BioB.S. Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1983M.S. Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1984Ph.D. Civil Engineering, Princeton University, 1992
"My research brings innovative household-level water-treatment technologies to the developing world."James A. Smith, Henry L. Kinnier Professor of Civil Engineering
James A. Smith is an environmental engineer holding the Henry L. Kinnier Chair of Civil Engineering in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment at the University of Virginia. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1983 and 1984, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Princeton University in 1992.
He worked as a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey from 1985 to 1992. In 1992, he accepted his current position as a faculty member in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Virginia.
Mr. Smith has served as the UPS Foundation Visiting Professor of Environmental Engineering at Stanford University (1998-99) and as the William R. Kenan Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University (2004-05). At the University of Virginia, he has been the recipient of the Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award (1997) and has held the Cavalier’s Distinguished Teaching Chair (2000-02). He was selected to receive the AEESP/McGraw Hill Outstanding Teaching Award in 2002. In 2017, he was selected as a Fulbright Research Fellow and conducted research during Fall 2017 in Limpopo Province, South Africa at the University of Venda.
Mr. Smith is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is the founder of PureMadi, a not-for-profit organization working to solve global water and health problems by working at the interface of water, societal, and human health disciplines. He is also a member of the Water and Health in Limpopo (WHIL) program in collaboration with the University of Venda in Thohoyandou, South Africa.
Mr. Smith is the inventor of the MadiDrop, a silver-embedded porous ceramic tablet for purification of household drinking water. He is the co-founder of MadiDrop Public Benefit Company (PBC) based in Charlottesville, VA. MadiDrop PBC is currently producing and selling MadiDrops around the world to improve water quality, human health, and quality of life.
His research interests include sustainable point-of-use water treatment technologies for the developing world and their impact on human health, the disinfection properties of zero-valent nano-silver and nano-copper particles, organic vapor transport in the vadose zone, low-impact development (LID) teachnologies for stormwater runoff, the fate and transport of emerging environmental pollutants, the engineering properties of organoclays, and bacterial transport and chemotaxis in porous media.