Donald L. Katz (SPE)
AIME Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal* in 1979
Donald L. Katz retired as A.H. White University Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1977. He received his three degrees in chemical engineering from the same university—BS in 1931, MS in 1932, and PhD in 1933.
After receiving his doctorate, he was employed for three years at the Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where he initiated a program of production research. From 1936 until his retirement in 1977, Dr. Katz was a member of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and from 1951 to 1962 served as Chairman. His career has been characterized by timeliness in the anticipation of problems facing the petroleum industry, the quick organization and execution of research needed to meet those problems, and the prompt dissemination of that vital information to the industry. His pioneering work on phase equilibria and his participation in the creation of the discipline of reservoir engineering are notable. In recent years, his efforts have been directed towards the underground storage of natural gas. The Handbook of Natural Gas Engineering, written with his students, is used world-wide. Starting in 1935, forty-five of his papers have been published in SPE-AIME journals.
Dr. Katz has been honored by five of the professional societies of which he is a member. He received the John Franklin Carll Award of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME in 1964 and the AIME Mineral Industry Education Award in 1970. He was elected President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 1958, and to membership in the National Academy of Engineering in 1968. He received the U.S. Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award in 1972.