Department history


1909: John William Hinchley launches Battersea Polytechnic’s first Chemical Engineering course, delivering a programme of 25 lectures.
1911: The first students graduate from Hinchley’s course with diplomas.
1915: The course’s popularity prompts Hinchley to publish an expanded syllabus.
1917: Hinchley retires from teaching, handing the reins over to Hugh Griffiths.
1934: Frank Rumford succeeds Griffiths.
1936: William Peck delivers lectures until 1947, when he is replaced by Russell Tailby.
1949: Tailby becomes head of the department and is joined on the staff by Dr W J Thomas.
1950: Battersea produces its first BSc graduates following Chemical Engineering’s transition into a degree course.
1968: The Chemical Engineering department moves to Guildford following the formation of the University of Surrey in 1966.
1981: Tailby is replaced as head of department by Roland Clift.
1991: Dr John Lamb becomes the latest department chief, followed by Prof Hans Muller-Steinhagen in 1993 and Prof Ugur Tuzun in 1999.
1990s: The Hess Rig – a pilot chemical process plant – is constructed on campus.
2000: The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons uses the Hess Rig during its summer course at the University of Surrey.
2007: Prof Rex Thorpe is named as the newest head of department.
2011: The University of Surrey celebrates 100 years of continuous graduations in Chemical Engineering.
2011: Retired Professor John Smith makes a gift to the department to fund a PhD student.
2015: Neil Chapman (BSc Chemical Engineering 1984) - Senior Vice-President with Exxon Mobil—makes a substantial donation to the department that is used to provide new laboratory facilities.
2015: Prof Sai Gu joins as the new Head of Department.
2016: The department receives a legacy gift from retired Professor John Smith.
2016: Professor Jonathan Seville is appointed President of the IChemE.