Famous Chemical and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineers

If you decide to become a chemical or chemical & biomolecular engineer, you'll be in good company! Here's a list of important, influential, and celebrity Ch(B)Es, past and present, who either studied toward or completed a degree.

Charles "Garry" Betty was the President and CEO of internet service provider Earthlink.

Samuel W. Bodman, who served as the United States Secretary of Energy from 2005-2009, received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell and his Sc.D. in chemical engineering from M.I.T., where he was also a professor.

James Kevin Brown, former major league baseball pitcher, was on track to become a chemical engineer at Georgia Tech when he was drafted by the Texas Rangers.

Frank Capra, director of "It's a Wonderful Life" and other films, earned a degree in chemical engineering from the school now known as CalTech.

Cindy Crawford began pursuing a degree in chemical engineering at Northwestern University on a full scholarship, but ultimately became a supermodel.

General Raymond G. Davis joined the Marines after earning his degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech. He served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. As a major in the Korean War, while serving as fighter pilot, he received the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty" in defending other aircraft from a squadron of enemy fighters "against formidable odds."

Ahn Duong (B.S. '82), director of the Borders and Maritime Security Division in the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security, is an internationally recognized expert in explosives currently focusing her efforts on combating terrorism who has been featured in books and on television. One of her most significant accomplishments was the development of the first U.S. thermobaric bomb, used in Afghanistan to destroy command posts situated in deep caves and tunnels.

Vilma Espin was not only a chemical engineer, but a women's rights advocate and a Cuban revolutionary who was married to Fidel Castro's brother, Raul. She was often considered "Cuba's First Lady," despite being Fidel Castro's sister-in-law.

John Bennett Fenn, who shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a mass spectrometry technique to analyze biological macromolecules, is a chemical engineer. His work has had a direct effect on the development of new pharmaceuticals.

Clifton C. Garvin, former President Exxon, is a chemical engineer.

Roberto Goizueta, former Chairman, Director, and CEO of Coca-Cola, was a chemical engineer.

Bob Gore, who invented the waterproof, windproof fabric GORE-TEX®, is a chemical engineer.

William Sealy Gosset was a Head Brewer for Guinness. He was also a famous statistician, but was forced to publish secretly under the pen name "Student" due to a company policy forbidding its employees to publish at all after a former employee published confidential information.

Andrew Grove, who has a degree in chemical engineering, was one of the founding members of Intel. Over the years, he has served as the company's President, CEO, Chairman, and Senior Advisor.

Fritz Haber, a chemical engineer, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for developing the Haber Process, which is used for the fixation of nitrogen from the air.

Beatrice Hicks, the founder of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), was a chemical engineer.

Terrance Howard, Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated actor and singer who had numerous roles on TV and in films including "NYPD Blue", "Living Single", and "Mr. Holland's Opus", "Crash", and "Iron Man," studied chemical engineering at the Pratt Institute.

Mae Jemison, who received her B.S. in chemical engineering from Stanford, was a science mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992 and first African American woman in space. She is also a medical doctor, former member of the Peace Corps, and even a former guest star on Star Trek: The Next Generation. A longtime fan of the franchise, she was inspired as a child by the character Lieutenant Uhura.

Ashton Kutcher, known for his roles in "That 70's Show" and "The Butterfly Effect", and as the co-creator of "Punk'd", was a biochemical engineering student at the University of Iowa.

Arthur D. Little gave us the term "unit operations" and lead AIChE's Committee on Chemical Engineering Education, which promoted Unit Ops lab experience, accreditation, and the standardization of the chemical engineering curriculum.

Dolph Lundgren, actor and 3rd degree Black Belt in Kyokushinkai who rose to fame in the 1980s after portraying Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV", earned a degree in chemical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, and a master's degree from the University of Sydney, Australia. He also won a Fulbright scholarship, but changed his career plans after winning his role in "Rocky IV".

Victor Mills, a chemical engineer who worked for Proctor & Gamble, lead the team that invented Pampers, the first disposable diapers. He also worked on improving products such as Ivory soap, Duncan Hines cake mixes, Jif peanut butter, and Pringles.

David J. O'Reilly, Chairman and CEO of Chevron, is a chemical engineer.

Linus Pauling, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, was a chemist and chemical engineer.

Lee Raymond, a former Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, is a chemical engineer.

Dr. George Maxwell Richards is serving his second term as the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He is also a Professor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies. He holds a BSc(Eng) and master's degree from the University of Manchester and a Ph.D from Cambridge.

Erik Rotheim, inventor of the aerosol spray can, was a chemical engineer.

Laura Shields, an English model and actress who has been one of the briefcase-toting models on NBC's "Deal or No Deal", earned a degree in chemical engineering from Leeds University.

Cecil Silas, former CEO of Phillips Petroleum (now ConocoPhillips), is a chemical engineer.

Jack Steinberger, co-winner Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988, is a chemical engineer.

Lewis Urry, a chemical engineer who worked for Eveready, invented the small alkaline and lithium batteries that represent most of the ones we use today.

John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American chemical engineering and mathematician who made important contributions to quantum physics, set theory, computer science, economics and virtually all mathematical fields.

Michael Ruffin, a professional basketball player who has been on teams including the Bulls, Wizards and Bucks, earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Tulsa. He has also been recognized for charitable work, particularly in promoting awareness of violence against women.

John F. Welch, Jr., who holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in chemical engineering, was the Chairman and CEO of General Electric for 20 years. In 1999, Fortune magazine named him the "Manager of the Century."

Chemical engineers have also been featured as characters in movies and on TV!

OK, so they aren't real people, but on occasion writers and directors have made a point of creating characters who were chemical engineers. Just for fun, here are a few examples:

William Denny, a chemical engineer, is a character in Katherine Ann Porter's book, "Ship of Fools" (which was also made into a movie in 1965).

Actor Powers Booth played Corporal Charles Hardin, a chemical engineer by profession, in the 1981 movie "Southern Comfort."

Actor Ewen Bremner played Graeme Miller, a doomed chemical engineer in the 2004 movie "AVP: Alien vs. Predator."

Actor Steve McQueen played American Captain Virgil Hilts in the 1963 classic, "The Great Escape," based on the story of WWII Allied soldiers who escaped a Nazi POW camp.