Multi-department seminar series brings leading scientists to A&M
A successful lecture series brought leading scientists from across the country to Texas A&M University during the Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 semesters to discuss multi-scale processes in earth systems, said Dr. Binayak Mohanty, professor in Texas A&M's Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and organizer of the series.
Fifteen well-known researchers were featured as part of this Distinguished Lecture Series, "Multi Scale Processes in Earth Systems." They represented such institutions as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Cornell University, Duke University, National Center for Atmospheric Research, University of Texas at Austin, British Petroleum, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
Texas A&M's Departments of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Atmospheric Sciences, Civil Engineering, Ecosystem Science and Management, Geology and Geophysics, Mathematics, Petroleum Engineering, and Water Management and Hydrologic Sciences hosted the lectures.
Mohanty said more than 100 people attended each lecture, including students and faculty from Texas A&M as well as other A&M campuses and Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Centers.
Mohanty explained that much of the natural processes occurring in earth and environmental systems are inherently multi-scale, meaning that they occur in and evolve over space and time. Current understanding of these multi-scale processes and the transfer of their characteristics features across space and time scales are rather limited, he said.
In multi-scale research, scientists from different earth science disciplines gather different information, such as scale-based process characterization, remote sensing observations, and advanced modeling and scaling techniques by incorporating different data that has been generated at different spatial and temporal scales. With novel multi-scale mathematical algorithms and measurement tools, researchers try to scale the information up and down appropriately to infer larger scale events from small scale features and vice versa.
Mohanty said the seminar series was multidisciplinary because multi-scale processing occurs in many different research areas, including hydrology, ecology, petroleum engineering, geosciences, and atmospheric sciences.
"The most significant accomplishment of the seminar series is that people are not just from one discipline but from different departments," he said. "They are in the same room talking and learning new techniques from other disciplines and generating new ideas for innovative interdisciplinary research proposals."
Mohanty organized another Distinguished Lecture Series in Spring 2003, "Water, Chemical, and Heat Transport in the Environmental Systems Across Different Space-Time Scales," in which other prominent scientists from Harvard University, MIT, Princeton University and other national and international institutions spoke.
He envisions applying for a multiyear grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a Science and Technology Center at Texas A&M on multi-scale processes. These centers are designed to develop multi-disciplinary projects with people with a common theme and produce major research products.
WRAP short course set
Texas Water Resource Institute will host the Water Rights Analysis Package (WRAP) Short Course on Aug. 6-8 at the Centeq Research Plaza on the Texas A&M University campus.
The two and a half-day course will focus on the fundamentals of WRAP, a generalized modeling system for simulating the development, management, allocation, and use of the water resources of a river basin. It will also include computer modeling exercises.
The course is designed for engineers and scientists employed by water agencies and consulting firms. "Participants will gain a thorough understanding of the modeling system and proficiency in its application," said Dr. Ralph Wurbs. He is associate director for engineering for the institute and a professor of water resources engineering in Zachry Department of Civil Engineering.
Instructors include Wurbs, and Richard Hoffpauir, a consultant with several years experience in the application of WRAP.
Nich Kenny Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo
Nich Kenny recently joined the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo as a Texas AgriLife Extension Service agriculture engineer. He is working with Leon New, AgriLife Extension irrigation specialist, on irrigation systems and crop production practices.
Kenny, a native of Yuma, Ariz., earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and most recently served as president and owner of NPK Inc., an engineering and agricultural applications consulting company.
In that position, he said he oversaw projects in Arizona concerning effluent reuse facilities, landfill and waste handling operations, wildlife habitats, and a variety of irrigation methods, including flood, drip, and sprinkler.
TWRI welcomes new faces
Megan Meier was recently selected as a project manager for the Texas Water Resources Institute. She provides leadership for projects funded by state and federal agencies. Meier also works as a team member for directing Clean Water Act 319 projects funded by the Environmental Protection Agency through the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
She joined the institute as a student technician in June 2007. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Meier earned her bachelor's of science degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences and a master's of science degree in water management and hydrological sciences.
Courtney Swyden recently joined the Texas Water Resources Institute as program coordinator of the institute's new training program. Swyden will work with faculty and others to develop, coordinate, and market water resources short courses.
Prior to joining the institute, Swyden worked as a tournament/special events coordinator for PGA TOUR Superstore in Dallas, Texas. As a student at Texas A&M University, she worked for the institute as a student writer. She earned her bachelor's of science degree in agricultural journalism and communications from Texas A&M in December 2006.