University of Delaware Environmental Soil Chemistry Members In The News


Cooperative Extension

University of Delaware

College of Agricultural Sciences



Plant and Soil Sciences
152 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19717

PH: (302) 831-2532

FAX: (302) 831-0605



November 1994

Department Chair Lauded by Soil Science Society

Congratulations and honors awaited Dr. Donald L. Sparks at the annual conference of the Soil Science Society of America, held in Seattle Wash., Nov. 13-17. Sparks was awarded the Soil Science Research Award. This award is based on demonstration of unusual creativity, excellence in reasoning ability and or technical skill, and originality and significance of research to basic soil science. Only 15 years into his career, Sparks is one of the youngest recipients of the award. Sparks, distinguished professor of soil science and chair of the department of plant and soil sciences, has pursued research in physical chemistry of soils that is highly recognized nationally and internationally. He pioneered research on the kinetics of soil chemical processes. Using kinetic methods that he developed, Sparks also has made substantive contributions in understanding the chemistry of potassium in soils and in elucidating mechanisms of metal and organic chemical interactions with soil components using in situ spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. Sparks credits a supportive research environment with his success. "The supportive environment from administrators and colleagues in the college and the university has been an important part of my career at the University of Delaware," he says. "Support for my early research on kinetics of soil chemical reactions came from a UDRF grant. Continued support has come from local industry, particularly the DuPont Company, through the University of Delaware Research Partnership program. The Unidel Foundation has funded the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment that has been invaluable in helping us to execute some novel research on contaminant interactions in natural environments. "This is the most prestigious research award given by the Soil Science Society of America," he adds. "In accepting this fine honor, I must acknowledge the superb group of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scientists, and colleagues in academe and industry with whom I have had the privilege to collaborate." Sparks is the author of Kinetics of Soil Chemical Reactions a standard reference in the field. He is the editor of Soil Physical Chemistry, a book that is used extensively by researchers and students. Sparks recently completed a new text book Environmental Soil Chemistry that will be published by Academic Press in 1995. He is the editor of 10 other books and author of 25 book chapters and more than 80 refereed papers. Dr. Sparks has served as technical editor of the "Soil Science Society of America Journal," serves as editor of "Advances in Agronomy," the most prestigious serial review in the crop and soil sciences, and "Geoderma," and is a member of the editorial boards of "Soil Science" and "Trends in Soil Science." Dr. Sparks has received many other honors including Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy; recipient of the F.D. Chester Distinguished Performance Award from the College of Agricultural Sciences, Research Award of the Northeastern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy and the M. L. and Chrystie M. Jackson Soil Science Award for the Soil Science Society of America.


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