Phillip Barak

Phillip Barak
PhD, Soil Science, 1988
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Department of Soil Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1525 Observatory Dr., Madison, WI 53706-1299

Director of Information Technology and Computing (Mar 2012 - current)
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
216G Agricultural Hall
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Interim Information Technology Director (Mar 2010 - Feb 2012)
      College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Interim Assistant Dean (Oct 2006 - May 2007)
      Undergraduate Programs & Services
      College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
      University of Wisconsin-Madison

Chair, Information Technology Committee (Sep 2006 - Jun 2010)
      University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professional Soil Scientist, licensed, State of Wisconsin

Tel: 608 809-0689
Fax: 608 265-2595

Barak, 2015

Of current interest:
My current research activities relate to nutrient recovery from wastewater, including phosphorus removal from wastewater treatment plants in the form of brushite, a largely neglected phosphorus fertilizer. Coverage of this activity is to be found at: 'Second Life for Phosphorus', 'Second Life for Phosphorus - Interview', 'Business will implement new phosphorus recycling process in Midwest' and 'New Solution Reduces Phosphorus Pollution and Helps Farmers'. My most recent push is for nitrogen and potassium recovery from anaerobic digests of various kinds by electrodialysis. Because these projects have an applied and commercial aspect to them, I have worked closely with WARF, the intellectual property holder of the Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, and the campus Conflict of Interest Cmte; Nutrient Recovery & Upcycling (NRU), LLC, has been set up to patent and commercialize intellectual property from the Barak Lab.
Also of interest:
'Causes of impermeability in a local bioretention pond' A report on the effect of road salts from a parking lot washing into retention ponds constructed to remediate the runoff and the resulting impermeability due to sodicity. This is a classic case of the importance of exchangeable sodium percentage and electrolyte level, with the greatest impermeability caused when the salt level is low, only not in semi-arid areas prone to sodicity and salinity problems but the American North Central setting. Results of two capstone projects at the UW-Madison.
'Fertility, fertilizers and food: in defense of Haber' A 50-minute lecture describing soil fertility and the wise use of fertilizers for food production to feed the current and growing human population, including the revolutionary consequences of synthetic nitrogen fixation. A response to the characterization of Justus von Liebig and Fritz Haber in Michael Pollan's 'In Defense of Food' and part of the UW-Madison Agroecology Fall 2009 Lecture Series and GoBigRead.
Report on struvite crystallization in wastewater treatment plants for nutrient recovery in UW publications: Grow (CALS glossy), Wisconsin Week (official UW newspaper), and University Communications news release and associated photos.

struvite formed under Langmuir monolayerStruvite crystallization on Langmuir monolayers, self-assembled monolayers, and cation exchange membranes as a means to recover and recycle phosphorus from wastewater (municipal sewage and agricultural manure) as a high-value fertilizer material (US Patent No. 7,182,872; issued 27 Feb 2007.)

M.L. Jackson's Soil Chemical Analysis: Advanced Course has been rekeyed from the last (1985) edition and reprinted, with a new introduction and commemorative material. See GoogleBookSearch for sample pages and here for ordering information.

polyhedral model kit Experiments with ICE's Polyhedral Model Kit, remanufacturing connectors for more precise assembly of aluminosilicates.

Scientific American 2003 Sci/Tech Web Awards selected The Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules as a WINNER of the 2003 Sci/Tech Web Awards. "Each year, our editors review over a thousand web sites and select the 50 they deem the most innovative, creative and valuable as science and technology resources for our readers. This year your web site has been selected as one of the best of its kind."

College press release, "Acid Linked To Soil Aging", 3 Mar 1999

EDUCAUSE Medal EDUCAUSE/ASA Medal Award, 26 Oct 1999

Other webpages of interest:

The Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules: Jmol models of minerals and molecules of interest to soil science and related fields.

Plant Nutrition Management: Course Web pages

Research interests:

Soil chemistry of plant nutrients, plant nutrition, and scientific visualization. My current interest is largely nutrient recovery from wastewater and this is the thrust of my current research projects. Previous projects include:


Older publications.

Barak's Virtual Poster Gallery

Courses Taught:

Graduate Students:

  • Leslie Sherman (PhD): Completed degree, 17 Apr 1997
  • Kang Xia (PhD; Dr. Philip Helmke, coadvisor): Completed degree, Nov 1996
  • Babou Jobe (MSc): Completed degree, 18 Jan 1996
  • Gulden Zont (MSc): Completed degree, Aug 1997
  • Mauricio Avila (PhD) Completed MSc degree, May 1999
  • DD Levine (MSc) Completed MSc degree, June 2000
  • Jim Lyne (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Aug 2002
  • Mauricio Avila (PhD) Completed PhD degree, May 2004
  • Juli Meyer (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Aug 2004
  • Merin Abraham (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Aug 2008
  • Amanda Boyce (MSc) Completed MSc degree, Aug 2010
  • JoonHe Lee (MSc; Dr. Mark Powell, coadvisor) Completed MSc degree, Apr 2012
  • Tyler Anderson (MSc)Completed MSc degree, Aug 2015
  • Dustin Sawyer (MSc)
  • Amanda Jensen (MSc)
  • Donnie Vineyard (PhD)
  • Laura Bybee (MSc)
kavod talmid

Link to Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Last modified 16 Dec 2016 by Phillip Barak.