Professor Lee Slater (left) and colleagues

Earth & Environmental Sciences' Lee Slater to Be Awarded Prestigious AGU Fellowship

Henry Rutgers University Professor Lee Slater (pictured left, above), of RU-N’s Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences (EES), will be honored this week as a 2018 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, D.C.

Slater is one of 62 scientists from around the globe being fêted at AGU’s Fall Meeting on December 12 for his exceptional achievements, leadership, talent, and dedication to his field, which is near-surface geophysics and hydrogeophysics.

“This AGU fellowship is the greatest honor of my career,” says Slater. “I am indebted to those who considered me worthy of this honor and who put in the hard work of creating a competitive nomination package on my behalf.”

Slater came to RU-N in 2002 and has held several leadership posts within EES, including graduate program director and chairperson.

He is an internationally recognized expert in his field and has published extensively, including 143 papers in peer-reviewed international journals of hydrogeology and geophysics.

This award is especially meaningful...I take great pride in being a member of the faculty at Rutgers University–Newark.

In his research, he uses geophysical imaging methods to investigate the structure and processes occurring in the shallow subsurface of the earth commonly referred to as the “critical zone,” a living, breathing, constantly evolving boundary layer where rock, soil, water, air and living organisms (including humans) interact.

Such imaging allows geophysicists to examine groundwater resources and pollution issues, interactions of rivers and streams with groundwater, and the exchange of carbon gasses (e.g., methane) from the earth's subsurface to the atmosphere.

The “critical zone” has important implications regarding natural resources, agriculture, food-safety, and the general impact we have on the environment.

Slater has served as principal investigator on research and technology projects funded many federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy and Agriculture, the National Parks Service, and the National Science Foundation.

One such project involves research for the Department of Agriculture in southern Maryland, where chicken manure used as fertilizer at large poultry operations is running into areas of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Slater and a team of EES researchers have been working with the federal agency to solve the problem.

He has also served in prominent leadership roles in the academic geophysical community, including Chair of the Near Surface Geophysics Focus Group of AGU, Chair of the AGU Hydrogeophysics Technical Committee, and President of the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society (EEGS).

Professor Lee SlaterSlater currently serves as Associate Editor of Water Resources Research (WRR) and recently edited a new volume on Near Surface Geophysics for the Elsevier Major International Reference series. He has served on multiple advisory boards for large interdisciplinary hydrogeological research projects in Europe and was the recipient of the 2013 Harold B. Mooney award of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG). His numerous PhD graduates have mostly gone onto academic positions and are now making their own contributions to advancing research in hydrogeophysics.

“Lee is one of the most productive people I know and is one of the best in the country in environmental geophysics,” says EES Distinguished Service Professor Alec Gates. “He arranges research better than anyone I’ve ever known and publishes 11 to 16 papers a year, which is amazing. This award is well deserved.”

Each year since 1962, AGU has elected as Fellows members whose visionary leadership and scientific excellence have fundamentally advanced research in their respective fields. AGU’s worldwide membership of 60,000 people spans 137 countries, with most coming from the U.S., Western Europe and Asia. Members work for universities, research institutions, and federal, state and local government agencies, as well as corporations and non-profit organizations.

“This award is especially meaningful since, AGU is the organization outside Rutgers-Newark that I consider my academic home,” says Slater. “And over the last 16 years I have gained much of my motivation and inspiration from working with a remarkably talented, hard-working and collegial group of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students that have come through our campus. I take great pride in being a member of the faculty at Rutgers University–Newark.”