Biologist lauded for achievement

Posted: February 06, 2002

Ruth Patrick, 94, a Philadelphia biologist who has researched the effects of water pollution for more than 60 years, will receive a lifetime achievement medal from the Heinz Family Foundation.

The foundation, established by Pennsylvania Sen. John Heinz in 1984, is to announce the award today.

Patrick is currently the Francis Boyer Chair of Limnology (the study of bodies of fresh water) at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Among her early successes 50 years ago were studies that quantified the ability of tidal wetlands to absorb pollutants, thereby acting as natural wastewater-treatment plants.

"I hope that the longevity of my career inspires other women to become scientists," Patrick said in a statement, "and to work toward sustainable development for our planet, whose resources are precious and irretrievable."

Tom Avril's e-mail address is tavril@phillynews.com.

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