Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Meet a Mentor: Chestermiller

  1. Oct 28, 2014 #1
    Meet a Mentor is a fun series to help you get to know your wonderful Mentors better.

    Constructive questions and comments are welcome!

    Today we meet: @Chestermiller

    Give us a brief history of Chestermiller
    Born Jan., 1942, Brooklyn, NY
    Samuel J. Tilden HS, graduated June 1959 (Capt. Math Team)

    Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, graduated June1963, BChE
    (Freshman Math Award)

    University of Michigan, MChE, 1964
    Married 1965, 4 children, 10 grandchildren
    University of Michigan, PhD ChE, 1967 (Advisor Joe D. Goddard)
    E. I. DuPont De Nemours Inc., 1967 - 2002 (Retired 2002)
    Collaboration in Biomechanics with V.C. Mow, Columbia Univ., 2003 - 2004
    Consulting 2003 - 2008

    In addition to the above, my wife and I are animal advocates and sports fans. We support animal humane organizations and have done volunteer work in the past. Our favorite sports teams at the Baltimore Orioles, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the University of Michigan. MICHIGAN: GO BLUE.

    Have you always lived in Delaware?
    Brooklyn, NY, 1942 - 1963
    Silver Spring, MD, Summer 1963
    Ann Arbor, MI 1963 - 1967
    Wilmington, DE 1967 - present

    What do you find interesting about Delaware?
    • Family living nearby
    • Nice variable climate year round
    • Cultural and sports opportunities in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore
    Why did you choose chemical engineering as your field of study?
    Just lucky circumstances. I was interested primarily in math in HS, and engineering was a distant second choice. During senior year, I had applied to colleges for both math and engineering. After taking the entrance exam to Cooper Union (very competitive) and being accepted, I decided to go with engineering. I have never regretted this choice. I have found the science part of engineering totally fascinating and enjoyable, and would have missed out on this if I had specialized in math. In retrospect, I think I would have hated being a mathematician.

    What were some of your biggest challenges in school and how did you overcome them?
    I don't remember any major challenges with science and math courses (although I hated HS chemistry, and did have to really cram at the end to get the highest grade on the final and a high grade in the course; up to then, I had been failing).

    Humanities and English courses were always a weak area for me. In HS, I memorized a book of master plots and a composition (I guessed the topic of the composition) so that I could pass the English final. Otherwise, I just tried to do the minimum to pass. Later, my writing skills improved during my professional career, when I gained experience in communicating with regulators on environmental issues.

    Tell us about your career in engineering

    During my career at DuPont, I specialized in developing mathematical models for physical systems to improve company processes and products, and to protect company interests with regard to environmental issues. Colleagues in DuPont referred to me as "the guy who could model anything." Here are some of the areas in which I worked:
    • 1D and 2D models of atmospheric chemistry and transport in connection with the fluorocarbon/ozone issue and global warming.
    • Modeling flow, transport, and chemistry in porous subsurface geological formations in connection with deepwell disposal of hazardous wastes. Poroelastic modeling to evaluate potential for triggering seismicity in deepwell injection operations.
    • Modeling structural mechanics of radial tires in support of nylon and Kevlar tire cord sales
    • Modeling cyclohexane oxidation process to produce adipic acid for nylon manufacture
    • Modeling ammonia synthesis loop
    • Nylon and Dacron process modeling, including polymerization reactors and transfer lines
    • Modeling man-made fiber spinning operations, including melt spinning (Nylon, Dacron), dry spinning (Lycra), and wet spinning (Kevlar)
    • Modeling unsteady state melt spinning of paint brush bristles
    One of the things I enjoyed most about my career was personal interactions with colleagues (both inside and outside the company), and interactions with regulators.

    What music do you play and what instrument
    I took piano lessons from age 8 to age 16, and even played piano 2 summers as a member of the house band at two Catskill Mountains resort hotels. I stopped taking lessons at age 16 because it was becoming too time consuming, and interfering with my HS studies. Between ages 16 and 55, I hardly played piano at all, but took it up again when a friend loaned me an instructional video on Blues piano. I had always liked blues, and found that I could learn to play blues pretty easily. Everything I learned as a teenager came back to me. Since then, I have been playing blues, rock 'n' roll, and pop music, and taking blues/jazz lessons to improve my musicianship and learn broader styles. I am also in a ballroom dance band (which is lots of fun).

