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Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

DENIN Dialogue speaker addresses new strategies for a water-stressed world
05/13/2010 -

Water is life, and it has no substitute in most of its uses.

Water is renewable, thanks to the hydrologic cycle, but it's also finite.

According to Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project and Freshwater Fellow at the National Geographic Society, these qualities make water fundamentally different from other commodities.

Postel was the first speaker hosted by the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) in the new DENIN Dialogue Series. She spoke in the University of Delaware's Mitchell Hall on Monday, May 10.

Postel's basic message was that we live in an increasingly water-stressed world as the result of a rapidly increasing global population and decades of practices that threaten the continued adequacy of this finite commodity.

UD geographer's election to board of Arctic institute reveals cool connections
05/13/2010 -

Frederick E. (“Fritz”) Nelson, professor of geography in the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, has been elected to the board of governors of the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA).

The appointment not only highlights the University's continuing contributions to Arctic research and education, but also reveals important historic connections between the international institute, a past UD president who was a polar explorer, and Nelson himself.

AINA's mandate is “to advance the study of the North American and circumpolar Arctic through the natural and social sciences, the arts, and humanities, and to acquire, preserve, and disseminate information on physical, environmental, and social conditions in the North.”

Sparks wins distinguished mentoring award from Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools
04/19/2010 -

Donald L. Sparks, the University of Delaware's S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute, has won the Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award from the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools.

The prestigious award, bestowed in memory of the association's former president, recognizes outstanding mentoring support of graduate students.

Sparks received the award, which included a certificate and cash prize of $1,000, on Friday, April 16, in Montreal at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools. The association, one of four regional affiliates of the Council of Graduate Schools, has members from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec.

UD graduate students win awards in environmental chemistry
04/16/2010 -

The American Chemical Society's Division of Environmental Chemistry awarded University of Delaware graduate students Kathy Phillips and Mengqiang Zhu cash awards and one-year memberships to the ACS division on the merits of their coursework and research productivity.

The ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry funds up to 25 annual awards to full-time graduate students enrolled in U.S. educational institutions in chemistry, environmental engineering, or environmental chemistry programs. Graduate faculty advisers nominate students, placing emphasis on the students' potential to make future contributions as professionals in environmental chemistry.

DENIN holds first research symposium
04/13/2010 -

Some 70 affiliates of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) turned out for the institute's inaugural research symposium on April 9 at the University of Delaware's John M. Clayton Hall.

“We decided to keep our first symposium internal so that we could learn about the wide range of environmental research going on at UD and some of our partner institutions,” said DENIN Director Donald L. Sparks in his welcoming remarks.

Sparks reiterated DENIN's mission: to provide solutions to pressing environmental needs and produce strategies to address emerging environmental challenges by conducting research and promoting and coordinating knowledge partnerships that integrate environmental science, engineering and policy.

UD researcher battles rice blast disease to protect food supply
03/04/2010 -

A University of Delaware scientist is waging an important battle to help protect a major resource in the world's food supply from a devastating fungal disease known as rice blast.

Nicole Donofrio, assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware, said rice blast disease affects foods that many developing countries depend on, such as rice, as well as other members of the grass family including rye, wheat and barley.

Donofrio explained that this disease is particularly destructive, saying, “The general statistic is that rice blast kills enough rice each year to feed 60 million people -- a number we definitely cannot afford, particularly in the face of the rapidly expanding world population.”

UD's V2G technology takes national stage
02/23/2010 -

The University of Delaware's vehicle-to-grid technology drove onto the world's stage at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Friday, Feb. 19, in San Diego, offering a mode of mobility that's “green” in more ways than one.

Non-polluting V2G cars would help the environment, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and also put potentially thousands of dollars a year back in their owner's pocket, according to Willett Kempton, professor in UD's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and director of UD's Center for Carbon-free Power Integration.

Barteau appointed co-chair of national roundtable, named fellow of AIChE
02/19/2010 -

Mark Barteau, Robert L. Pigford Chair of Chemical Engineering and senior vice provost for research and strategic initiatives at the University of Delaware, has been appointed co-chair of the Chemical Sciences Roundtable of the National Research Council (NRC).

(Note: Mark Barteau has since retired from the University of Delaware.)

A forum of leaders in the chemical sciences, the roundtable initiates and hosts meetings and workshops to discuss issues of importance throughout the chemical enterprise, such as green chemistry, high school chemistry education, and research teams and partnerships. The group advances study concepts to the NRC's Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, which provides scientific and technical advice to inform national decision makers.

UD scientists featured in top environmental science journal
01/29/2010 -

Research performed by Matthew Ginder-Vogel, associate scientist in the Delaware Environmental Institute, Gautier Landrot, a graduate student in environmental soil chemistry at the University of Delaware, and Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute, is featured in this month's special issue of Environmental Science and Technology, the premier environmental science and engineering journal in the world.

Ginder-Vogel, who recently accepted a position as analytical manager at Calera Corp., a carbon sequestration start-up company in California, is also a guest editor of the issue, which is focused on biogeochemical redox processes and their impact on the fate and transport of environmental contaminants.

01/20/2010 -

Water Conference

The University of Delaware will host the 6th International Conference on Sustainable Water Environment at Clayton Hall on the Newark campus from July 29-31.

Chin-Pao Huang, Donald C. Phillips Professor in UD's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is serving as chairperson of the international organizing committee, which includes other members from the U.S. as well as representatives from Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Singapore.

With a focus on strategy and technology needs for sustainable water in a time of climate change, the conference will provide an open forum in which academicians, engineers and public policy-makers can exchange information on recent advances in sustainable water research and practices among countries at various stages of economic development.