Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kam - Akal Engineering

The unthinkable has happened! I am on my way to become a chemical engineer. Those were the good old days at IIT when we used to look down upon the chemical engineers. They had the easiest life and the returns were more than they deserved. (They always had the best babe collection. You must have heard the horror stories about girls and the lack of their number/quality at IITM. Things went very bad in between. A girl was spotted in the metallurgical department and the entire building was out there to see who this new species was roaming in their area. They never had a female student ever before!) The story that used to go around was that the first year at IIT was toughest for chemical engineers. On the other hand, for us electrical boys, the first year was heaven before we were dispatched to the depths of hell. It was very normal to look down upon these guys and very natural too. They had the easiest professors any one can dream of. There was one guy who used to repeat the same question paper year after year. One of the students complained to the professor about this and he agreed to change the paper. To his credit, he did change the question paper but only the order of the questions!!! Another professor tells his students that he will give them a C grade if they don’t attend classes and skip the exam. If they want any better grade than that, they would have to attend the classes. At ESB, you are expected to slog it out and become as smart as Einstein to get a C grade. Well, now you know why we didn’t like the chemical chaps at IITM. For the very dumb ones reading this, I am an electrical engineer. Of course! And ESB is electrical sciences block.

Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. Don’t rack your brains too hard. I am quoting Morpheus. I chose Reliance Industries as my preferred employer and joined the M&A division. Given the nature of my job, I need to dabble a lot in chemical engineering and equations. I was doing stoichiometry the other day so that I can develop the business plan of a target company. Now I am attending training sessions on chemical products, markets and technologies. I can throw words like tubular and autoclave reactors, propane dehydrogenation and oligomerisation and the likes. My favorite molecule is 2,4 dimethyl p-hydroxy iso-butenic acid!! How fortunes change!

Training is good fun. Firstly, you don’t get to do any work for three days. You get free food and the centre is pretty close to where I stay. You need to be in Bombay to realize the importance of this great benefit. The added benefit is that I get to hear some very good stories. Once upon a time, there was this chap called Dr. Dubbs who sent his son to MIT to become a chemical engineer. The son was named Carbon Dubbs. Looks his like his dad lost few atoms somewhere. The son was a crackpot, at least that’s what I feel. He added Petroleum as his middle name. The dude is formally called Carbon Petroleum Dubbs. Dr. C.P. Dubbs! He wedded some pretty female and called their first daughter, Methyl. Guess what he called the second one: Ethyl, of course. Thank God there was no Propyl.

Chemistry is much more crazier than I thought it was. Now who in the right mind would convert ethanol to ethylene!! For those who are bulbing big time, ethanol is the booze that I am guzzling down as I write this and you definitely don’t want to know about ethylene. Over the next few days I will become an expert at chemicals and their markets and their technologies.

But you should just sit back and think for a while how modern chemistry has improved our lives so much. There is so much around you that is composed of these chemical products. There is a 90% chance that the shirt you are wearing is made of polyester from Reliance; the computer/laptop you are using is encased in polymers manufactured by Reliance. Chemicals have truly enriched our lives. Well, at least that’s what I want to believe as long as I working for this industry. Don’t you dare disagree with me. Else I will give you a session on how Middle East guys are screwing around with the world economy because of the huge amounts of oil and gas they control. Or I will keep it simple and rotomold you!



Blogger Balachandra B Krishnamurthy said...

You should have taken Chme with me man. We could have had so much fun! Anyway, it's not too late a time to do the switch. Although by the nature of your article you seem to be doing more chemistry than chemical engineering.
BTW, what process are you using to convert ethanol to ethylene? Also, what catalyst are you using for the polymerization of ethylene?

22/7/06 10:59 PM  
Blogger evZENy said...

I work at UOP and have heard and repeated that funny story about C.P. daughters' names.
Fake news as we say today.
"C.P. and Bertha were the parents of three children: Jennie, Carbon Chatley and Bertha."

13/12/17 12:53 AM  

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