The Prof. Satish Dhawan Young Engineer Award was conferred on K. Balakrishna, associate professor of geology, Department of Civil Engineering, Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Manipal, in Bangalore on Thursday.

A press release issued by Manipal University here on Friday stated that the award, instituted by the State government, comprised Rs 50,000, a citation and a memento.

Dr. Balakrishna was chosen for the award for his contribution and achievements in the area of earth sciences for 2011. He is the first one from MIT, Manipal University, to bag the award, established in 1996.

The award was presented by G. Padmanabhan, emeritus professor and former Director of IISc, Bangalore, at the Satish Dhawan Auditorium of the IISc.

Dr. Balakrishna has worked on the geochemistry of various Indian rivers to understand the weathering of rocks and its link to the earth’s long-term climate change.

Currently, he is working on the chemistry of the Nethravati and Swarna rivers to investigate the impact of anthropogenic pollution on the rivers and their ability for self-purification.

He has published 50 research articles in scientific journals of repute and in conference proceedings. He has got external research grants from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and the European Union through which he has developed a state-of-the-art research lab at MIT.

He is guiding five Ph. D and M. Tech students. He has published 25 popular science articles in Kannada newspapers and weeklies of Karnataka.