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BY SHELDON E. ISAKOFF
Page S. Buckley, a pioneer in the field of chemical process control system design and retired principal consultant of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, died on July 25, 1995, at the age of seventy-seven. Page Buckley was ...
Page S. Buckley, a pioneer in the field of chemical process control system design and retired principal consultant of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, died on July 25, 1995, at the age of seventy-seven. Page Buckley was born on June 23, 1918, in Hampton, Virginia. He attended Columbia University, from which he received his bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1940.
Buckley began his long and distinguished career working for a brief time with a consulting engineer in Ottawa, Canada. In 1941 he joined the Monsanto Company, and over the next eight years had a wide variety of assignments, including research and development and plant troubleshooting, maintenance, and production.
He joined the Du Pont Company in 1949 as a senior engineer at the Sabine River Works in Orange, Texas, where he quickly became involved with the many complex engineering problems associated with Du Pont's continuous high- pressure chemical manufacturing process. During his six years at Sabine, Buckley initiated his pioneering studies of the control of chemical manufacturing processes, the field in which he subsequently made many outstanding, creative contributions throughout his professional career.
In 1955 Buckley moved from the Texas plant to the Engineering Research Laboratory at the Experimental Station, Du Pont's Research Center in Wilmington, Delaware. There, holding the position of research associate, Buckley focused his research on the dynamics, or unsteady-state characteristics, of process equipment and systems. He clearly demonstrated the necessity for understanding process dynamics in the development of control strategies and design of process control systems. Buckley's research defined the key concepts and methodology that provided a more effective, broadly applicable approach to control system design.
Buckley transferred in 1962 to the Design Division, where for many years he was responsible for providing the design of control systems for the new or modernized Du Pont plants. Buckley advanced to principal consultant, the highest ranked technical position in his company's project engineering organization. The new technology he introduced improved safety, energy use, and efficiency of many of Du Pont's processes. He received special recognition and awards within Du Pont for his outstanding engineering contributions and for the substantial economic benefits that accrued from them. Buckley retired from Du Pont in 1987.
Page Buckley was a true professional who contributed to the advancement of engineering through his publications, professional society activities, and teaching at several universities. He authored one of the earliest and most widely used reference books in his field, Techniques of Process Control, which has been translated into Japanese and Russian. With a colleague in Du Pont and Lehigh University, he was an author of the text Design of Distillation Column Control Systems. After he retired, he authored another book with over arching perspective, Process Control Strategy and Profitability. Buckley served for a number of years as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Delaware and lectured, led summer session courses, and was a member of the doctorate examining committee at Lehigh University. Buckley's rare ability to bridge the gap between complex theoretical developments and practical engineering applications, clearly evident in his textbooks and lectures, was highly prized by colleagues and students.
Buckley was an active participant in the Instrument Society of America (ISA) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) and was honored as a fellow by both societies. He received many prestigious awards for his pioneering work, including the Outstanding Personal Achievement Award from Chemical Engineering Magazine in 1970, the Philip T. Sprague Achievement Award of the ISA in 1973, and the Founders Award of AIChE in 1988. He received an honorary doctor of engineering degree from Lehigh University in 1975 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1981.
Page Buckley was far more than a remarkably talented engineer. His students and associates in Du Pont considered him a perfect mentor. There was never a time inconvenient for him to respond to their questions. He welcomed discussion of their approach to problems rather than imposing his own.
He was devoted to his wife of forty-seven years, Betty, and to his four daughters, Annie Buckley of Denver, Colorado; Kebba Buckley of Phoenix, Arizona; Judith Buckley of Winter Park, Florida; and Bess Buckley of Roslyn Heights, New York. He will be missed very much by the many people whose lives he touched.