Wilford R. Gardner

University of California, Berkeley

October 19, 1925 - May 20, 2011

Scientific Discipline: Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Membership Type:
Emeritus (elected 1983)

Wilford R. Gardner’s research focused on the physical and chemical properties of soil and of soil-plant relationships. Through the application of physical theory he used neutron scattering to accurately measure soil water used by plant communities and to deduce the nature of solute attraction between soil and plants. In addition, he analyzed solute leaching from plant root zones, made the first measurements that showed a correlation between soil water status and plant water availability for cell division, and made precise measurements of vapor pressure and internal water interactions in plant leaves.

Gardner earned his BS from Utah State University in 1949 and attended Iowa State University where he earned his MS in 1951 and his PhD in 1953. He was a physicist at the USDA Salinity Laboratory until 1966 when he became a professor of soil science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1980 he was appointed head of the Soils, Water and Engineering department at the University of Arizona. He served on many national and international committees in soil science and hydrology including; the International Soil Science Society of America where he served as president from 1968 to 1974 and many environmental committees at the National Academy of Sciences.

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