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Water Symposium Dedicated To Dr. Rob Bowman

SOCORRO, N.M. July 10, 2009 – The Water Resources Research Institute has announced that its annual symposium in Socorro will be dedicated to former New Mexico Tech professor Dr. Rob Bowman.

Dr. Rob Bowman -- 1950 - 2009

“Having this meeting in his memory is very appropriate,” fellow Tech hydrology professor Dr. Fred Phillips said. “It’s fair to say that he was one of New Mexico’s most widely respected hydrological experts. He devoted considerable portion of his professional life to researching the water resources and water concerns in the state of New Mexico.”

Bowman was instrumental in organizing the technical research symposium since the first such event in 2002. The symposium is the annual technical research event August 11, 2009, for hydrologists and water researchers around the state.

Bowman’s 20-year plus association with the Institute included serving as a principal investigator on several research projects, providing guidance to student recipients of the institute’s Student Research Grant Program, and serving on the technical research symposium committee.

Bowman leaves a legacy of scholarship, generosity, and support to the New Mexico water community as well as to hundreds of students who benefited from his teaching and mentoring.

In the past few months, Bowman was helping to organize a special session at this year’s symposium on water resources management modeling for New Mexico. The one-day symposium will be at Macey Center on the New Mexico Tech campus. Oral and poster presentations on a wide range of water-related topics will be presented.

Bowman lost a battle with cancer at the age of 58 on June 6, 2009. For nearly 20 years, he had been the heart and soul of the Earth and Environmental Science Department at Tech.

One of Bowman’s areas of focus was the use of natural zeolites for water treatment. Throughout the years Bowman employed surfactant-modified zeolites for the removal of volatile organics from produced water in the petroleum industry and for the in-situ removal of chlorinated solvents from contaminated groundwater. His research was not limited to zeolites, as he also had a great interest in the solute budget and groundwater-surface water interactions of the Rio Grande. He and his students focused on a wide range of applications from small-scale operations in rural, developing-country communities, to large-scale operations for industry and large municipal water systems.

Bowman had secured two patents and had two patents pending. In recent months, he had been working with a Seattle company to market his patented processes on a global scale. 

One of his crowning achievements was in 2006, when Bowman was invited to host the International Natural Zeolite Association’s quadrennial conference in 2006, a weeklong event that brought 150 people to New Mexico Tech from 30 countries.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich