The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science

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Celebrating 100 years of engineering excellence



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The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering is proud to announce a new name for a new department:


Celebrating 100 years of engineering excellence


The union of diverse parts into a single entity yields far greater energy than its individual components. From this dynamic fusion comes untold benefits — a principle clearly demonstrated in the creation and naming of the new Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Facilitated by a significant endowment and naming gift from John and Julie Mork and their family, the USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering has merged the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Materials Science into a single department. With this natural synthesis, the USC Viterbi School is positioned to exploit three critical areas: chemical and biochemical technologies, energy, and nanotechnology. The gift to name the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science combines USC’s longstanding tradition of excellence in

engineering education and research with John Mork’s industrial leadership. Mork earned his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering at USC in 1970 and is now chief executive officer of Energy Corporation of America, a highly successful, privately owned oil and natural gas exploration company. “The USC Viterbi School has had a distinguished history over the past 100 years, with its exceptional research and graduates — from astronauts to petroleum engineers,” said Mork. “Our family is excited to play a part in its investment in the future.” The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science will provide exciting new educational opportunities, as well as research collaborations, that together will fuel technological advances in globally important fields of science and engineering.

“We are grateful for the Mork family’s farsightedness and generosity,” said Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, who also is a member of the chemical engineering faculty. “Their support will help solidify the rise of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering into the top echelon of engineering schools in the nation.”

Intuitive connections The merger of the two departments — with their outstanding faculty, ambitious research and shared commitment to excellence — reflects the many innate intersections between the fields. Over the past decade, technological developments in chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, and materials science have blurred or even erased the boundaries between these traditionally discrete disciplines. In a joint department, the faculty from these converging fields will benefit from emerging synergies to strengthen both


Over the past decade, technological developments have blurred or even erased the boundaries between these traditionally discrete disciplines.

teaching and research. The critical mass of combined intellectual capital will give the new department the impetus required for increased excellence. The result builds on the existing strengths of the individual programs:

Chemical Engineering: As members of one of the USC Viterbi School’s oldest departments, chemical engineering faculty have a rich record of outstanding graduate and undergraduate programs and research. USC granted its first engineering master of science degree in chemical engineering in 1921. And, the very first engineering Ph.D. granted at USC also was in chemical engineering in 1939.

biochemical engineering, and molecular transport.

sion, and remarkable new composite materials for aerospace.

Within chemical engineering, petroleum engineering is one of the nation’s oldest programs of its kind. When a separate College of Engineering was established at USC in 1927, petroleum engineering was one of its five departments. Petroleum engineering faculty are well known for their innovative research in flow in porous media. In addition, they have been the driving force in USC’s Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies (CiSoft), a collaborative effort between the university and Chevron Corporation, which seeks to improve exploration and production efficiencies.

In addition, the recent arrival of renowned faculty members specializing in highperformance computing has accelerated the department’s advancement.

Materials Science: In a department creWhile small in faculty size, chemical engineering boasts five endowed chairs. The faculty have made significant contributions to the chemical engineering literature and industry in such areas as chemical reaction dynamics and catalysis, polymers, rheology, thermodynamics,

ated in 1965, the materials science faculty have rapidly earned national prominence in metallic, semiconductor, ceramic, and polymeric materials; in nanotechnology; and in biotechnology. A wide variety of applications includes solid-state electronics, energy conver-

A united mission Armed with its new name and organization, the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science advances a bold future. Led by Theodore Tsotsis, Ph.D., department chair and Robert E. Vivian Professor of Energy Resources, the department will further the USC Viterbi School’s academic and research mission in innovative new ways, from an emphasis on undergraduate options in nanotechnology to attracting and retaining students in petroleum engineering and research in energy at the intersection between nanotechnology and biology.


Faculty Steve Nutt  Composite materials Ching-An Peng  Bioengineering Richard Roberts  Peptide and protein design Muhammad Sahimi  Membrane separations, flow,

Wenji Victor Chang  Polymers Dan Dapkus*  Semiconductors, lasers, electronic materials Iraj Ershaghi  Reservoir characterization Ed Goo  Ceramics Rajiv Kalia  Advanced computing and simulations Mike Kassner *  Metal plasticity theory, creep, fracture Atul Konkar  Semiconductors, electronic materials,


Terry Langdon*  Metals and ceramics, creep, superplasticity C. Ted Lee, Jr.  Protein folding Anupam Madhukar  Semiconductors, electronic materials,

biomaterials Florian Mansfeld  Corrosion

and transport through porous media

Kathy Shing  Phase equilibrium and separations Mark Thompson*  Molecular polymeric materials Theo Tsotsis  Reactor engineering, separations Priya Vashishta  Advanced computing and simulations Pin Wang  Nanobioparticle engineering Peter Will*  CMOS systems, advanced microprocessor


Yannis Yortsos  Flow, transport, and reaction in porous media

Degrees offered Chemical Engineering Chemical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering Option) Chemical Engineering (Environmental Engineering Option) Chemical Engineering (Petroleum Engineering Option) Chemical Engineering (Polymer Science)

