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Letey and Simunek Receive Soil Science Awards


UC Riverside Environmental Scientists Receive Soil Science Awards

(November 22, 2005)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Two UC Riverside scientists have won prestigious awards from the Soil Science Society of America. John Letey received the 2005 Soil Science Distinguished Service Award and Jirka Simunek received the 2005 Don & Betty Kirkham Soil Physics Award.

The awards were presented at the Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting held earlier this month in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Letey, a distinguished professor emeritus of soil physics and former director of the University of California Center for Water Resources, received his B.S. degree at Colorado State University and Ph.D. degree at the University of Illinois. A distinguished record in research, teaching, administration, and service characterizes his professional career. He is a fellow in the Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He accomplished research on all aspects of water quantity and quality related to irrigated agriculture that provided both applied and basic information critical to establishing sound water resource management. Topics of research include irrigation, drainage, salinity, pesticide transport, plant-water relations, nitrogen, soil aeration, and polymers. He is also recognized as one of the world authorities on water repellent soils and the utilization of surfactants. Letey cooperated extensively with economists combining basic scientific principles with economics to derive optimal management schemes. His research led to 300 publications and the Soil Science Research Award.

Simunek is a professor of hydrology and hydrologist in the Department of the Environmental Sciences. Before joining UCR in 2003, he was an associate research scientist at the George E. Brown, Jr. Salinity Laboratory in Riverside. Simunek earned his M.S. degree from the Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic, and his Ph.D. degree from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague. His research areas are in numerical modeling of subsurface water flow and solute transport processes, equilibrium and nonequilibrium chemical transport, multicomponent major ion chemistry, field-scale spatial variability, and inverse procedures for estimating the hydraulic properties of unsaturated porous media. Specific interests are in the areas of carbon dioxide transport and production, virus and colloid transport, and nonlinear non-equilibrium transport of single and multiple solutes.

About the awards:
The Soil Science Distinguished Service Award is presented in recognition of outstanding service to soil science. Selection is based on the nominee’s contributions during his or her career. Members eligible for the award must have 25 years or more of active membership in the Society and have cased full-time professional employment.

The Don and Betty Kirkham Soil Physics Award recognizes a mid-career soil scientist who has made outstanding contributions in the area of soil physics. The principal criteria for the award are significance and originality of basic and applied research in soil physics, quality and impact of teaching soil physics at undergraduate and graduate levels, and total impact of contributions in soil science and other fields, nationally and internationally, as well as on the world community at large. The Don and Betty Kirkham Soil Physics Award is supported by the Lena and Maria van der Ploeg Fund and the Don and Betty Kirkham Funds, both funds of which have been established in the Agronomic Science Foundation.
John Letey (left) pictured with the president of the Soil Science Society of America, John Havlin of North Carolina State University.  Photo credit: SSSA.

John Letey (left) pictured with the president of the Soil Science Society of America, John Havlin of North Carolina State University. Photo credit: SSSA.

Jirka Simunek (left) pictured with the president of the Soil Science Society of America, John Havlin of North Carolina State University.  Photo credit: SSSA.

Jirka Simunek (left) pictured with the president of the Soil Science Society of America, John Havlin of North Carolina State University. Photo credit: SSSA.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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