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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 14, 2004

Photos (from top): Walter Illman, assistant professor in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Geoscience and the College of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an assistant research engineer at the Iowa Institute of Hydrolic Research (IIHR); Anton Kruger, an associate research engineer at the IIHR.

Illman Receives $427,959 NSF Grant For Subsurface Imaging

Walter Illman, assistant professor in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Geoscience and the College of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has received a $427,959, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help scientists better see beneath the Earth's surface.

Illman, who is also an assistant research engineer at IIHR -- Hydroscience & Engineering -- will combine existing methods of charting subsurface geology with information technology to produce more detailed descriptions. The information is useful to scientists engaged in a variety of activities including nuclear waste disposal, energy and mineral exploration as well as extraction, and management of water resources. Illman, who will serve as project director, will be joined by IIHR colleague Anton Kruger and researchers from Ohio State University, Rutgers University and the University of Arizona.

Describing his work, Illman said, "The combination of existing characterization approaches using the stochastic fusion algorithm and advanced information technology can lead to a new level of capability for both hydrologists and geophysicists enabling them to 'see into the earth' at greater depths and resolutions than is possible today. Furthermore, the new computing strategies will make high resolution and large-scale hydrological and geophysical modeling feasible for the private sector, scientists and engineers who are unable to access supercomputers, i.e., an effective paradigm for technology transfer."

Illman's main research interest -- fractured rock hydrogeology -- involves the prediction of flow and transport in fractured geologic media under various conditions. His current study of the hydrology of glacial deposits at a site near the UI may provide new information on the migration of agricultural chemicals in such deposits. Such information would be useful because the widespread nature of chemical application makes remediation of soils and subsurface materials very difficult.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu.