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CCEE Department Head Dr. Morton Barlaz named AAAS fellow

Dr. Morton Barlaz

CCEE Department Head and Distinguished University Professor Dr. Morton Barlaz is among eight NC State faculty members who have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific society and publisher of the journal Science

Each year, the AAAS Council — the policymaking body of the society — elects members who have shown “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.” AAAS has been awarding fellowships since 1874. Fellows are nominated by their peers and undergo an extensive review process.

Barlaz was elected for “distinguished contributions to the field of environmental engineering, particularly for advancing understanding of solid waste engineering and related fundamental biological and chemical processes.”

Barlaz, who has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and has made hundreds of presentations all over the world, has been involved in research on various aspects of solid waste since 1983, including research on biological refuse decomposition, methane production, and the biodegradation of hazardous wastes in landfills. He has participated in two state-of-the-practice reviews of bioreactor landfills. His research forms the basis for much of the work done to assess the impact of landfills on methane emissions inventories. Barlaz is also recognized for his research on the use of life-cycle analysis to evaluate environmental emissions associated with alternate solid waste management strategies, and he was awarded a Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Most recently, he has been working on the processes that contribute to heat accumulation in landfills.

The 564 new AAAS fellows, including Barlaz, will be formally recognized in the journal Science in January. A virtual induction ceremony will be held on Feb. 19, 2022.

“I have deep respect for the role of AAAS in research and education and am honored to have been selected as a fellow by such a prestigious organization,” Barlaz says. “I am grateful to all of my student and faculty collaborators over the years who have allowed me to advance our collective understanding of solid waste engineering and management.”

Barlaz has been involved in research on various aspects of solid waste since 1983.

Other NC State faculty elected as AAAS fellows include Marc Cubeta, professor of plant pathology and associate director of the Center for Integrated Fungal Research; Karen Daniels, Distinguished Professor of Physics and University Faculty Scholar; Jason Delborne, professor of forestry and environmental resources and director of the science, technology and society program; Candace Haigler, professor of crop science and plant biology; Ayman Hawari, Distinguished University Professor of Nuclear Engineering and director of the nuclear reactor program; Shuijin Hu, professor of plant pathology; and Mary Watzin, professor of forestry and environmental resources.

NC State has the sixth-highest number of AAAS fellows of any university this year, alongside the University of California-Davis, the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University-St. Louis. Duke University has five new fellows, while the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has four.

“AAAS is proud to honor these individuals who represent the kind of forward thinking the scientific enterprise needs, while also inspiring hope for what can be achieved in the future,” said Dr. Sudip S. Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals, in a release.


Portions of this story were originally published by NC State News.