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Edwin N. Lightfoot

Updated: 2017-04-29T17:43Z
Edwin Lightfoot
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison, Pfizer & Co, Cornell University
Doctoral advisorFred H. "Dusty" Rhodes
Doctoral studentsBernhard Palsson
Known forTransport Phenomena, Transport Phenomena and Living Systems: Biomedical Aspects of Momentum and Mass Transport
Notable awardsE. V. Murphree Award (1994)
National Medal of Science (2004)

Edwin Niblock Lightfoot (born 1925) is a chemical engineer and the Hilldale Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is known for his research in transport phenomena, including biological mass-transfer processes, mass-transport reaction modeling, and separations processes.[1] He, along with R. Byron Bird and Warren E. Stewart, is the co-author of the classic textbook Transport Phenomena.[2] In 1974 Lightfoot wrote Transport Phenomena and Living Systems: Biomedical Aspects of Momentum and Mass Transport.[3] Lightfoot was a recipient of the National Medal of Science in 2004.[4]

Education and career

Lightfoot received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. After graduate school he worked for Pfizer & Co in Brooklyn where he received US Patent US2787578 A for his development of a commercial process for recovering and purifying vitamin B12. He began his teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later became a Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Currently he is the Hilldale Professor Emeritus in the Department. His research interest are in the development of improved separation processes and controlling the dynamics of biological systems.

Awards and honors

Lightfoot is a recipient of the National Medal of Science, awarded by President George W. Bush "for his innovative research and leadership in transport phenomena focusing on biochemical and biomedical engineering with application to blood oxygenation, bioseparation techniques, and diabetic responses."[4] In 1991, he was awarded the Warren K. Lewis Award for Chemical Engineering Education of the AIChE. Lightfoot was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1979.


Lightfoot is the co-author of several influential books in transport phenomena and rheology, including the classic textbook Transport Phenomena, which was translated into many foreign languages, including Spanish, Italian, Czech, Russian, and Chinese.

  • Transport Phenomena, with R. Byron Bird and W. E. Stewart, Wiley, (1960, 2nd ed. 2002).
  • Transport Phenomena in Living Systems: Biomedical Aspects of Momentum and Mass Transport, Wiley, (1974).


  1. ^ "Edwin N. Lightfoot". University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  2. ^ "This Week's Citation Classic" (PDF). 1979-09-17. Retrieved 2009-11-04. 
  3. ^ Lightfoot, E. N. (February 1974). Transport Phenomena and Living Systems: Biomedical Aspects of Momentum and Mass Transport (1 ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 508. ISBN 978-0471535157. 
  4. ^ a b "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 

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