Iowa State University


William Simpkins, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, (515) 294- 7814
Dean Fiihr, News Service, (515) 294-4066


AMES, Iowa -- Martin Helmke, a first year Ph.D. candidate in Iowa State University's department of geological and atmospheric sciences has won the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) Horton Research Award. The award includes $10,000.

The Horton Research Award is given annually by AGU's Hydrology Section to honor Ph.D. research in hydrological sciences. Helmke is the first ISU student to receive the award, considered one of the highest honors a graduate student can receive in the hydrological sciences.

Helmke's project, "Characterization of effective porosity and solute transport processes in fractured till," examines how contaminants, such as fertilizers and pesticides, are transported by ground water through glacial till. These deposits, left by large glaciers that once covered Iowa and most of the Midwest, have been thought to be impermeable and protected aquifers below them from contamination.

"Martin's project has implications for siting of waste-disposal facilities in suitable locations to protect aquifers. Only a few people in the United States are working on this type of project," said William Simpkins, ISU associate professor of geological and atmospheric sciences, and Helmke's advisor.

Helmke also will receive $500 to attend the AGU meeting on May 27, in Baltimore, where he will receive the award, and another $500 to present his results at a future AGU meeting.


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