化学工程师(化学工程师如何谋生?)

化学工程师
以下内容来自《Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes》第一章,此书是美国某大学化学工程专业的第一门专业课“Material and Energy Balances”的教材。

我用谷歌翻译加我拙劣的水平翻译了一下。原文随后。若有需要该书电子版的朋友,请在主页输入你的邮箱。
(中文1700字,阅读约需4-6分钟。)
去年5月,成千上万的化学工程四年级学生参加了他们的最后一次期末考试。然后参加毕业典礼,拨动流苏,将他们的学士帽扔到空中,享受他们的告别派对,彼此告别,并深信不疑他们将保持联系,奔向他们各自的方向——无论从地理上而言还是职业上差别都相当大的各自的方向。
既然你买了这本书,那么你可能正在考虑追随这些毕业生的脚步——在接下来的几年中,学习成为一名化学工程师,并且可能会在接下来的40年中将你所学应用到职业生涯中。我敢打赌,即便如此,就像大多数有同样处境的人一样,你对化学工程是什么或者化学工程师的工作只有粗浅的了解。因此,一个合乎逻辑的办法来开始撰写本书就是定义化学工程。
不幸的是,不存在普遍接受的化学工程的定义,几乎你能想到的技能性工作在某个地方是由受过化学工程师教育的人来做的。随着最近大学化学工程系逐渐向化学和生物分子工程或化学和材料工程或化学和环境工程领域转变,提供定义变得更加困难。因此,我们将放弃给出一个简单定义的想法,而仔细研究那些刚毕业的毕业生在毕业后或者在度过一个愉快的假期之后都去从事什么工作了。我们也会根据我们对以前班级毕业生的经验,对毕业后几年可能做什么进行猜测。请你考虑以下这些例子,看看它们中的某一个是不是听起来像是你可以自己追求和享受的事业。
?班级中约45%的学生为化学、石化、纸浆和造纸以及聚合物(塑料)制造公司工作。
?另外35%的人去为政府机构、设计和咨询公司(其中不少专门从事环境监管和污染控制)、微电子和信息技术领域的公司以及传统上与化学工程无关的公司工作,还有工作在专门从事生物技术和可持续发展等领域(涉及经济、生态、文化和政治原因)的公司。
?约有10%的学生直接进入化学工程研究生院。硕士研究生将在传统化学工程领域(热力学、化学反应器分析与设计、流体动力学、传质传热、化学工艺设计与控制)和生物技术、生物医学、材料科学与工程、纳米技术、可持续发展等新兴领域接受进一步培训。他们将可以获得大部分本科生的工作机会,以及那些需要额外培训的新兴领域的工作。博士研究生将获得更深入的培训和重大研究项目的工作,并且大部分毕业生在四到五年内将进入工业研发机构或加入大学院系。
?少数人被吸引到创业领域,在毕业后的几年内,他们将创办自己的公司,而公司的业务可能与大学背景有关,也或可能完全无关。
?其余10%的毕业生进入工程以外的研究生院。他们发现他们的化学工程背景使他们在进入一流大学时具有强大的竞争力。一些在本科课程中学习了生物选修课的学生去了医学院。一些人去了法学院,打算探究专利法或公司法,还有一些人参加了工商管理硕士课程,目标是进入工业管理。
?一名毕业生加入美国和平团,在东非开展为期两年的工作,帮助当地社区开发卫生废物处理系统,并在农村学校教科学和英语。当她回来时,她将完成环境工程专业的博士学位,加入化学工程系,写一本关于化学工程环境应用的权威书籍,迅速崛起成为全职教授,10年后辞去工作竞选美国参议员,赢得两届任期,并最终成为一个致力于改善经济贫困社区教育的大型的、非常成功的私人基金会的负责人。她将她的职业成功部分归功于她在化学工程本科培训中获得的解决问题的能力。
?在他们职业生涯的不同阶段,一些毕业生将工作——在从事化学或生物化学或生物医学或材料科学的实验室里研究和开发或质量工程,在计算机终端设计流程和产品和控制系统,在现场管理施工和为生产厂开工,在生产车间的监督和故障排除以及改善运营方面,奔波于技术销售和服务,在执行行政职能的执行办公室里,在负责环境和职业健康和安全的政府机构里,在医院和诊所从事医疗或生物医学工程,在专门从事与化学工艺有关的专利工作的律师事务所里,以及教授下一代学生的课堂。
刚才所描述的职业显然过于多元化,无法归入单一类别。它们涉及物理学、化学、生物学、环境科学、医学、法律、应用数学、统计学、信息技术、经济学、研究、设计、建筑、销售和服务、生产监督和工商管理等学科。他们的共同特点就是都可以找到化学工程师的身影。完成这些任务所需的一些具体知识将在稍后的化学工程课程中介绍,其中大部分必须在毕业后学习。然而,一些基本的手法已经得到充分发展,以处理和攻克各种学科中发生的技术问题。这些技术中的一些以及如何使用、何时使用这些技术,是本书的主题。

