TORONTO, ON – University of Toronto geochemist Barbara Sherwood Lollar has been awarded the ENI Award for Protection of the Environment. The award will be presented on June 15th in Rome by the President of the Italian Republic, and includes a gold medal specially made by the Italian state mint.
Sherwood Lollar leads a research group that found an effective way to monitor the clean-up of contaminated groundwater. The discovery is that naturally occurring isotopes of carbon, when measured in groundwater samples, can provide dramatic indication of whether or not the transformation of dangerous pollutants, such as dry cleaning fluids and petroleum hydrocarbons, is occurring. Such transformation is essential to break these contaminants down into more benign end products. Sherwood Lollar’s technique has been widely disseminated and is the subject of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidance white paper for groundwater management.
Sherwood Lollar is a University Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences (formerly the Department of Geology), director of the Stable Isotope Laboratory and Canada Research Chair in Isotopes of the Earth and Environment. She is a world leader in the innovative use of compound specific stable isotope techniques, aimed to track the source and fate of organic contaminants in groundwater and to investigate the source and fate of CO2 in sedimentary basins and natural carbon sequestration settings. In this area of her research, Sherwood Lollar’s research group collaborates extensively with industrial partners, consultants and regulators in both Canada and the United States.
Her work also addresses the identification of subsurface gases, such as methane and hydrogen, in deep groundwater in the oldest rocks on Earth, as well as investigation of biogeochemical cycling by deep subsurface microbial communities. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, has received numerous awards and honours including a Steacie Fellowship and Accelerator Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and a Killam Fellowship from the Canada Council. Time magazine named her as one of 25 leaders for the 21st century.
“On behalf of the University of Toronto research community, congratulations to Professor Sherwood Lollar,” said Professor Peter Lewis, associate vice president, research at U of T. “Given her tremendous excellence and innovation in environmental research over the past number of years, she is most deserving of this high honour. We are most thankful to the ENI review panel for recognizing Barbara’s leadership.”
The ENI Awards, established in 2007, aim to encourage the improved use of energy sources and recognize outstanding research and innovation in areas concerning the environmental impact of human activities, specifically protection and restoration of the environment. The award’s scientific review panel consists of 24 members including Nobel Laureates and scientists from leading centres worldwide including Stanford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of Parma, Universite de Versailles, Cornell and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Over the years, 63 researchers have been awarded, from 10 countries, including three Nobel laureates. ENI is an integrated energy company, committed to growth in research, manufacturing, transporting, transforming and marketing oil and natural gas.
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