Olaf Andreas Hougen (1893–1986), former Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was one of the outstanding original contributors to the science and practice of modern chemical engineering. He is remembered for his inspired teaching, his leadership in engineering education and research, and his volunteer work in retirement for the university and the profession.
In his research activities, Professor Hougen developed important original and fundamental principles for the mainstream of modern chemical engineering: heat transfer, gas adsorption, thermodynamics, catalysis, applied kinetics, and process design. In his teaching, Professor Hougen's warmth of personality and sincere interest in each student's future were a source of inspiration to chemical engineers around the world. He instilled in his students a sense of responsibility to their profession and to society. Professor Hougen's influence on chemical engineering education in the United States and abroad was achieved through his numerous publications, many of which established patterns for chemical engineering teaching and research.
His many honors included five awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Esso Award of the American Chemical Society, and the Lamme Gold Medal Award of the American Society for Engineering Education. From 1961 through 1963, he served as a scientific attaché at the American Embassy, Stockholm, Sweden, and in 1974 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.