Author! Author! Our Experts Write Books Too

Sept. 22, 2010

One of our Ask the Experts panelists, Girish K. Malhotra, alerted me to the fact that he has a new book coming out soon. It's slated for a February 2011 release, but he tells me it may be available as early as November. Published by John Wiley & Sons Inc., the book is titled "Chemical Process Simplification: Improving Productivity and Sustainability."

One of our Ask the Experts panelists, Girish K. Malhotra, alerted me to the fact that he has a new book coming out soon. It's slated for a February 2011 release, but he tells me it may be available as early as November. Published by John Wiley & Sons Inc., the book is titled "Chemical Process Simplification: Improving Productivity and Sustainability."

The book features many case studies that are based on Chemical Processing's Process Puzzlers and is said to provide a structured approach to producing quality products with little waste, making the process not only efficient but environmentally friendly.

According to Girish, the thing that helped him the most while writing this book was the fact that he has diverse experiences in many different industries. He also states that advice from a former boss has proved invaluable throughout his career: "I was told that I should know so much about the process that I should be able to solve issues in my sleep."

The book took a year to write and one of the challenges faced was figuring out how to share confidential information. "I needed to write it in such a way as to not [upset] former clients or employers," says Girish.

The best source of information for the book, and in all aspects of Girish's career, comes from process operators. "They live with the problems. And they hate hiccups," says Girish. Apparently working through process problems with Girish cures those hiccups.

After my conversation with Girish, I set out to see how many other Ask the Experts panelists also were authors. Turns out we have a lot of writers on board. Some experts have penned entire books. Others have contributed chapters based on their area of expertise. And one expert, Veerasamy Venkatesan, thanked me for reminding him of one of the items on his wish list – to write a book. Ven is Chemical Processing's steam and thermal systems expert, so look for a book on that topic in the near future. (No pressure, Ven.)

Here is a partial list of experts and their works – my apologies if I have missed anyone. If I have, let me know.

Tom Blackwood, CP's solids processing expert, contributed Chapter 26: Source Control, Chemical to "Air Pollution Technology Handbook," l984, John Wiley & Sons.

Tom also produced a design guide for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers: “Particle Size Classifiers 2nd Edition,”1993, AIChE.

Ross Mackay's book, "The Practical Pumping Handbook," has been very successful since it was published in 2004 by Elsevier. Ross is a consultant in pump reliability and serves as our resident guru on pump problems. He also created The Mackay Pump School.

"The triumph arrived of course when I held the first copy in my hand and liked the look and feel of it. I've been very proud to see the sales exceed all the other pump books that Elsevier as published over the years. I also still sell a great deal of copies at my pump school and through my website, and that's very rewarding."

Cecil Smith specializes in automation technology. He is also a prolific author having written three books for John Wiley & Sons since 2009. They are: "Practical Process Control: Tuning and Troubleshooting," 2009; "Basic Process Measurements," 2009; and "Advanced Process Control: Beyond Single Loop Control," 2010.

Dave Dickey, senior consultant at MixTech Inc., and our blending and mixing expert, has kept busy over the years by contributing several chapters to myriad books. In fact, his contributions are so many that they read like a bibliography:

  • Dickey, D. S., "Turbine Agitated Gas Dispersion:  Power, Flooding and Hold-up," Advances in Biotechnology, Vol. 1, Scientific and Engineering Principles, Pergamon Press, 1981, pp. 483-488.
  • Dickey, D. S., "Dimensional Analysis, Similarity and Scale-up," Process Mixing, Chemical and Biochemical Applications:  Part ii, pp. 143-150, Gary B. Tatterson, volume editor, AIChE Symposium Series, Number 293,  AIChE,  New York, 1993.
  • Dickey, D. S., SECTION 12 "Liquid Agitation," Handbook of Chemical Engineering Calculations, Third Edition, Editor:  N. P. Chopey, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004 (First Edition, 1984, Second Edition, 1994).
  • Dickey, D. S., and J. B. Fasano, “Mechanical Design of Mixing Equipment,” Handbook of Industrial Mixing, Science and Practice, Editors: E. L. Paul, et al., John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey, 2004.
  • Dickey, D. S., “Mixing Viscous Fluids, Pastes, and Doughs,” section of Chapter 18, “Liquid-Solid Operations and Equipment,” of Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook, Eighth Edition, Don W. Green, Editor in Chief, pp. 18-27-18-39, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2008.
  • Dickey, D. S., “Mixing Equipment,” Food Mixing, Principles and Applications, pp. 73-89, P. J. Cullen, Ed., Wiley-Blackwell, Ames, Iowa, 2009.
  • Dickey, D. S., “Mixing Scale-up,” Food Mixing, Principles and Applications, pp. 92-106, P. J. Cullen, Ed., Wiley-Blackwell, Ames, Iowa, 2009.

Chatting via e-mail with Chemical Processing's environmental expert Dave Russell, he made a keen observation about writing: "When I'm having trouble with a speech or an article, it's almost always not about being unable to write the thoughts, but it's the personal unwillingness or desire to express them."

Dave has written two books --  "Practical Wastewater Treatment," 2006, John Wiley & Sons; and 1992's  "Remediation of Petroleum Contaminated Sites,"  which is being rewritten for publication next year.

"In February, I'm going to be starting on a book on Security and Risk Management with a co-author who is in the SA Defense Force," says Dave. "It should be pretty good because we taught a course together."

His best advice: "Never, never try to proof or edit your own work until some time passes and it grows cold in your head. You need to be able to step back and look at what you wrote with a critical eye, and not what you meant in the passion of writing it."

I couldn't agree more!

Traci Purdum
Senior Digital Editor

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