Sunday, April 02, 2006

Chemical Engineering

This was my second degree (First was a regular Bsc. Zoology and Physics).Completed four year program in three years thanks to Advance Standing courses obtained from BSc. degree in zoology and biophysics. I have mixed feelings about the Chemical Engineering program that I took at the University of Toronto.

10 positives

1. It improved my problem solving skills immensely especially with respect to sorting out critical information from noise data for effective analysis.
2. Enhanced time management ability. Six Exams in six days will do that for you.
3. Opened my eyes to the numerous practicalities of science.
4. Taught me to write first class lab reports and assignments.
5. Math and Computer knowledge multiplied.
6. Made some great friends in the program (Bob, Lubi, Julie, Dave)
7. Learnt that I definitely was not your stereotypical engineer.
8. Made me appreciate history and writing even more (it was the best defense that I had against the tedium of most of the engineering work).
9. Discovered that my strongest advantage with respect to most other engineers was my ability to communicate.
10. Realized that graduate studies in engineering is definitely not the pathway I tend to follow in life. I do not have the patience for research.

10 negatives

1. Found many of the professors to be arrogant and caught up in their own perceived self importance.
2. Eighty percent of the curriculum was mind-numbingly dry.
3. Too many quizzes and assignments. Would have preferred courses that allowed one to work at your own pace.
4. All day labs ….ugghh
5. The Energy and Mass Transfer Course - Too much calculus not enough pure reason.
6. All or nothing marking schemes. In my opinion this detracts from education.
7. Not enough electives out of the Engineering curriculum.
8. University did not assist one much in landing a position in industry after graduation.
9. Too many time pressured exams - often wonder what the point of some of these exams were?
10. Third Year - were hey trying to kill us with work or what?

9 Chemical Engineering concepts that appealed most to my intellect.

1. The Mass and Energy balance (a very powerful tool for problem solving).
2. The functioning of heat exchange devices for the transfer of energy.
3. Distillation and the concept of relative volatility.
4. Applications of the three reactor types: The Batch, Continuous Flow and Plug Flow reactors.
5. Bernoulli’s Equation in Fluid Mechanics.
6. Force and Torque balances in Static problems. I love mechanics.
7. Laplace transformations and their use in solving engineering problems of process control.
8. Net Present Value calculations in determining the feasibility of engineering projects.
9. Reynold’s number problems in determining the type of fluid flow.
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