Groundbreaking Groundwater Research

Dr. Chunmiao Zheng

From the August 2014 Desktop News | Dr. Chunmiao Zheng never imagined that his alma mater would name him a distinguished alumnus nearly 30 years after he received his doctorate, yet he received such an honor this year.

Zheng, the George Lindahl III Endowed Professor of Hydrology in the Department of Geological Sciences, received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his alma mater, for a highly original and influential textbook and software that have transformed the groundwater consulting industry. He started working on a code for simulating contaminant transport in groundwater while at Wisconsin, and the landmark code has been a boon to researchers, according to the award announcement.

“I felt greatly honored to be recognized by my alma mater, 30 years after I first started as a graduate student at the university,” Zheng said. “While I received two prestigious awards from professional societies in 2013, the recognition by my former professors and fellow students felt especially personal.  I was also very humbled to join an illustrious list of alumni who have made distinguished contributions to science and society.”

Zheng holds a joint appointment as chair professor and director of the Center for Water Research at Peking University in Beijing, China. He is the developer of the MT3D/MT3DMS series of contaminant transport models, an international standard used in more than 100 countries. He also is the author or co-author of more than 150 papers and five books, including Applied Contaminant Transport Modeling published by Wiley.

He has received numerous awards, including the 2013 O. E. Meinzer Award from the Geological Society of America, which is considered the highest distinction for a hydrogeologist internationally, and the M. King Hubbert Award from the National Groundwater Association recognizing major contributions in science and engineering to the groundwater industry.

In addition to his research, Zheng also has served broadly as a consultant on all aspects of groundwater hydrology and contamination issues for federal and state agencies and private sector companies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, the American chemical company DuPont, the multinational corporation Danone, and the South Florida Water Management District. He received his bachelor’s degree in geology from Chengdu University of Technology in China.