Pedro J.J. Alvarez, the George R. Brown Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and director of the National Science Foundation-backed Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT), has been honored with the 2021 Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award and Lecture by the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE).
Alvarez was recognized for “extraordinary accomplishments” in solving challenging water quality problems. Since joining Rice in 2004, Alvarez has pioneered research on environmental nanotechnology including the risks posed to microbial ecosystem services by released nanomaterials and nano-enabled disinfection and microbial control.
In 2018 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and according to Google Scholar, Alvarez’s publications have been cited more than 33,676 times and his h-index is 83. A native of Nicaragua, Alvarez received his Ph.D. in environmental engineering in 1992 from the University of Michigan. He joined the Rice faculty in 2004 and served as department chair from 2005 to 2015.
Alvarez is a Fellow and former president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, and an associate editor of the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology. In 2012, he was awarded the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for “excellence in water research” by the National Water Research Institute.
He is a Fellow of ASCE, the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences, International Water Association and the Water Environment Federation.
The ASCE award is named after Simon W. Freese (1900-1990), a Texas-born civil engineer who specialized in hydraulic and sanitary (later called “environmental”) engineering. He designed some 100 municipal water and sewer systems in Texas, including Houston’s, and was responsible for more than 200 dam and reservoir projects.