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The Royal Society of Canada elects David Blowes as new Fellow

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Water Institute is thrilled to announce that David Blowes, professor in Waterloo’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Professor Blowes is among 89 Fellows elected by their peers in recognition of outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement, with diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Election to the academies of the Royal Society of Canada is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the Arts, Humanities and Sciences.

David Blowes
Professor Blowes is an international leader in the field of environmental geochemistry. He develops improved techniques for the prediction, remediation and prevention of groundwater contamination, including metals, metalloids, pathogens, nutrients and emerging contaminants. He employs a wide range of tools including field investigations, laboratory experiments and mathematical modeling to understand the complex behaviour of these systems. Through sophisticated laboratory, field and modelling studies, he has made ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of the release of contaminants from mine wastes. Professor Blowes has made important contributions to the development of management practices for mine wastes and to the development of novel groundwater remediation technologies.

contaminents from groundwater in David Blowes' lab

Professor Blowes leads the Groundwater Geochemistry Remediation Group together with Water Institute member Carol Ptacek. This research group is committed to advancing the understanding of the fate, transport and remediation of contaminants including metals, metalloids, pathogens, nutrients and emerging contaminants in groundwater. This research includes detailed field investigations, laboratory studies, development of reactive barriers and other passive remedial solutions, application of non-traditional isotope techniques and development of mathematical models to predict the complex geochemical behaviour of these systems.

david blowes assisting students in his lab

Early in his career, professor Blowes was part of the team that developed Permeable Reactive Barriers, a novel method of cleaning contaminated groundwater in place, avoiding the enormous cost and time involved in the conventional pumping and treating groundwater. He and his students also developed a series of highly sophisticated multicomponent reactive transport models.

In 2015, he received an NSERC Synergy Innovation Award for his work in collaboration with the Diavik Diamond Mine and Carleton University for developing a sustainable method to mitigate acid mine drainage while protecting a pristine watershed in the highly sensitive permafrost environment of the Northwest Territories.

Click here to view a complete list of newly elected Fellows and their nomination citations.

About the Royal Society of Canada

Founded in 1882, the RSC comprises the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences; in addition to Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership, The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Its mission is to recognize scholarly, research and artistic excellence, to advise governments and organizations, and to promote a culture of knowledge and innovation in Canada and with other national academies around the world.