Congratulations to HAS Assistant Professor Bo Guo, recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his work in microscale processes controlling field-scale transport of surface-active contaminants in soil and groundwater.
Guo stated, "The project goals are to advance the fundamental understanding of the thin-film-mediated retention and mass-transfer processes for surface-active contaminants in vadose zones and to develop a cross-scale framework that incorporates this new information to improve macroscopic transport models. The research will combine thin-film theory, experimental image characterization, and multiscale modeling approaches. The methodological approaches to differentiate the thin-film and bulk capillary air–water interfaces in soils will potentially transform how hydrologists conceptualize the movement of surface-active contaminants in vadose zones."
"By unraveling the fundamental mechanisms governing these complex interactions, the project will improve the predictive tools used to assess the contamination risks for human-made chemicals such as the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS, resulting in more effective cleanup strategies."
An important component of the NSF CAREER award is educational outreach. Guo will partner with the University of Arizona’s cooperative-extension Arizona Project WET for Water Education, a STEM teacher in a Tucson public school, and a College of Education professor. Together, the project education team will develop, test, and formalize a fully inquiry-based educational program that involves hands-on experiences in building and using physical and digital models for deepening understanding and problem solving.
This educational program will be available to all high schools in Arizona through the existing infrastructure of Arizona Project WET supported by Tucson Water and the Arizona Department of Water Resources and will use groundwater PFAS contamination as a vehicle to provide high school teachers with innovative curriculum tools and training to advance high-school students’ model-thinking skills: deepening understanding by building and manipulating simplified representations of the world.
The NSF CAREER Award (Faculty Early Career Development Program) is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.