Satish Saxena

Dr. Satish Saxena, a resident of Skokie, passed away on November 24, 2018, at NorthShore Evanston Hospital. He was 84.

The department remembers its friend, colleague, mentor, guide, and pioneer. The chemical engineering discipline grew by leaps and bounds because of Dr. Saxena’s contributions, tutelage, and scholarship. He made invaluable contributions to our department at UIC, to the scientific community, to his students, and to his profession.

Dr. Saxena’s intellectual inquisitiveness and scholastic capacity led to a distinguished academic career that started with a PhD from Calcutta University, India, at the young age of 23. This was soon followed by research positions at Maryland, Yale, Columbia, and Bhabha Atomic Research Center, India, where he performed pioneering studies in the field of atomic science. He joined the physics faculty at Rajasthan University in India for a few years, after which he accepted a position as a physics professor at Purdue University, where he worked in the Thermophysical Properties Research Center. In 1968, he took a position at the University of Illinois at Chicago as a professor and director of the Multiphase Reactor Research Laboratory. For several years, he served as head of the department, which at the time was called the Department of Energy Engineering. His groundbreaking work led to the revolutionizing of several multiphase catalytic reactors that are operational in the chemical industry. 

The Department of Chemical Engineering at UIC and all of its students will continue to benefit from our Satish Saxena Library; the Satish Saxena Distinguished Lecture series, which has featured four lectures to date; and now the Satish Saxena Professor in Chemical Engineering, named in his honor. Our search for this position is underway.

Dr. Saxena addressed national and global challenges by consulting with NASA, the Department of Energy, and numerous Fortune 500 companies. He received wide recognition for his work and expertise. During his distinguished career of more than 30 years at UIC, Dr. Saxena applied fundamental science to engineering to change the way we think about the discipline.

During his lifetime, he published five books, 25 book chapters, and more than 532 papers. He mentored and supervised more than 20 postdocs, 22 newly minted PhDs, and 57 MS students, and he taught several thousand other students. Dr. Saxena left a multifaceted mark of distinction on UIC, inspiring several generations who carry forward his leadership and vision in their lives and careers.

Dr. Saxena is survived by his wife, Asha Saxena, and his children: Alka Saxena Kudesia (UIC ’81), Alok C. Saxena (UIUC ’81), Anup C. Saxena (UIC ’86), and Anil Saxena, who attended UIC from 1987 through 1990.

The academic community will continue to honor Dr. Saxena’s spirit of scientific inquiry and academic excellence that has transformed engineering and improved so many lives. Thank you, Dr. Saxena. Your legacy will live on.