Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Bill Hammack, aka “the engineering guy,” has won the prestigious Hoover Medal for his civic and humanitarian contributions to engineering.
The award is named for its first recipient, U.S. President Herbert Hoover, who was an engineer by profession. Established in 1929 to honor “great, unselfish, nontechnical services by engineers to humanity,” the award is administered by a board representing five engineering organizations: the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the American Society of Civil Engineers; the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers; and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Previous winners include presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter; industrialist David Packard, the founder of Hewlett-Packard; Arnold O. Beckman, an Illinois alumnus and a scientist, businessman and philanthropist whose support spurred the development of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology on the Illinois campus; and inventor Dean Kamen.
Hammack is a member of AICHE and a William H. and Janet G. Lycan Professor at Illinois. He is the creator and host of the popular YouTube channel “engineerguy” and has recorded more than 200 public radio segments that describe what, why and how engineers do what they do. He wrote the books “Michael Faraday’s Chemical History of a Candle, ” “Why Engineers Need to Grow a Long Tail, ” “How Engineers Create the World, ” “Eight Amazing Engineering Stories” and “Albert Michelson’s Harmonic Analyzer. “
“I am thrilled with the recognition by this award of the importance of reaching out to the public – to explain to them science and engineering,” Hammack said. “With this understanding, the public can better exercise the civic responsibility of shaping the technological forces that shape our lives.”
The National Association of Science Writers, the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Physics all have recognized Hammack for his outreach efforts through numerous awards.
“Bill’s wonderful stories make every engineer proud and watching them immediately converts you into an engineering zealot,” said AICHE Foundation member Eduardo Glandt, the dean emeritus of engineering and applied science at the University of Pennsylvania.