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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hydrology prof. gets prestigious award

    Jim Shuttleworth
    Jim Shuttleworth

    Although UA professor Jim Shuttleworth said he was stunned to find out he was the International Hydrology Prize winner April 3, the recognition has been in the making for a long time.

    Shuttleworth, a professor of hydrology and water resources and director of the UA’s center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology in Riparian Areas is one of only five Americans who has won the award, commonly referred to as the “”Nobel Prize for hydrological science and engineering,”” in the 25 years it has been awarded.

    Shuttleworth said his interest in the environment stems from his childhood, because he grew up the son of farmer. However, after obtaining degrees and a doctorate in nuclear physics, Shuttleworth realized that he could directly affect the environment through hydrology.

    “”It came to me probably in my 20s,”” Shuttleworth said. “”(I realized) somebody has to try to address (environmental issues) in a more meaningful and understanding way.””

    Shuttleworth said the most consistent part of his work has been taking measurements and defining equations that describe how much water has evaporated back into the atmosphere, which allows scientists to predict weather and climate.

    However, Shuttleworth said that over the past decade, he’s found new interest incorporating the physical sciences with things like politics, law and economics, attempting to provide good advice about water management and the potential effects on the economy.

    Shuttleworth said he is beginning to get involved in the exciting new technology of satellites sponsored by NASA grants, which allow scientists to deduce information about precipitation, sun energy and vegetation in ways they never could before.

    “”The big thing that satellites can do is that they can see whole vast areas at any one point in time,”” Shuttleworth said.

    Shuttleworth said he hopes this award, which is a recognition of lifetime achievement, will contribute to the “”culture of excellence”” that he originally came to the UA in 1993 to be a part of.

    “”I chose the University of Arizona because it happens to have the best hydrological department in the nation, and possibly in the world,”” Shuttleworth said.

    Gary Woodard, associate director of SAHRA, said he sees the award as proof the field of hydrology is spreading and was excited and proud to learn that his colleague had won the award.

    Tom Maddock, hydrology and water resources department head, said he wasn’t surprised to learn about Shuttleworth’s recognition.

    “”The fact that he won was not really a surprise because he’s a very well-known and respected scientist,”” Maddock said. “”He’s been very significant in the field of hydrometeorology for some years.””

    Maddock said the prize also came at a good time because the hydrology department is currently trying to create a hydrometeorology degree UA students could select as early as fall 2007.

    Shuttleworth said at this point, he is most excited to bring his family from across the world to Paris to watch him receive the award in July.

    “”In fact, I’ve just been booking the hotels,”” Shuttleworth said.

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