Ashok Gadgil

Ashok Gadgil

Dr. Gadgil is a retired Senior Faculty Scientist, and formerly the co-lead for the Water-Energy initiative for the Energy Technologies Area at LBNL. He has a Ph.D. in physics from University of California, Berkeley. His expertise ranges from computational fluid dynamics of indoor air and pollutant flows, simulation of entry and transport of indoor radon, building energy efficiency, and methods to treat drinking water to make it potable. He has more than 135 refereed archival journal papers, 120 conference papers, and several patents. His work has won national and international recognition with several prestigious honors and awards. He held a concurrent appointment on the UC Berkeley Campus as Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Contact Information

Phone: 510-486-4651


2023 R&D 100 Award: R&D Leader of the Year -  August 29th 2023

Ashok Gadgil receives the R&D Leader of the Year Award for his more than 30 years of dedication to creating technological innovations for safe drinking water, clean air, sustainable energy, and reduced child mortality. His work has benefited the health and dignity of low-resource communities throughout the years. In addition to his innovative work, he has worked tirelessly to implement his solutions nationally and internationally. Throughout his career, he has mentored numerous students, directed a national laboratory research division, led a binational clean water-energy technology research organization, directed a university development impact lab, and developed and taught courses at UC Berkeley.

2022 Zuckerberg Water Prize -  April 15th 2022

Professor Ashok Gadgil is the recipient of the inaugural Zuckerberg Water Prize for 2022. The award committee cites his outstanding leadership, vision, innovation, and lasting global impact in the field of water. The prize is established by Roy Zuckerberg, Senior Director of Goldman Sachs.

More about the prize:

Honorable Mention: 2020 Patents for Humanity -  November 3rd 2020

The Warming Indicator, a phase-change material temperature indicator that improves the Infant Warmer's functionality and safety, was recently recognized with an honorable mention in the 2020 Patents for Humanity awards. The Infant Warmer is a low-cost, convenient, re-usable, and non-electric wrap-around pad that maintains a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the average human core temperature) for approximately six hours for a newborn infant. Both technologies are being licensed to a non-profit for scale up in Africa.

2016 R&D 100 Award: Sustainable and Affordable Fluoride Removal (SAFR) -  November 9th 2016

A team led by Ashok Gadgil developed Sustainable and Affordable Fluoride Removal (SAFR), which uses mildly processed bauxite, an aluminum-rich ore available ubiquitously worldwide, as an adsorbent for remediating field-relevant fluoride concentrations in groundwater to reach the 1.5 milligrams-per-liter limit established by the World Health Organization as safe for drinking.

Because SAFR eliminates the costly and wasteful processing involved in refining bauxite into higher-end products for fluoride removal, it is a more sustainable method that also has lower energy costs and lower carbon emissions.

R&D Magazine’s annual R&D 100 Awards recognize the top 100 technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research. For more information on the awards, see the links below.

Leo Szilard Lectureship Award by the American Physical Society -  January 1st 2015

Award recognizes application of physics for the benefit of humanity. Citation states "For applying physics to a variety of social problems and developing sustainable energy, evnironmental and public health technologies, as well as demostrating how these could be scaled up, thus contributing to improved life for millions."

2015 American Physical Society Szilard Award -  October 8th 2014

The American Physical Society has awarded Ashok Gadgil the 2015 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award. Gadgil is the Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Family Foundation Distinguished Chair of Safe Water and Sanitation, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

The award citation reads: “For applying physics to a variety of social problems and developing sustainable energy, environmental and public health technologies, as well as demonstrating how these could be scaled up, thus contributing to improved life for millions.”

The Society established the Award to recognize outstanding accomplishments by physicists in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society in such areas as the environment, arms control, and science policy. It was established in 1974 by the APS’s Forum on Physics and Society as a memorial to Leo Szilard in recognition of his concern for the social consequences of science. The award was later expanded to a lectureship format to promote awareness of the application of physics to social problems and to increase the visibility of those engaged in such activities.

University of California Berkeley International House Alumnus of the Year -  April 4th 2014

International House at UC Berkeley—one of the largest multi-national residential and programming cultural centers in the world—will honor philanthropist Wendy Schmidt and inventor Dr. Ashok Gadgil as Alumni of the Year 2014 at a gala celebration Thursday, April 10th, in its historic east bay facility.

National Inventors Hall of Fame -  March 4th 2014

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has named EETD Division Director Ashok Gadgil a member of its 2014 Class of Inductees. The NIHF Inductee list includes inventors who have made extraordinary contributions to their respective fields, and in many cases, changed the world forever.

Gadgil was cited for "Innovative solutions for providing clean water in the world’s developing nations,"— the citation refers to the UV Waterworks device, and inexpensive device to disinfect drinking water.

2013 Tech Award -  November 15th 2013

The Darfur Stoves Project, now managed by the non-profit organization Potential Energy, originated as an effort at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop fuel-efficient stoves. These stoves reduced the need for women in the Darfur camps to forage for wood, where they were exposed to violence. Learn more at the link below. The project’s efforts are now expanding to other regions.

