Merrill Beckstead, Brigham Young University professor emeritus of chemical engineering, recently received a 2006 Governor’s Science and Technology Medal from Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr.
The awards were presented to seven Utahns in recognition of their work in scientific and technological fields. The recipients were selected by Greg Jones, state science adviser, and the State Advisory Council on Science and Technology.
Beckstead received the award in honor of a lifetime of contributions to the scientific community. He taught chemical engineering at BYU for 28 years, published more than 150 articles and served for five years as the technical director of the Multi-University Research Initiative, which was composed of seven U.S. universities and seven Russian universities.
Beckstead said he is perhaps best known in the field for being the author of the Beckstead-Derr-Price model of rocket propellant combustion, which is “still the basic concept that people follow in the propellant industry,” Beckstead said.
Despite his numerous achievements in the field, Beckstead said winning the award came as a complete surprise.
“It’s a very prestigious award. On the average, there’s one from BYU that receives it each year,” he said. “I’m very flattered to even be considered.”
Though he has retired from normal teaching, Beckstead continues to research, work with graduate students and contribute to the work of national and international colleagues.
The Governor’s Medal award program was initiated in 1987 to recognize outstanding examples of career achievement and distinguished service that have benefited Utah. Awards are given based on the contribution’s uniqueness, social impact and economic benefit to the state, among other criteria.
For more information, contact Merrill Beckstead at (801) 422-6239.
Writer: Elizabeth Kasper