewis Award (AIChE), and was named the IUPAC Rossini Lecturer in 1994.
Professor Van Ness made significant contributions to the literature of chemical thermodynamics that reflect his interest in experiments. He is well-known for Introduction to Chemical-Engineering Thermodynamics, the most widely used chemical engineering textbook of all time. The seventh edition, with coauthors J.M. Smith and M.M. Abbott, was published in 2005. This book has served as a standard text for undergraduates for 55 years. Read Extended Biographical Sketch of Hendrick C. Van Ness.