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UCR Soil Scientist Elected Member Of National Academy of Sciences

UCR Soil Scientist Elected Member Of National Academy of Sciences

(May 2, 2000)

William Jury, a professor of soil physics at the University of California, Riverside, today (May 2, 2000) was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an honor considered one of the highest that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer.

Jury was among 60 new members and 15 foreign associates recognized for their distinguished research achievements during the business session of the Academy's 137th annual meeting. He is the sixth UCR scientist to be elected to the Academy.

His laboratory has conducted ground-breaking research in measuring and modeling the movement of pesticides and other toxic chemicals through soil, water and air. Among his significant research projects, Jury has studied how pesticides and fertilizers move below agricultural fields and contaminate ground water, and he has developed methods for minimizing pollution by toxic chemicals. As part of his research, Jury has developed screening models that predict the contamination tendencies of various pesticides. These models are now widely used by regulatory agencies and industry to evaluate new pesticides before they pollute the environme nt.

Recently, he has conducted research on methyl bromide, a common agricultural fumigant that can deplete the ozone layer when it escapes into the atmosphere. Jury and colleague Scott Yates, a UCR adjunct professor of soil science, discovered that the conventional plastic film used to cover fields during methyl bromide applications did not prevent escape of gas to the air. They then identified a new film material that virtually eliminated atmospheric contamination, while also allowing growers to apply signif icantly less of the pesticide.

The finding is particularly relevant since methyl bromide is scheduled to be phased out because of its impact on the Earth's protective ozone layer, and safe and effective alternatives have not yet been fully developed.

Jury a faculty member at UCR since 1974, is in the UCR Department of Environmental Sciences and directs the new Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences. He is a fellow of three professional societies, including the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science. His two books, "Soil Physics" and "Transfer Functions and Solute Movement Through Soil: Theory and Applications" have become standard textbooks in the field. He has also received the campus' highest teaching honor, the Distinguished Teaching Award. UCR scientists previously elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences are: Michael T. Clegg, dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences; Noel T. Keen, professor of plant pathology; John A. Moore, professor emeritus of biology; Austin Riesen, a professor emeritus of psychology who died in 1996; and George Zentmyer, professor emeritus of plant pathology.

The University of California, Riverside ( 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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