Aquatic chemists share Stockholm Water Prize

The 1999 Stockholm Water Prize, worth $150,000, is to be shared for the first time with Professors Werner Stumm and James Morgan the joint recipients.

Dr. Stumm, 74, Professor Emeritus of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and Dr. Morgan, 66, the Goldberger Professor of Environmental Engineering Science at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, are honoured for their research achievements in aquatic chemistry. Aquatic chemistry deals with the chemical behaviour of natural waters, and the processes that affect the distribution and circulation of chemical substances in these waters.

Awarding the prize, the Stockholm Water Foundation felt that the two – who met at Harvard University in 1960 – have helped improve the understanding of chemical and physical processes in the water environment and have helped inspire the development of techniques for water and wastewater treatment around the world.

Stumm and Morgan’s applied research has focused on:

  • Surface chemistry in natural waters
  • Water chemistry of iron, manganese and phosphorus
  • The chemical reactions of species (including pollutants) as they move through the environment
  • Physico/chemical treatment processes such as coagulation and filtration to remove particulates

Professors Stumm and Morgan were among the first to recognise the importance of phosphorous in eutrophication. They linked P inputs to eutrophication and also provided a scientific basis for treatment processes to remove P from wastewater.

A common theme underpinning their work has been the value of research in the physical, chemical and biological processes involved in the movement of iron and manganese in aquatic systems. Results from their research have included new concepts and applications for problems like acid mine drainage, the transport of particle-reactive pollutants in lakes and the removal of iron and manganese in potable water treatment.

Professors Stumm and Morgan also established aquatic chemistry as a core discipline for limnologists, oceanographers, ecologists, soil scientists and environmental engineers. In 1970, they co-authored the book Aquatic Chemistry, which was published again in 1989 and 1996 and is used in higher education all over the world.

HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will present the Stockholm Water Prize at a ceremony in the Swedish capital in August. Professors Stumm and Morgan join previous winners from Australia, Canada, Denmark, the UK, India, Israel, Japan and the US.

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