ChBE Seminar Series: Gambling on Innovation

Tuesday, March 23, 2021
11:00 a.m.
via Zoom
Taylor Woehl

Title: Gambling on Innovation 

Speaker: Darrell VelegolProfessor of Chemical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University


The purpose of this talk is to suggest a method for choosing an innovation portfolio, which is based on a fundamental result from information theory. It is part of a larger growing field of innovation process design. Given a set of innovation projects, estimated payoffs and probabilities of success for each, and an established capital fund, the question is “How much should one invest in each project, in order to maximize growth and minimize the risk of going bust?” That is, how should innovation leaders gamble on their innovation projects? This work is especially important for early-stage innovation projects, where the probability of success is often


Darrell Velegol attended West Virginia University for his BS in Chemical Engineering, and he earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 working with Professors John L. Anderson and Stephen Garoff.  In 1998 Velegol won the Victor K. LaMer Award of the American Chemical Society for the best PhD in the field of Colloid & Surface Science.  He continued with a post-doc in the Center for Light Microscope Imaging and Biotechnology at Carnegie Mellon, working under Professor Fred Lanni of the Biology Department.  In June 1999 Velegol joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at Penn State, where he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2005.  Velegol won an NSF CAREER Award in 2000, and has continued to be funded by NSF, DOE, EPA, PRF, the Air Force, and other organizations for his work with colloidal systems, including forces and stability,  directed assembly, electrokinetic flows, colloidal motors, and chemically-driven transport.  His research group uses a wide range of experimental and modeling approaches.  In 2009 Velegol was promoted to Full Professor at Penn State.  He has won numerous teaching and research awards, and he served as ABET accreditation coordinator in his department over many years.  For his research in experimental and theoretical problems in the dynamics of complex colloidal particles, Velegol was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2011, and appointed as a Distinguished Professor at Penn State in 2012.  He is a member of ACS, AIChE, AEA, AAAS, and ASEE.

Audience: Public 

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