Distinguished Researcher Award - Spring 2006
The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member’s contribution to scholarship through the creation, expansion, and critique of knowledge. Jim Hendry, Professor of Hydrogeology in the Department of Geological Sciences, College of Arts and Science, is the recipient of the Spring 2006 award.
Hendry is world-renowned for pioneering insights and imaginative research with aquitards – near-impermeable underground layers that sandwich the water-rich aquifers providing water supplies across Canada and around the world. Clay-rich aquitards are also the material of choice to sequester the dangerous wastes of modern technological society – everything from PCBs to mine tailings and nuclear waste.
Despite their importance, aquitards are among the most difficult geological features to study and thus the least understood area in groundwater science. Hendry was the first to address this challenge and thus define the field. With more than 100 research papers in peer reviewed journals on the topic to date, his work is the most significant and comprehensive reference on aquitards in existence. This knowledge has conferred new methods for stewardship of Earth’s precious water resources.
Hendry achieved his B.Sc. in geology and M.Sc. in geochemistry in the 1970s from the University of Waterloo. He was awarded a PhD in hydrogeochemistry at the Universities of Waterloo and Alberta in 1984. For 10 years he was head of the Groundwater Section for Alberta Agriculture at the Lethbridge Research Centre before becoming director of research for the U.S. National Groundwater Association in 1988.
He returned to Canada in 1990 to lead the Groundwater and Contaminants Project at the National Hydrology Research Institute in Saskatoon. When Cameco donated a research chair to the University in 1994, an international peer-reviewed competition selected Hendry to fill it. This was leveraged into a Cameco-NSERC Industrial Research Chair, recently renewed for a third five-year term.
Hendry has developed courses on using isotopes to study groundwater contamination, contaminant transport, aqueous geochemistry, and aquifer analysis. He currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in aqueous and environmental geochemistry.
He has also contributed to numerous scholarly and outreach activities, including seminars on groundwater safety presented to the public. In the academic community, he has fostered strong collaborations within the University and outside partners, including Environment Canada and the National Research Council. A strong proponent of the Canadian Light Source, he has led several workshops on its use in geological research.
Hendry’s work has been selected for international awards, and resulted in a vibrant network of industrial and academic partners who seek his expertise. He was selected as the prestigious Darcy Lecturer in 2000, and over the next two years spoke at nearly 40 universities and research institutions in North America, Europe and Australia. In 2003 he was the recipient of the Hem Award for Excellence in Science and Engineering in Groundwater. His achievements and international stature contribute greatly to the reputation of this university and to the success of our students.