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Process Engineering: Crux of a Modern Interdisciplinary Engineering Education

Traditionally, the higher education is based on traditionally separated and strongly material related single disciplines, like Mining, Hydrometallurgy, Construction Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Material Science, ... Over the times the generalists approach dropped down towards a larger specification and further division into a large number of single sub-disciplines. It went conform to demand and development of various branches of industry particularly within 20st century. There was a demand to high specific knowledge and specification. Interaction and linkage issues in between subdivisions of one branch and in between the following or interacting branches accompanied this development as well. The issue was somehow cushioned but not removed by a wider education of the traditionally disciplines. For most engineering disciplines, a crossover discipline, like the “Process Engineering” field was introduced at modern universities to overcome those increasing linkage issues. Schubert further introduced “Minerals Dressing” or “Minerals Processing” field, what was traditionally educated in mining and metallurgy fields, into “Mechanical Process Engineering”, with “Material Processing” as sub-discipline of the new formed “Process Engineering” education at Freiberg University of Mining and Technology within the late 60’s or early 70’s of the 20th century. He posted to focus rather on process and the acting principles than on materials and its characteristics. Material application can be done easily later at the job. That did lead to a stringent modularization of Process Engineering education and results further in a large number and variety of advantages. There are at least better job opportunities for the alumni, well-balanced linkage issues in industry, and a better economy and quality assurance at the university. Within following decades a large number of minerals processing education centers followed.

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