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Yakov A. Pachepsky

Yakov A. Pachepsky
Yakov A. Pachepsky

The 2018 Philippe Duchaufour Medal is awarded to Yakov A. Pachepsky for outstanding research in the field of soil hydraulic properties and the fate of pathogens in soils, which greatly influenced the development of soil science.

Yakov Pachepsky is internationally recognised for his great contributions to soil science within a consistent framework that involved fundamental studies based on the first principals in physics and soil physics, field and laboratory scale experiments related to characterisation soil hydraulic properties and the fate of pathogens in soils. He has improved our understanding of soil hydraulic parameters and the ability of pore space properties to improve the prediction capacity of pedotransfer functions.

Pachepsky has developed pathways and novel concepts on how to better integrate and better relate structural properties to soil hydraulic properties. His outstanding work is extensive and includes pioneering developments of methods and concepts to simulate the transport of water and ions in soils as affected by soil chemical and physical heterogeneities and chemical reactions. This research determined the effects of scale on water flow and solute transport parameters and processes, and research of manure-borne bacteria transport in soils and runoff by suggesting and proving that manure colloids can facilitate this transport.

Pachepsky has made outstanding contributions to soil science using neural networks and artificial intelligence to go from easily measured soil survey information to the water retention function of unsaturated soils. His research is now frequently used by others for other areas of research, including the devising farming management support systems for optimising plant water use and minimising environmental effects from cultivated land. He advanced this important approach further by using fractal geometry to quantify structural changes in soils and to improve prediction of soil hydraulic properties.

His contributions to the field of soil physics and soil sciences have been recognised by the Soil Science Society of America who awarded him the Don and Betty Kirkham Award. He has also been elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, and the American Society for Advancement of Science.