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James E. Atwater

James E. Atwater (born September 22, 1946) is a retired North American multidisciplinary physical scientist with training in geophysics, chemistry and biological science. He was awarded the Wright Brothers Medal for his work on microwave powered methods for microbial stabilization and water recovery from solid waste. Atwater served in the United States Marine Corps [1963-1967] prior to attending the University of Utah [1968-1975] and University at Albany [1975].

In his early career [1977-1980] Atwater concentrated on methods and instrumentation for identification and quantification of radionuclides associated with uranium exploration and recovery by gamma ray and alpha particle energy spectrometry. Subsequently, [1980-1987] he applied radiometric geophysical well logging techniques to the characterization of sandstone, limestone, dolomite and shale core samples. At this time he also refined methods for the determination of porosity and permeability of unconsolidated bitumen and heavy oil bearing sands. Later Atwater's attention turned to problems of long-term human presence in space, working on regenerable systems for water and air purification, and means for decomposition and stabilization of solid waste materials and recovery of useful resources therefrom.

During these years Atwater and colleagues also developed novel sensors and analytical instrumentation for monitoring and control of life support systems. In addition to instrumentation and methods, much of this work entailed the development of novel materials and the characterization of material properties, particularly with respect to magnetic and broadband microwave dielectric phenomena. Recent research includes the study of multiphase immiscible fluid flow in porous media, and the recovery of hydrogen from methane (natural gas) using magnetically stabilized fluidized bed and microwave plasma reactors. Though in retirement, Atwater continues his association with former colleagues, providing theoretical analysis of experimental data, and preparation of materials for publication.

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