PhD Natural Environmental Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Zurich; MSc Environmental Engineering, U. of Iowa (USA); BSc Civil Engineering, U. of Iowa (USA)
Prof Steven Banwart has an internationally recognised track record in reactive processes in soil and groundwater. He leads the U of Sheffield Cell-Mineral Research Centre (C-MRC) across 6 departments. C-MRC includes partners at the Universities of Bristol and Leeds and the British Geological Survey and international outreach through the Worldwide Universities Network.
C-MRC is a virtual research centre holding a grant portfolio of over £6M with approximately 20 academics, 17 PhD students and 13 researcher staff working at the interface between pure sciences and engineering application. Research is from molecular to field scale, with core themes of Biodegradation on Mineral Surfaces and Biological Weathering of Soil. This fundamental research is linked closely to engineering application through sister research groups at Sheffield, the Groundwater Protection and Restoration Group and the Pennine Water Group.
Activities and Distinctions
Over 100 publications in Science and Engineering literature
Co-author of most downloaded article, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
Author of a feature article in Environmental, Science and Technology (ES&T)
Author of a research communication in ES&T
Leads a NERC Consortium Grant on Biological Weathering of Soil
Leads a large EPSRC grant on Biodegradation on Mineral Surfaces
Funding with EPSRC, NERC, BBSRC, EC, Env. Agency and industry
Member of NERC and EPSRC peer-review colleges
External Examiner, MSc Geochemistry Programmes, U. Leeds
Plenary and invited lecturer to a number of international conferences
Co-organiser of EPSRC-NSF workshop on Bio-Soil Interactions (Boston, April 2007)
Member of Council, European Association of Geochemistry
Member of UK Nanotechnologies Environmental Risk Assessment Task
Engineering, much like other science, is a broad discipline which is often broken down into several sub-disciplines. These disciplines concern themselves with differing areas of engineering work. Although initially an engineer will usually be trained in a specific discipline, throughout an engineer's career the engineer may become multi-disciplined, having worked in several of the outlined areas. Engineering is often characterized as having four main branches:
Chemical engineering – The application of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering principles in order to carry out chemical processes on a commercial scale.
Civil engineering – The design and construction of public and private works, such as infrastructure (airports, roads, railways, water supply and treatment etc.), bridges, dams, and buildings.
Electrical engineering – The design and study of various electrical and electronic systems, such as electrical circuits, generators, motors, electromagnetic/electromechanical devices, electronic devices, electronic circuits, optical fibers, optoelectronic devices, computer systems, telecommunications, instrumentation, controls, and electronics.
Mechanical engineering – The design of physical or mechanical systems, such as power and energy systems, aerospace/aircraft products, weapon systems, transportation products engines, compressors, powertrains, kinematic chains, vacuum technology, and vibration isolation equipment.
Beyond these four, sources vary on other main branches. Historically, naval engineering and mining engineering were major branches. Modern fields sometimes included as major branches include aerospace, petroleum, systems, audio, software, architectural, biosystems, biomedical, industrial, materials and nuclear engineering.
New specialties sometimes combine with the traditional fields and form new branches - for example Earth Systems Engineering and Management involves a wide range of subject areas including anthropology, engineering, environmental science, ethics and philosophy. A new or emerging area of application will commonly be defined temporarily as a permutation or subset of existing disciplines; there is often gray area as to when a given sub-field becomes large and/or prominent enough to warrant classification as a new "branch." One key indicator of such emergence is when major universities start establishing departments and programs in the new field.
For each of these fields there exists considerable overlap, especially in the areas of the application of sciences to their disciplines such as physics, chemistry and mathematics.
Engineers apply mathematics and sciences such as physics to find suitable solutions to problems or to make improvements to the status quo. More than ever, engineers are now required to have knowledge of relevant sciences for their design projects. As a result, they may keep on learning new material throughout their career.
If multiple options exist, engineers weigh different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best matches the requirements. The crucial and unique task of the engineer is to identify, understand, and interpret the constraints on a design in order to produce a successful result. It is usually not enough to build a technically successful product; it must also meet further requirements.
Constraints may include available resources, physical, imaginative or technical limitations, flexibility for future modifications and additions, and other factors, such as requirements for cost, safety, marketability, productibility, and serviceability. By understanding the constraints, engineers derive specifications for the limits within which a viable object or system may be produced and operated.