Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Marty Goolsby ()
Communications and External Relations


McCarthy addresses scientific workshops in Switzerland

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 19, 1995 — John F. McCarthy, a senior research scientist in the Environmental Sciences Division at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), gave keynote addresses and served as session chair for two meetings of the Workshop on Colloids in Groundwater in Geneva, Switzerland, on Oct. 20-21.

The meetings were organized by the Swiss National Research Foundation in Geneva and attended by scientists from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, the U.S. and Switzerland. Discussion focused on understanding conditions in groundwater that will generate colloidal, or submicron-sized, particles that can adsorb radioactive contaminants, and whether these colloids might allow the contaminants to seep into the surrounding environment.

McCarthy had coordinated a basic research program on groundwater colloids for DOE for a number of years and is conducting research on the role of colloids on the migration of metals and radionuclides in groundwater at DOE facilities in Oak Ridge.

Understanding the colloidal role in contaminant mobility is crucial to determining waste management and remediation needs around the globe and devising strategies to prevent the further spread of contaminants through groundwater.

"Failure to account for this mode of transport can lead to serious underestimates of the distances that contaminants will migrate," states an article written by McCarthy and a colleague and published in Environmental Science and Technology.

McCarthy earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from Fordham University in 1969 and a doctorate in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island in 1975. From 1976 to 1979 he worked as a postdoctoral investigator with the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

In addition to his work at ORNL, McCarthy is a faculty associate in the graduate program in ecology at UT and a member of the United Nations Environmental Program's scientific advisory committee for the marine mammal action program. McCarthy, a native of New York, lives with his family in Loudon.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.