The College of Engineering’s Edward Rubin has been chosen to receive the Dixy Lee Ray Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in recognition of his extensive career of achievements and contributions in environmental engineering. The award honors Dixy Lee Ray’s advocacy for the development of technologies in the broad field of environmental protection that serve and aid humanity.
Rubin is the Alumni Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science in the departments of engineering and public policy and mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Senior Fellow in the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. Since joining Carnegie Mellon in 1969 as an assistant professor, he has pioneered the field that today is called Energy and the Environment. Combining his interest in advanced energy systems and the impact of air pollution from energy use, Rubin helped bring this field to the forefront of research and education.
On learning of the award, Rubin remarked that “this is indeed a big surprise. I’m deeply honored, and grateful to ASME for recognizing the important role that mechanical engineers can play in advancing clean energy goals.”
Rubin’s research integrated the engineering analysis of complex technology design with economics and risk analysis, particularly of fossil fuel plants. Central to his work was a policy perspective to inform governmental regulations and standards relating to the environment. He has been an author of over 300 publications, including seminal papers that have significantly contributed to the design of new technologies for controlling power plant emissions.
In over 50 years at Carnegie Mellon, Rubin has spearheaded education and research in environmental engineering, co-founding the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, which today is a unique interdisciplinary program that offers undergraduate double-major and Ph.D. tracks. He served as the founding director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies and the Carnegie Mellon Environmental Institute, which were the forerunners of today’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, respectively.
Rubin has also worked with public and professional organizations in the energy and environmental fields throughout his career. A Fellow of ASME, he was most actively involved in work for the society from 1970 to 1990, serving in leadership roles on various ASME committees and as Chair of the Environmental Systems Division. In the 1990s and 2000s, Rubin served on both national and international committees for energy and environmental issues. For his work on the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), he shared the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded jointly to IPCC and Al Gore in 2007.
In conferring the 2020 Dixy Lee Ray Award, the ASME lauded Rubin “for pioneering research on the environmental design of fossil-fueled power plants and carbon capture technologies; for seminal contributions to understanding drivers of environmental technology innovation; and for visionary leadership in environmental education and policy, which has led to improved decision-making and cleaner, more cost-effective environmental technologies.”
Formal conferral of the award will take place at a special ceremony during the ASME Annual Meeting later this year.