Water-quality engineer Menachem Elimelech to receive the 2005 Clarke Prize

The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) announced on May 26 that water-quality expert Menachem Elimelech, Ph.D., of Yale University, will be the twelfth recipient of the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research.

The 2005 Clarke Prize will be presented to Dr. Elimelech on Thursday, July 7, 2005, at the Twelfth Clarke Prize Award Ceremony and Lecture, to be held at the St. Regis Monarch Bay Resort & Spa in Dana Point, California. NWRI established the Clarke Prize in 1993 to award outstanding research scientists who have demonstrated excellence in water-science research and technology. The prize, which includes a gold medallion and $50,000 award, is presented annually.

For the past 16 years, Dr. Elimelech has made groundbreaking contributions to the basic understanding of the physical and chemical processes for improving drinking-water quality. His research on the fate and transport of colloidal particles and microbial pathogens, like viruses and Cryptosporidium, in aquatic environments has proven critical in the removal of such contaminants from water. He has also significantly impacted the areas of water recycling and pollution control through his research on the effective use of membrane technologies for removing emerging contaminants from water. Among his many achievements, he developed a novel process called "forward osmosis" for desalinating brackish and sea waters, which is anticipated to be more cost-effective and efficient than traditional desalination processes.

An esteemed scholar as well as a researcher, Dr. Elimelech has authored over 110 refereed journal publications and is the principal author of the widely cited book, "Particle Deposition and Aggregation" (1995). He is also a member of the advisory boards of several leading journals in science and engineering, including "Colloids and Surfaces A," "Desalination," "Environmental Science & Technology," "Environmental Engineering Science," and "Separation Science and Technology." In recognition of his pioneering research contributions, Dr. Elimelech was awarded the American Society of Civil Engineers' Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize in 1996 and the Best Paper Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors in 2002.

Recently, Dr. Elimelech was named the Roberto C. Goizueta Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University, where he has taught since 1998. He has played the leading role in building and directing Yale's Environmental Engineering Program, considered a major component in the renaissance of engineering at Yale, and has been successful at obtaining research funding for his graduate students from the National Science Foundation, whose grants are extremely competitive. Dr. Elimelech has been awarded more of these grants than any researcher in his field. Many of his students and post-doctoral assistants now hold academic positions at leading universities in the United States and abroad. For all these efforts and more, this "truly outstanding educator" was honored with the Yale University Graduate Mentor Award in 2004.

Before joining Yale, Dr. Elimelech was a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, for 9 years. He received a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University and both an M.S. in Environmental Science & Technology and B.S. in Soil & Water Sciences from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

The Clarke Prize is awarded to outstanding research scientists who, through their devotion and perseverance, have implemented better water-science research and technology. The Prize is one of only a dozen water prizes awarded throughout the world. In addition, it has been distinguished by the International Congress of Distinguished Awards as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.

The Clarke Prize was established in honor of the late Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke, co-founder of NWRI. Mrs. Clarke's daughter, Mrs. Joan Irvine Smith of San Juan Capistrano, California, is patron of the award. Mrs. Smith will present the Clarke Prize to Dr. Elimelech at the Twelfth Clarke Prize Award Ceremony and Lecture.

Past recipients of the Clarke Prize include: Bruce E. Rittmann, Ph.D. of Arizona State University; David C. White, M.D., Ph.D. of the University of Tennessee; Walter J. Weber, Ph.D., P.E., DEE of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; Perry L. McCarty, Sc.D. of Stanford University; Rafael L. Bras, Sc.D. of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; James J. Morgan, Ph.D. of the California Institute of Technology; Charles R. O'Melia, Ph.D. of The Johns Hopkins University; Joan B. Rose, Ph.D. of Michigan State University; Harry F. Ridgway, Ph.D. of AquaMem Consultants; George Tchobanoglous, Ph.D., P.E. of the University of California, Davis; and Vernon L. Snoeyink, Ph.D. of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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