Materials Science Manufacturing Engineering and Entrepreneurship Petroleum Engineering Petroleum Engineering (Smart Oilfield Technologies) Petroleum Engineering (E.Pt.E.) Engineer in Petroleum Engineering

Master of Science

Doctor of Philosophy

Chemical Engineering Chemical Engineering (E.Ch.E.) Engineer in Chemical Engineering Materials Engineering

Chemical Engineering Materials Science Petroleum Engineering

Bachelor of Science


Joint appointment



As an energy CEO, John Mork (BSPTE ’70) knows that special engineering niche populated by chemical and petroleum engineers. The son of a California wildcatter, he grew up around oil rigs. Born in Santa Monica, California, he matriculated through the Los Angeles public school system, standing out for his athletic prowess and personality. He had a passion for exploration. He couldn’t get enough stories of Magellan sailing around the world and finding new continents or Lewis and Clark’s expeditions through the untamed West. Mork roughnecked on oil rigs in Kansas before college, and by the time he left USC with his degree in petroleum engineering, he had acquired his father’s entrepreneurial instincts. After college, Mork went to work for Union Oil (later renamed Unocal) in Santa Paula, California — “where I thought I had died and gone to heaven,” he recalls now. A year later, he was transferred to

Alaska to become a platform-drilling superintendent. Meanwhile, his father, Roy, was chasing another big dream in the tiny town of Glenville, West Virginia, sinking wells three miles deep and coming up dry. A heart attack in 1972 brought Roy Mork’s son, John, to his side. John Mork met Julie, his future wife, during those lean years. She shared his enthusiasm for exploring unproven territories, but worried that Mork’s natural gas company had a “25 percent chance” of succeeding. While he looked for oil and gas, Julie handled the business end of the company. Four years later, Mork’s company hit a gusher — a 25-billion cubic foot natural gas reserve. One of the largest new fields at the time, it sparked a natural gas rush in West Virginia. Today, the company that Mork leads as chief executive officer — Energy Corporation of America (ECA) — would be the 50 th largest energy and petroleum

company in the country if it were publicly owned. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, where the Morks make their home, ECA employs about 250 people. The growing company has substantial developed and undeveloped acreage, with approximately 5,000 wells in North America, New Zealand, and Australia, and more than 5,000 miles of pipeline. Mork hires quality engineers, then gives them “great responsibility, great authority, and lots of encouragement” — the same ingredients he wants to infuse in engineering education. “For the United States to be great,” he says, “we need good engineers and technically trained people. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute to an exciting department.” The gift from the Mork family, which includes their children Kyle and Alison, is energizing a new department with particular attention to undergraduate education. For the Morks, it’s an irresistible opportunity to invest in tomorrow and watch something grow to excellence.


The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering is changing the way people live, work, and play through its continuing advances in multimedia, Internet technology, vision and brain sciences, robotics, structures and fluids, semiconductor materials, nanostructures, smart oilfield technologies, and a host of other fields. As one of the nation’s most comprehensive engineering programs, the USC Viterbi School is renowned for its outstanding research, academic programs, and university-industry collaborations. Some highlights include: The School consistently ranks in the top 10 among 300 engineering schools nationwide, and top five among private universities, in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of graduate programs. Approximately 1,900 undergraduates attend, along with 3,300 graduate students (1,000 at the Ph.D. level and 2,300 at the M.S. level). More than 900 students worldwide pursue M.S. degrees through the School’s innovative Distance Education Network.

An inventive introduction to engineering adds biology to the traditional physics, chemistry, and mathematics mix and features freshman academies that offer insight into how engineers affect society, technology, and history. An evolving curriculum includes innovative engineering minors in 3D animation, astronautical engineering, interactive multimedia, law and internet technology, petroleum engineering, environmental engineering, technology commercialization, and video game design and management. More than a third of the 170 tenured and tenure-track faculty members are fellows of their respective professional societies. They include 25 members of the National Academy of Engineering, multiple “Early Career” Award winners, four Shannon Award recipients, and a co-winner of the 2003 Turing Award. This is the only engineering school in California, and one of four nationwide, to house two concurrent National Science Foundation-funded Engineering

Research Centers: the Integrated Media Systems Center and the Biomimetic Micro-Electronic Systems Center. The famed Information Sciences Institute gave birth to the Internet’s domain name system, the TCP/IP protocols, and co-developed the Globus Grid Computing architecture. The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) is the first research Center of Excellence awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Mark and Mary Stevens Institute for Technology Commercialization (SITeC) combines technology transfer with rigorous academic programs. A robust industry program includes, among others, the Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies (CiSoft), founded by Chevron Corporation; the Pratt & Whitney Institute for Collaborative Engineering; and the Airbus-funded Aerospace Institute for Engineering Research.

The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Los Angeles, California 90089-1211 phone: 213.740.2225 fax: 213.740.8053

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USC Viterbi School of Engineering