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Zheng Chunmiao wins University of Wisconsin-Madison Distinguished Alumni Award

Peking University, May 19, 2014: Recently, in the annual Spring Banquet of the Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Professor Zheng Chunmiao of the College of Engineering, Peking University was awarded the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.


Professor Mary Anderson, Zheng’s Ph.D. advisor, said the award is “For a seminal textbook and software that has transformed the groundwater consulting industry, and for distinguished research and sustained service.”


Zheng went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in January 1985 to study for a Ph.D. degree in hydrogeology, under the supervision of Professor Mary Anderson in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. After graduating in May 1988, Dr. Zheng worked as a hydrogeological expert at S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc., an environmental and water resources consulting firm in the United States.. From 1993, he began working in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Alabama, serving as an assistant professor, associate professor, professor and Lindahl chair professor. He is currently Chair Professor at Peking University and director of the Center for Water Research.


During his Ph.D. studies, Zheng developed a computer program to trace groundwater flow lines. When working in the industry later, Zheng finished writing the MT3D program, a software tool to simulate groundwater contaminant transport. Once available, the software was greatly welcomed by groundwater researchers, and referred to as "one of the landmark contributions to hydrogeology in the 20th century" by a report of the US National Academy of Sciences. The software went on to become an international standard for groundwater pollution simulation, and profoundly transformed the groundwater consulting industry. Zheng also authored a textbook on groundwater contaminant transport modeling, which has been widely used by students and professionals worldwide, and a Chinese translation was published in 2009. In addition, Zheng has published more than 150 papers, making important contributions to the understanding of hydrological processes, mitigation of groundwater pollution and sustainable use of water resources.


In his acceptance speech, Zheng gave special thanks to his alma mater for giving him the best education he could have asked for, to his supervisor who has been his biggest supporter, mentor and cheerleader for the past 30 years, to his colleagues in the industry who taught him many things, and to the University of Alabama which provided a very supportive and nurturing environment for him to grow as a researcher and educator. Before he finished his speech, Professor Zheng said, in his current role in China, “despite many obstacles, I find it very exciting and rewarding to tackle hydrogeological problems in a country with a fifth of the global population and only seven percent of the planet’s water resources.” He hopes to serve as a bridge between Chinese and international water resources researchers to promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation in water resources research.


Due to his outstanding contributions in the field of hydrogeology and groundwater sciences, Professor Zheng has received several prestigious honors in recent years, including the 2009 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship from the Geological Society of America, the 2013 M. King Hubbert Award by the National Ground Water Association in the United States and the 2013 O.E. Meinzer Award by the Geological Society of America.


Source: College of Engineering

Edited by: Zhang Jiang