Jan D. Miller
Jan D. Miller, the Ivor D. Thomas Distinguished Professor of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah, was honored with the 2015 Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence for his internationally recognized research prowess and his commitment to the university as a mentor, administrator and innovator.
Miller received a doctoral degree in metallurgical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and began his career at the University of Utah in 1968. He became a full professor in 1978, a distinguished professor in 2008 and served as chair of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering from 2002-2013.
He has supervised the research of more than 100 graduate students, many of whom have received national awards for their thesis research and have gone on to hold tenured faculty or administrative positions all over the world. During his time as department chair, research funding in the department rose from $1.7 million to $6.6 million.
He succeeded in cultivating international collaborative research teams before the Internet existed. His two honorary doctorate degrees from universities in South Africa and Poland and four honorary professorial appointments at universities in China are a testament to this work.
During his 47 years at the U, he has produced more than 600 publications, won millions of dollars in federal funding through grants and contracts and secured more than 30 patents that have provided more than $750,000 in income to the U, making him one of the largest royalty earners for the university. In 1993, he was elected into the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest honors bestowed up on an engineer.
He is perhaps best known for his research contributions associated with the processing of mineral and energy resources, with patents on the processing of oil sands, resin recovery from Utah coal and air-sparged hydrocyclone technology. Miller and his research group have launched a number of new areas in mineral processing research, including the flotation chemistry of mineral surfaces and the 3-D characterization of multiphase particulate systems using X-ray microtomography.