Established in 1998 by various donors in memory of Abel Wolman

Image Credit: Ferdinand Hamburger Jr. Archives, Johns Hopkins University, Milton S. Eisenhower Library ABEL WOLMAN, A&S 1913, Engr 1915, one of Hopkins' first engineering graduates, became a world-renowned water treatment expert whose career in civil engineering spanned more than 70 years. From 1914 to 1939 he was an engineer for the Maryland Health Department, for several years serving as chief engineer. He joined the Hopkins faculty in 1920 and, beginning in 1937, served full time in both the schools of Engineering and of Public Health. Dr. Wolman retired from teaching in 1962, but continued to work full time for more than 20 years, consulting with engineers and health organizations worldwide. Although he was the major architect of Baltimore's water system, Dr. Wolman's greatest interest was the environmental well-being of people in developing nations. By his late 80s, he had been to Geneva for the World Health Organization 40 times, had helped build water treatment systems in 40 countries, and had authored four books and hundreds of articles.

A member of the National Academies of Engineering and Science, Dr. Wolman was honored in 1960 with the Lasker Award for his "engineering skill and organizational genius," which had done so much to improve the health of millions. In 1969, the university awarded him an honorary degree. Dr. Wolman, who died in 1989 at the age of 96, was named Marylander of the Century by the Baltimore Sun in 1999.


EDWARD J. BOUWER, the Abel Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering, joined the Hopkins faculty in 1985 and has been chairman of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering since 2007. His research interests encompass factors that influence biotransformation of contaminants, bioremediation for control of contaminated soils and groundwaters, biofilm kinetics, biological processes design in wastewater, industrial, and drinking water treatment, and transport and fate of micro-organisms in porous media. Dr. Bouwer is director of the newly formed Johns Hopkins Center for Contaminant Transport, Fate, and Remediation, established to study the effects of contamination in Maryland's urban environments and make these findings known and understood by public officials, groups, and the media. His research provides guidance on defining and managing environmental risks and how to interpret human and ecological health risk data. Dr. Bouwer is the recent co-author of a book titled, The Illusion of Certainty: Health Benefits and Risks, which explains the principles of calculating basic epidemiologic risk estimates and offers a way of delivering health information by an easy-to-understand graphic. The book puts the complexities of risk analysis in terms general readers can identify with, empowering them to make well-informed decisions.