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Renowned Soil Physicist to Visit, Speak at DRI's Southern Nevada Science Center

For Immediate Release: November 27, 2012

LAS VEGAS - Martinus Th. ("Rien") van Genuchten will give a guest lecture at the Desert Research Institute, Southern Nevada Science Center this Thursday, November 29 at 12 P.M.

Dr. Rien van Genuchten has developed an exemplary career in soil hydrology for the past 35 years, with most of his dedicated work conducted at the US Salinity Laboratory in Riverside, Calif. Because of his highly cited research on the development of the basic theory of water flow and solute transport in unsaturated soils, he is among the premier hydrologists in the world today. In addition to his fundamental contributions to research, Rien van Genuchten has demonstrated unique leadership capabilities for the scientific community.

"Everyone within the soil physics and vadose zone hydrology community will at some point use the van Genuchten equation that he developed in the early 1980's," said Markus Berli, Associate Research Professor in the Desert Research Institute's Division of Hydrologic Sciences. "It's kind of like Einstein's E=mc2 for our community."

Navin Twarakavi, who is also an Associate Research Professor at the Desert Research Institute and has studied under Dr. van Genuchten, added that his visit could lead to future involvement with the Desert Research Institute's soil and water work in Nevada. "Having him involved in any sort of research would be a great honor and extremely beneficial to the scientific community here in Las Vegas," said Twarakavi.

Twarakavi noted that Rien van Genuchten is widely sought for his insights and advisory roles in steering research directions for a large number of institutions in the U.S. and abroad. He has been a guest scientist at various highly acclaimed institutes such as ETH Zurich, the editor-in-chief of the Vadose Zone Journal as well as associate editor of several other scientific journals such as Water Resources Research, Advances in Water Resources, and Journal of Contaminant Hydrology.

Rien van Genuchten's scientific achievements have earned him several awards such as the Soil Science Research Award (1996), Soil Physics Award (1998), and Technology Transfer Award (2001). In 2010 he was awarded the John Dalton Medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), one of the most prestigious awards in geosciences.

Currently, he holds a position as professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

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