Contact: Pamela Bogdanski

Department Administrator

Chemical Engineering

(734) 764-7368

3074E H.H.Dow

Brice Carnahan | Faculty

Brice Carnahan

Professor Emeritus, Chemical Engineering

3146B HH Dow
(734) 764-3366


Short Bio

Professor Carnahan has a B.S. (1955) and a M.S. (1957) from Case Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. (1964) from U-M. Along with Professor Wilkes, Professor Carnahan has written several texts on digital computing, programming, and numerical methods.

Research Interests

His principal research interests were in the areas of applied mathematics — especially numerical mathematics — and the applications of computers and computer graphics to chemical process simulation and design. Of special interest was the development of mathematical tools and software for simulating the dynamic behavior of processing systems and estimating parameters in dynamic models with implementation on parallel architectures.

Catching up with Brice Carnahan After a Decade

Since beginning his phased retirement in 1999, Brice Carnahan has continued his work with CACHE (Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering Education) Corporation. He was a founding member and served on the Board for 50 years until 2009. He’s edited several AIChE Conference Proceedings, taught occasionally at Michigan and at ASEE Summer Schools for young ChE faculty, took Spanish classes at Washtenaw Community College (¡Hola!), and has tried to keep up with the great things happening in the Department.

Brice is an avid reader, with a keen interest in world affairs, politics, education, business, travel, and music (all perfect for his new iPad). Disillusioned with the current state of US politics, he has decided to emphasize foreign travel for a while. In recent years, he has visited Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and virtually all countries in Europe. (Photo: Brice standing by the Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina). Upcoming trips include China with a cruise on the Yangtze, Chile, Argentina, and a one-week Caribbean cruise for R&R. He winters in Florida, and summers at his home in Ann Arbor and cottage near Pinckney. For exercise, he gardens (a lot) and speedwalks several hours per week.

Brice’s 42 years in the department began with project work with Don Katz on computers in engineering and design education (1959-1965). From then on, he was at the forefront of computing in chemical engineering.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Brice and a cadre of student assistants developed one of the earliest micro-computer-based authoring systems and courseware for chemical engineers, MicroCACHE, and later, the more powerful MicroMENTOR. His research interests and those of his doctoral students focused on algorithm design and software development for computer-aided process modeling, particularly for dynamic process simulation in both serial and parallel computing environments.

At Michigan, Brice served on the College Executive Committee (1979-83), and, as a member of the CAEN Executive Committee (1983-1993), was heavily involved in the early development of the College Computing Network. He was departmental graduate chair for nearly twenty years until 1998. Brice has received numerous citations for his dynamic style of teaching and service from the Department, the College and the University.

On the national scene, in addition to his CACHE activities, Brice was involved in creation of the AIChE CAST (Computer and Systems Technology) Division and was elected its second chair (1981-82). He was also a long-term member of the editorial board of Computers and Chemical Engineering. A Fellow of the AIChE, he earned the AIChE Computers in Chemical Engineering Award in 1982, the ASEE Chemical Engineering Lectureship in 1991, and the ASEE Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Computing in Chemical Engineering Education in 2009.

Brice and Jim: The Collaborative Years

Brice Carnahan and Jim Wilkes worked closely and extensively together in two main areas—numerical methods and freshman digital-computing education. Their early work was influenced greatly by their senior faculty colleague Don Katz’s landmark project, “The Use of Computers in Engineering Education,” generously sponsored by the Ford Foundation and for which Brice was a major assistant director.

At Don’s “suggestion” (i.e., command), Brice and Jim wrote with H.A. Luther from Texas A&M “a few notes” on numerical methods. Just 18 months of very hard work led to their enormously successful text, Applied Numerical Methods—first as a 790-page preliminary paper-back edition in 1964 and then, with 40 FORTRAN programs, as a 622-page large-format hardcover version, published by Wiley in 1969. It was very popular nationally for the following 20 years. Based on their book, supplemented by notes on recent developments, Brice and Jim taught one and sometimes two popular graduate numerical methods courses, ChE 508 and 608, every year until their retirement.

For various extended periods since 1967—and continuously from 1981 to 1996—Brice and Jim were responsible for organizing and supervising the freshman engineering digital-computing courses at the U-M—an enterprise that constantly grew in magnitude and complexity. Very frequently—sometimes annually—Brice and Jim updated their two books for use in these freshman courses, the last titles being FORTRAN for the Macintosh and IBM PS/2 (1994) and The Macintosh, the PC, and Unix Workstations (1995): Operating Systems and Applications.

Brice & Jim with almost all of their textbooks in the photo below.

Article from the 2011 Chemical Engineering Newsletter