Ernest Stanley Sellers: 1964—1965
Ernest Sellers was born in 1912 and educated in Manchester at Stand Grammar School and the College of Technology, where he took a General BSc in Science and an MSc in Applied Chemistry. He worked first in the industrial research laboratories of Tootal Broadhurst Lee Co Ltd and Manchester Dyers Ltd. In 1935 he began a long continuing association with the petroleum industry by going to work at the Abadan refinery of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. He returned home in 1938 and from then until 1948 worked at the Trafford Park refinery of the Manchester Oil Refinery Ltd where he was engineer in charge of a succession of refining processes and, in 1946, was appointed refinery superintendent, in charge of all refinery operations.
In 1948 his activities underwent a dramatic change when he was appointed a university lecturer in the newly-started Department of Chemical Engineering at Cambridge. Here his practical experience and down-to-earth attitude were an invaluable complement to the more academic approach of the other members of the staff.
In 1955 he was appointed head of the newly-established Department of Chemical Engineering at the University College of Swansea, University of Wales. In his four and a half years there he attracted a firstrate staff and a growing body of students. He established an imaginative programme of research and coopted local industry to help in the practical training of his students.
During the period of his university service he served on a number of Government department advisory committees and held consultant appointments to industry. These activities took him to South Africa and South America. He took particular pride and pleasure in his consultants contract with the DuPont organisation which necessitated regular visits to the USA over several years.
In March 1960 Sellers rejoined what was later to become the British Petroleum Company and was appointed Manager of the main division at the BP Research Centre at Sunbury-on-Thames, an appointment which he held for three years. During this time there was a considerable expansion of activities there, and he was able to make a big contribution to the development of the chemical engineering instrumental and mathematical aspects of research.
In 1963 he was appointed Assistant General Manager of the Refiners Department of British Petroleum Co with the particular duty of co-ordinating the scientific and development work involved in refinery operations and with product quality.
He became an Associate Member of the Institution in 1946 and a Member in 1956. He was a Vice President of the Institution from 1961-1963 and also served on Council and numerous committees. He received the Moulton Medal for 1956 jointly with D R Augood for their paper "The Distillation Characteristics of Liquid Hydrogen".
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