The Tech Awards are presented by the Tech Museum of Innovation, Santa Clara California. These awards honor laureates from around the world for their efforts to use technology to benefit humanity. Tech Awards laureates are individuals, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. The technology they use is either a new invention or an innovative use of an existing technology.

Election to Membership, National Academy of Engineering -  February 25th 2013

"For engineering solutions to the problems of potable water and energy in underdeveloped nations." National Academy of Engineering citation

5th Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, Creativity Prize -  October 8th 2012

The award citation noted that Gadgil received his recognition for “research [relating to] one of the greatest problems currently facing the water supply: the arsenic contamination of groundwater.” The citation continues: “The Creativity Prize is being awarded to Dr. Ashok Gadgil’s team at UC Berkley for developing an economical and effective way to treat arsenic contamination and restore the groundwater supply to potability for millions of poor people around the globe. Together, these achievements promise to save countless lives.”

Affiliations: Susan Addy and Case van Genuchten, UC Berkeley; Professor Joyashree Roy from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India; and Ashok Gadgil and Robert Kostecki from EETD/Berkeley Lab.

2012 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation -  May 2nd 2012

The Lemelson-MIT Program awarded Ashok Gadgil the 2012 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation in recognition of his steady pursuit to blend research, invention, and humanitarianism for broad social impact. Gadgil is the Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

Lifetime Achievement Award of the Zayed Future Energy Prize -  January 17th 2012

For his pioneering efforts in the U.S. in the field of sustainable invention, including development of such inventions as the Darfur stove and other fuel-efficient cookstoves, and the UV Waterworks for energy-efficiently disinfecting drinking water.

European Inventor Award 2011: Non-European Countries -  May 19th 2011

For UV Waterworks, an innovative portable water purification device based on ultraviolet light.

Olympus Innovation Award -  March 28th 2011

The Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award recognizes "faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained contribution throughout their careers to stimulating and inspiring innovative thinking in students in their own universities and throughout academia."

Sustainability Pioneer Award, Sustainability Asset Management Group -  January 25th 2010

This award "acknowledges an outstanding individual working within or in close cooperation with the private sector, whose innovativeness represents a milestone in the promotion and implementation of sustainability principles in the business world."

Heinz Awards -  September 15th 2009

For his work as a researcher, inventor and humanitarian.

United Nations Association—USA (East Bay) Global Citizen Award -  October 22nd 2007

For work in developing a low-cost method of purifying water, and especially for individual efforts to ensure that his invention is in place and functioning to provide potable water to those in need, thereby saving lives and improving the quality of life of the beneficiaries.

<em>Popular Mechanics</em> Magazine Breakthrough Award -  October 1st 2007
Chancellor's Awards for Public Service 2006/07 -  April 20th 2007

Ashok Gadgil has received the Faculty Service-Learning Leadership Award of the Chancellor's Awards for Public Service 2006/07, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Modern-Day Leonardo -  May 12th 2006

In conjunction with the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry's tribute to Leonardo da Vinci and his inventions.

Public Works Magazine's Trendsetter -  November 15th 2005

Public Works magazine has named EETD scientist Ashok Gadgil as one of its 2005 Trendsetters in its November cover story. "The 2005 Trendsetters list, which recognizes the most influential, high impact leaders in the public works community, includes those who have defined policy, brought their community or an issue into the spotlight, or set the standard within the industry." Gadgil was cited for his work to develop inexpensive methods to make drinking water safer in developing countries (UV Waterworks to kill pathogens, and ARUBA, a chemical medium for removing arsenic).

Tech Museum Award -  November 10th 2004

The Tech Museum of Innovation, located in San Jose, honors "those who leverage new and existing technologies to benefit humanity."

Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer -  May 5th 2004

For the entry "Minimizing Casualties from a Chem/Bio Attack: Preparation, Training, and Response Resources."

World Technology Network Individual Category for Energy Award -  November 11th 2002
American Physical Society, Fellowship Award -  June 17th 2001

For outstanding work modeling air and pollutant transport inside buildings, analyzing energy issues in developing countries, and developing "UV" Waterworks for inexpensively disinfecting drinking water in such countries.

Federal Laboratory Consortium Award, Excellence in Technology Transfer -  January 10th 2000

For Transferring the UV Waterworks to the Commercial Sector.

Discover Magazine Award for Technological Innovation (In the environment category) -  June 10th 1996

For UV Waterworks, an ultraviolet-based water purification system.

Best of What's New Award, Popular Science Magazine -  May 14th 1996

For UV Waterworks, an ultraviolet-based water purification system.

PEW Charitable Trust Award -  October 14th 1991

For work promoting energy efficiency in developing countries.

Journal and Editorial Board Memberships

Annual Reviews of Environment and Resources, Co-editor in Chief
Development Engineering, Co-Editor in Chief