The Department of Chemical Engineering occupies the Ralph Landau building at
MIT, as well as space in adjacent buildings. The Departmental facilities support
instruction and research in classrooms, laboratories, an auditorium, meeting rooms,
and offices. The Landau building houses an NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) facility,
various analytical chemistry instruments, PC and UNIX computer clusters, and a
limited machine shop. Other specialized equipment is available in the laboratories
of individual investigators.
However, there is more to chemical engineering than the Department by itself.
One of the strengths of MIT is the degree of interdepartmental activity. Such
collaboration between departments may take place through formal programs and centers,
joint research projects, or simply converging technical interests. Students and
faculty in Chemical Engineering have access to the wider resources of the Institute,
both people and facilities, in a variety of scientific and technological areas.
The Landau Building
The Ralph Landau building is a modern, seven-story facility designed by architect
I.M. Pei (MIT, S.B. ¹40), known for many significant contributions to modern architecture,
including the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the Pyramid
at the Louvre in Paris. The 130,000 square foot building was constructed for the
specific needs of the Department and was first occupied in 1976. Early photographs
and a brief description are presented by Mary
The Landau Legacy
Our building is named in honor of Dr. Ralph Landau (MIT, Sc.D. ¹41), a chemical
engineer preeminent in the invention and commercialization of organic chemical
processes. Dr. Landau helped found the Scientific Design Company in 1946, (later
known as Halcon SD Group, Inc.), which has originated or contributed to nine major
chemical process discoveries during the last 25 years. In the early 1950's, the
company developed an original process for the manufacture of terephthalic acid,
the key ingredient of polyester fiber. This technology was ultimately sold to
Standard Oil Company of Indiana, and it formed the basis for Amoco Chemicals Company.
Dr. Landau holds major patents in organic oxidation chemistry, has published
more than 143 papers and nine books, and has championed innovation and industrial
entrepreneurship worldwide. Among his numerous affiliations with universities
and industry, Dr. Landau is a life member emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology Corporation and former Vice-President of the National Academy of
Engineering. He has received numerous honors, including the Petroleum and Petrochemical
Division Award (1972) of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the Warren
K. Lewis Lectureship at MIT in 1979; the Perkin Medal for technological accomplishments
in 1981; the 1981 New Jersey Science/Technology Medal; the 1981 Chemical Pioneers
Award of the American Institute of Chemists; the 1982 Founder¹s Award of the American
Institute of Chemical Engineers, and recognition as an "Eminent Chemical Engineer"
in 1983 by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 1985, he was among
the first recipients of the National Medal of Technology from President Reagan.
He received the John Fritz Medal and Certificate for 1987 from the United Engineering
Trustees, Inc., and in 1997 was the first recipient of the Othmer Gold Medal for
his enduring contributions to our common chemical heritage.