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April 14: Carnegie Mellon's Greg V. Lowry Honored by Engineering Society for Outstanding Research


Chriss Swaney                     

Carnegie Mellon's Greg V. Lowry Honored by
Engineering Society for Outstanding Research

LowryPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Gregory V. Lowry has been selected to receive the prestigious 2009 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The prize is awarded to ASCE members under the age of 40 in honor of their notable research achievements in civil engineering. Lowry, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will receive his award at the ASCE national meeting, May 17-21 in Kansas City, Mo.
"I'm pleased that my hard work, as well as the hard work of my students and colleagues, has earned national recognition with the Huber Award. We will continue to research and publish at a high level and help introduce nanotechnologies in an environmentally sustainable manner," Lowry said.
"This is a significant and well-deserved award for Greg, and we are extremely pleased that he is receiving this national recognition," said James H. Garrett, Jr., head of Carnegie Mellon's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. "Greg is an outstanding researcher and he is now leading an important and major effort here at Carnegie Mellon to better understand the environmental implications of nanotechnology."
Lowry's work focuses on developing new nanoparticles to clean up contaminated sites. These "smart" new nanoparticles are designed to clean up toxins that resist conventional remediation methods. Pollutants in the ground that do not easily mix with water, such as organic solvents, remain a continuing source of groundwater pollution until they are removed.
"These subsurface pollutants are a particularly difficult problem because there are few reliable technologies to locate and destroy them," said Lowry, who is working with a team of Carnegie Mellon researchers to rid the world of dangerous chlorinated organic solvents called trichloroethylene (TCE).
TCE separates out from water as droplets, much like oil in water. But underground pockets of this chemical can steadily dissolve into the groundwater, which supplies more than 50 percent of the nation's drinking water. "Left untreated, billions of gallons of groundwater stand to be contaminated by TCE," said Lowry, who is deputy director of the Center for Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT). The National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $14.4 million to create CEINT to explore the potential ecological hazards of nanoparticles.
Lowry earned his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Stanford University in 2000 and his master's degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1995. He obtained a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of California at Davis in 1992.      

Pictured above is Greg Lowry, associate professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering.