Wood is one of mankind’s earliest and most useful materials on this earth. Scientists from many disciplines have contributed greatly to the advancement of wood as an industrial material. I will discuss the approach from my chemical engineering viewpoint. This lecture will show how I attempted (borrowing from the Society of Wood Science and Technology’s mission) “to advance the educational, scientific, and ethical standards that define the profession; and to advocate the socially responsible production and use of wood and other lignocellulosic products.” A basic understanding of wood and its relationship with moisture is critical to the effective use of wood products. My early studies in basic wood and water interaction, followed by wood treatment for dimensional stability gave me insights into novel wood drying research, such as jet impingement, solar dehumidification, and high pressure steam drying. Efforts in energy recovery in kiln drying and energy generation from wood itself followed before I moved into administrative research to view wood science from a broader perspective through science policy and oversight work. Policy work in recycling of wood products, biomass recovery for wood products, wood energy use, and nanotechnology was helpful for me to develop my approach to the socially responsible production of wood products.
Dr. Howard N. Rosen received his BSc from the University of Maryland and MSc and PhD from Northwestern University in Chemical Engineering. He worked for Shell Development Co. for two years prior to joining the US Forest Service in Carbondale, Illinois as a research scientist. After 14 years of research focused in hardwood utilization, wood drying, wood physics, and energy production from forest biomass, he moved to Washington, DC in 1985 to join the Forest Service Research and Development Staff to perform technical oversight duties; interaction with other government agencies, Congress, associations, and private companies; and to represent the Forest Service in various outside activities. Dr. Rosen is active in several professional organizations: Past President of the Society of Wood Science and Technology; Past Deputy Coordinator of Forest Products Division and presently Working Party Chair for Wood Culture for the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, Vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation, Treasurer of the International Academy of Wood Science, and member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Forest Products Society, and Sigma Xi. Dr. Rosen has over 100 technical publications, over 120 technical presentations at meetings, and 6 patents in the area of wood products, drying, and energy. He retired in 2006 and works as a volunteer for the US Forest Service. He was elected a fellow in IAWS in 1999.