    What are some of your favorite movies, books and musicians?
    Cousin Vinnie, Little Shop of Horrors, The Right Stuff, All the President's Men, Manhunter, School of Rock, JFK, GoodFellas, A Few Good Men, Jaws

    B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Professor Longhair, Elmore James, Dr. John, Otis Span, Oscar Peterson, Katie Webster, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Johnson, Beach Boys, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Susan Tedeschi, Daryl Davis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry

    If you could have lunch with a living person, who would it be and why?
    B. B. King: I think his music is great, and he's one of the few original blues guys still alive. Plus, he's led such an interesting life, and had personal contact with all the blues greats.

    How did you happen upon Physics Forums and why is it important to you?
    I had seen many interesting TV shows on Relativity, and decided to learn it on my own during my retirement. I was looking for a place where I could get some of my questions answered. Then I looked over the other forums and thought it would be rewarding to help people struggling with physics, chemistry, and engineering concepts. I wanted to give something back to my profession. Now I'm addicted to it.

    Thanks for participating Chestermiller!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2014 #2
    Great to read!
  4. Oct 28, 2014 #3
    Honestly I'm really happy that you posted this because I needed to interview someone and I would hope that I could just use this. Thank you
  5. Oct 28, 2014 #4
    That would be a wrong assumption :)
  6. Oct 28, 2014 #5
    Suppose not then o.o
  7. Oct 28, 2014 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Great stuff, Chet! Glad to have you as a Mentor. :-)
  8. Oct 28, 2014 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Very interesting career - this especially caught my eye:
    Did you foresee the seismic activity in Oklahoma due to fracking, or did you study it after it started happening?
  9. Oct 28, 2014 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Great bio chester!
  10. Oct 29, 2014 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Wow, you're old! oo)

    Sorry, but I really don't have many opportunities to say that. Most people older than me are dead. :D
    I might PM you (if I can figure out how in this new format) sometime in the future, because I would really love to pick your brain regarding both polymerization reactions and fibre spinning to see if I could actually build something that I partially invented 40 years ago but didn't have the resources to carry on with. Since I have both ADD and a total lack of ambition, it might be quite a ways down the line.
  11. Oct 29, 2014 #10
    I'm not familiar with the seismic events in Oklahoma that you refer to.

    Federal regulations specifically forbid hazardous waste injection at pressures high enough to cause fracturing. They also prohibit injection at pressures high enough to activate preexisting faults and fractures (that formed over geological times).

  12. Oct 29, 2014 #11

    Help!!! I'm a 21-year-old trapped in a 73 year old body.

  13. Oct 29, 2014 #12


    User Avatar
    Gold Member


    And I'm a 10-year-old trapped in a 90-year-old body, even though I'm chronologically 58. I have yet to figure out how that works.
  14. Oct 29, 2014 #13


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Best mentor on PF! It is especially great for me being a chemical engineering major to have a mentor that is also a chemE. We are definitely not in the majority on this forum, or anywhere for that matter :(
  15. Oct 29, 2014 #14


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I love your taste in music! Each musician you listed just so happens to be a personal favorite of mine as well haha.
  16. Oct 29, 2014 #15
    Do you play an instrument? I thought at one time I saw an avatar with a guitar.

  17. Oct 29, 2014 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Indeed, I play guitar.
  18. Oct 29, 2014 #17
    OK. How do we do a blues duet over our iPhones, iPads, or computers?

  19. Oct 29, 2014 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member


    Hey... I'm a comedian, not a musician... gimmee a break... jeez....
  20. Oct 30, 2014 #19


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    No idea haha I'm not even slightly tech savvy, but that would be an absolutely awesome thing to try and do!
  21. Oct 30, 2014 #20


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Me neither, but I have a sneaking suspicion that something incorporating MIDI ports and Skype might be in the offing...
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook