Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that applies physical sciences (physics and chemistry) and life sciences (microbiology and biochemistry) together with applied mathematics and economics to produce, transform, transport, and properly use chemicals, materials and energy. Essentially, chemical engineers design large-scale processes that convert chemicals, raw materials, living cells, microorganisms and energy into useful forms and products.
■ Specifically, chemical engineers improve food processing techniques, and methods of producing fertilizers, to increase the quantity and quality of available food.
■ They also construct the synthetic fibers that make our clothes more comfortable and water resistant; they develop methods to mass-produce drugs, making them more affordable; and they create safer, more efficient methods of refining petroleum products, making energy and chemical sources more productive and cost effective.
■ Chemical engineers also develop solutions to environmental problems, such as pollution control and remediation.
■ And yes, they process chemicals, which are used to make or improve just about everything you see around you.
Chemical engineers face many of the same challenges that other professionals face, and they meet these challenges by applying their technical knowledge, communication and teamwork skills; the most up-to-date practices available; and hard work. Benefits include financial reward, recognition within industry and society, and the gratification that comes from working with the processes of nature to meet the needs of society.