News Release

Addressing the water problem

UChicago, Argonne, and UCLA researchers highlight advances in water research, sensing and treatment in the new three-volume reference work

Book Announcement

World Scientific

The World Scientific Reference of Water Science (In 3 Volumes)

image: Cover of "The World Scientific Reference of Water Science (In 3 Volumes)" view more 

Credit: World Scientific

Water is an indispensable resource for our society. However, there is a limited supply of renewable freshwater across the globe and there is no substitute. Global population and economic growth, urbanization, and climate change further exacerbate the increasing stress on freshwater supplies. A critical strategy for addressing the present global water challenge is to efficiently treat and desalinate water to enable recycling, reclamation, and reuse of wastewater. Smart sensors can improve the safety of drinking water supplies by providing early warning of contamination, save energy and protect the environment by monitoring the water quality before and after a water treatment process for precision dosing of energy and chemicals, and enable fit-for-purpose water treatment to facilitate water reuse.

The World Scientific Reference of Water Science (In 3 Volumes) covers the latest scientific advancements and solutions in managing and treating water as a crucial resource. The first volume, Volume 1: Molecular Engineering of Water Sensors, introduces the state-of-the-art water sensing research based on molecular engineering and technologies, including field-effect transistors, optical fibers, electrochemical technologies, surface acoustic-wave technologies, DNA and aptamer-based technologies, microfluidic technologies, and smart phone-based technologies. The second volume, Volume 2: Nanotechnology for Water Treatment and Water Interfaces, presents emerging nanotechnology-based water treatment research. Key water remediation technologies covered include adsorption, membrane filtration (e.g., microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, and reverse osmosis), capacitive deionization, and catalytic degradation, along with methods to minimize scaling and fouling. The third volume, Volume 3: Current Status and New Technologies in Water Desalination, highlights recent advances in water desalination technologies, such as coagulation and flocculation, membrane filtration, membrane distillation, and electrodialysis.

“Many places in the world are experiencing the water scarcity. The ongoing climate change and the growing global economy are key drivers for expansion of the water crisis to many parts of our world,” says Prof Matthew Tirrell, editor-in-chief of the multi-volume work. “Water reuse is the fundamental approach to address our global water challenge. We need cost-effective sensors and energy-efficient water treatment technologies to enable a higher rate of water reuse, more intelligent fit-for-purpose water systems, and thus a more sustainable future.”

Contributed by leading experts in water sensing and water treatment from around the world, including USA, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Hongkong, India, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, and UAE, this reference set is a valuable resource not only for veteran researchers but also for undergraduate students and graduate students who are entering the exciting field of water research.

The World Scientific Reference of Water Science (In 3 Volumes) retails for US$1490 / £1190 (per hardcover set) and is also available in electronic formats. To order or know more about the book, visit


About the Editors

Matthew Tirrell is the Dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and the Robert A Millikan Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Before becoming dean in 2011, Dr Tirrell served as the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and as Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical Engineering and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Prior to that, he was Dean of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara for 10 years.

Dr Tirrell began his academic career at the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering and later became head of the department. He also served as Deputy Laboratory Director for Science at Argonne National Laboratory, where he was responsible for integrating the laboratory's research and development efforts and science and technology capabilities.

Dr Tirrell is a pioneering researcher in the fields of biomolecular engineering and nanotechnology, specializing in the manipulation and measurement of the surface properties of polymers, which are materials that consist of long, flexible chain molecules. His work combines microscopic measurements of intermolecular forces with the creation of new structures. His work has provided new insight into the properties of polymers, especially surface phenomena such as adhesion, friction, and biocompatibility, and new materials based on the self-assembly of synthetic and bioinspired materials. Dr Tirrell has received many honors, including the Polymer Physics Prize by the American Physical Society and election to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Junhong Chen is currently the Crown Family Professor in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. He is also Lead Water Strategist, Senior Scientist and Science Leader for Argonne in Chicago at Argonne National Laboratory. Prior to coming to Chicago, Dr Chen served as a Program Director for the Engineering Research Centers (ERC) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and as a Co-Chair of the NSF-wide ERC Working Group to design the ERC Planning Grants program and the Gen-4 ERC program. As a representative of NSF's Engineering Directorate, Dr Chen also served on the NSF-wide Working Groups for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the NSF Research Traineeship programs. Prior to joining NSF in May 2017, he was a Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering and an Excellence in Engineering Faculty Fellow in Nanotechnology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), and he was a Regent Scholar of the University of Wisconsin System. He also served as Director of UWM's NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center on Water Equipment & Policy for six years. He founded NanoAffix Science, LLC to commercialize real-time water sensors based on two-dimensional nanomaterials.

Dr Chen received his PhD in mechanical engineering from University of Minnesota in 2002, and he was a postdoctoral scholar in chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology from 2002 to 2003. His current research focuses on nanomaterial innovation for energy and environmental sustainability, including real-time sensors for detection of water contaminants. Dr Chen has published more than 260 journal papers and has been listed as a highly cited researcher (top 1%) in the materials science or cross-field category by Clarivate Analytics over the last four years. Dr Chen's research has led to nine patents, five pending patents, and thirteen licensing agreements. He is a pioneer in technology commercialization through exemplary industrial partnerships and his university start-up company. Dr Chen is an elected fellow of both the National Academy of Inventors and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His start-up company, NanoAffix, is a recipient of the 2016 Wisconsin Innovation Award.

Dr Yoram Cohen is a Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Faculty member of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (1981–present). He is Faculty Affiliate of the California NanoSystems Institute, and Associate Faculty with the UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. Dr Cohen is also Adjunct Professor at Ben-Gurion University (Department of Desalination & Water Treatment, Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research). He was a Visiting Professor at the Technion (1987–1988), at Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain 1994), and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Victoria University (Australia 2006). Dr Cohen is Director of the Water Technology Research (WaTeR), and co-founder of the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN, 2008–2021) that received the 2012 California Governor's Award in Green Chemistry. He received the Clarence (Larry) G. Gerhold Award (2019) and Lawrence K Cecil Award (2003) from the AIChE Separations Division and Environmental Division, respectively, and was elected AIChE Fellow (2009) and Fellow of the North American Membrane Society (2022). In 2008 he received the Ann C Rosenfield Community Partnership Prize for his environmental research, a County of Los Angeles Commendation, a State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition, and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition (US) for his contribution to legislation to protect public health and dedicated service to the community. Dr Cohen is a recognized expert and technology innovator in water treatment/purification and desalination, membrane separations, environmental impact assessment, toxicity modeling, machine learning and nanoinformatics, with over 270 scholarly publications, five edited books, over 470 conference presentations and 190 invited talks. He is on the Editorial Boards of several Scientific Journals including Desalination, Scientific Data, Water Reuse (IWA Journal) , Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, Water, and Journal of Water Treatment and Desalination. His research has contributed to the development and deployment of advanced flexible, self-adaptive and energy optimal water desalination systems, new membranes and monitoring technology for membrane fouling, mineral scaling and membrane integrity, in addition to models and software for environmental multimedia impact assessment, nanoinformatics and machine learning models of the toxicity of chemicals and engineered nanomaterials. He is also engaged in environmental protection efforts, water reuse, and development of safe drinking water supplies for disadvantaged communities.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading international independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation and US National Academies Press to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. The company publishes about 600 books and over 160 journals in various fields annually. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

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