In this paper, we attempt to provide a perspective on the field of process systems engineering (PSE) by tracing its evolution back to the pioneering work of Neal Amundson, Rutherford Aris, and Roger Sargent, and highlighting their legacies that continue to guide research in PSE to this day. We underscore the growth in the technical scope of the field from the adoption of control and optimization methods for analyzing chemical engineering problems to the advancement of the methods themselves. We comment on the extended scope, current state, and major trends in PSE while reflecting on the intellectual identity of our field that has developed over time. PSE is positioned to play a crucial role in addressing major societal challenges, such as sustainability and health. While considering a diverse set of applications, it will also be critical to further advance theory which allows us to address the complexity that underlies these problems. Finally, we outline a few emerging research themes that could serve as initial food for thought in a broader discussion on future research directions in PSE.
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- Process systems engineering