Last May, thousands of chemical engineeringseniors took their last final examination, attended their graduation ceremonies, flipped their tassels and threw their mortarboards in the air, enjoyed their farewell parties, said goodbye to one another and promised faithfully to stay in touch, and headed off in an impressive variety of geographical and career directions.
Since you bought this book, you are probably thinking about following in the footsteps of those graduates—spending the next few years learning to be a chemical engineer and possibly the next 40 applying what you learn in a career. Even so, it is a fairly safe bet that, like most people in your position, you have only a limited idea of what chemical engineering is or what chemical engineers do. A logical way for us to begin this book might therefore be with a definition of chemical engineering.
Unfortunately, no universally accepted definition of chemical engineering exists, and almost every type of skilled work you can think of is done somewhere by people educated as chemical engineers. Providing a definition has recently become even more difficult as university chemical engineering departments have morphed into departments of chemical and biomolecular engineering or chemical and materials engineering or chemical and environmental engineering. We will therefore abandon the idea of formulating a simple definition, and instead take a closer look at what those recent graduates did either immediately after graduation or following a well-earned vacation. We will also do some speculating about what they might do several years after graduating, based on our experiences with graduates from previous classes. Consider these examples and see if any of them sound like the sort of career you can see yourself pursuing and enjoying.
? About 45% of the class went to work for chemical, petrochemical, pulp and paper, and polymer (plastics) manufacturing firms.
? Another 35% went to work for government agencies and design and consulting firms (many specializing in environmental regulation and pollution control), companies in fields such as microelectronics and information technology that have not been traditionally associated with chemical engineering, and firms specializing in emerging areas such as biotechnology and sustainable development (development that addresses economic, ecological, cultural, and political considerations).
? About 10% of the class went directly into graduate school in chemical engineering. The master’s degree candidates will get advanced training in traditional chemical engineering areas (thermodynamics, chemical reactor analysis and design, fluid dynamics, mass and heat transfer, and chemical process design and control) and emerging areas such as biotechnology, biomedicine, materials science and engineering, nanotechnology, and sustainable development. They will have access to most of the jobs available to the bachelor’s degree holders plus jobs in those emerging areas that require additional training. The doctoral degree candidates will get more advanced training and work on major research projects, and in four to five years most will graduate and either go into industrial research and development or join university faculties.
? A small number were drawn to entrepreneurship, and with in a few years after graduation will start their own companies in areas that might or might not have anything to do with their college backgrounds.
?The remaining 10% of the class went into graduate school in areas other than engineering, discovering that their chemical engineering backgrounds made them strongly competitive for admission to top universities. Several who took biology electives in their undergraduate programs went to medical school. Others went to law school, planning to go into patent or corporate law, and still others enrolled in Master of Business Administration programs with the goal of moving into management in industry.
? One graduate joined the Peace Corps for a two-year stint in East Africa helping local communities develop sanitary waste disposal systems and also teaching science and English in a rural school. When she returns, she will complete a Ph.D. program in environmental engineering, join a chemical engineering faculty, write a definitive book on environmental applications of chemical engineering principles, quickly rise through the ranks to become a full professor, resign after 10 years to run for the United States Senate, win two terms, and eventually become head of a large and highly successful private foundation dedicated to improving education in economically deprived communities. She will attribute her career successes inpart to the problem-solving skills she acquired in her undergraduate training in chemical engineering.
? At various points in their careers, some of the graduates will work in chemical or biochemical or biomedicalor material science laboratories doing research and development or quality engineering, at computer terminals designing processes and products and control systems, at field locations managing the construction and startup of manufacturing plants, on production floors supervising and troubleshooting and improving operations, on the road doing technical sales and service, in executive offices performing administrative functions, in government agencies responsible for environmental and occupational health and safety, in hospitals and clinics practicing medicine or biomedical engineering, in law offices specializing in chemical process-related patent work, and in classrooms teaching the next generation of students.
The careers just described are clearly too diverse to fall into a single category. They involve disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology, environmental science, medicine, law, applied mathematics, statistics, information technology, economics, research, design, construction, sales and service, production supervision, and business administration. The single feature they have in common is that chemical engineers can be found doing them. Some of the specific knowledge needed to carry out the tasks will be presented later in the chemical engineering curriculum, and most of it must be learned after graduation. There are, however, basic techniques that have been developed for setting up and attacking technical problems that apply across a broad range of disciplines. What some of these techniques are and how and when to use them are the subjects of this book.

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