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UW Professor Adidharma Wins Prestigious International Award

April 15, 2011
Hertanto Adidharma

Few United States-based professors garner attention from the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (IAPWS).

The short list now includes the University of Wyoming's Hertanto Adidharma, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

Adidharma recently won the IAPWS' Helmholtz Award, presented annually to a promising early-to-mid career scientist or engineer making significant contributions to, or defining new directions, in areas of the association's research.

"It was a big surprise. I didn't expect to win because there were only two past recipients from U.S. universities since 2000," says Adidharma, who joined the UW faculty in 2005. "I feel honored to receive the award, but it is an award that would not have been possible without the advice and encouragement from my mentors and colleagues in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department."

Adidharma joins Eric Luijten of the University of Illinois (2003) and Valeria Molinero of the California Institute of Technology (2005) as the only U.S. winners of the Helmholtz Award in the past 11 years. And, since 1999, only one U.S.-based scientist has won the IAPWS' other major accolade, the Gibbs Award.

The IAPWS is a non-profit group of national organizations with members or associate members in 18 countries who study the properties of water and steam, water and aqueous mixtures relevant to thermal power cycles and other industrial applications.

"Hertanto's award is a significant honor for himself, of course, but also for UW," says David M. Bagley, head of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. "I am delighted to serve a department with colleagues like Hertanto who clearly demonstrate the world-class capabilities of our UW faculty members."

A nomination letter to IAPWS, prepared by the department, outlines Adidharma's "seminal contributions to molecular physics and engineering of geologic and industrial aqueous electrolyte, ionic liquid, and hydrate systems, such as those relevant to oil, gas and CO² storage reservoirs," which open up new directions for water systems, with a tremendous impact potential for energy and environment, as well as his awards for educational accomplishments and examples of other synergistic activities and recognition.

Adidharma will receive his award at the IAPWS' annual meeting, Sept. 4-9 in the Czech Republic. As part of the conference, Adidharma will present to an international group of colleagues from faraway countries including Denmark, Germany, Japan and Russia.

The UW professor's research focuses is in the area of molecular and macromolecular thermodynamics applied to energy science and engineering.

"The products of my research include not only fundamental understanding and theories that underpin the behavior of complex fluids and solids, but also practical understanding and engineering models that are needed to design optimal recovery and separation strategies and develop new materials and processes," Adidharma says. "The research that is of particular interest to IAPWS is about the development of thermodynamic models describing the behavior of aqueous solutions of multiple salts or other charged molecules, such as ionic liquids, at elevated temperatures and pressures."

Adidharma is a graduate of the Surabaya Institute of Technology in Indonesia (B.S., '87) and Louisiana State University (Ph.D., '99).

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