Ian C. Bourg

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the High Meadows Environmental Institute
Office Phone
E208 Engineering Quad

B.Eng., Chemical Engineering, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, Toulouse, 1999; Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2004


Honors and Awards

  • NSF CAREER Award, US National Science Foundation, 2018
  • Winner, DOE Life at the Frontiers of Energy Research Video Competition, 2011
  • Joseph Dias & Eugene Henry Doctoral Fellowships, CEE Department, UC Berkeley, 2000, 2002
  • Doctoral Fellowship, French Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste. 1999 - 2002
  • Leonardo Scholarship, European Union, 1999


  • Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Associate Professor, High Meadows Environmental Institute
  • Associated Faculty, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
  • Associated Faculty, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Associated Faculty, Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering
  • Associated Faculty, Princeton Materials Institute

Research Interests

Interfaces between liquid water and other phases (minerals, air, carbon-rich fluids, living organisms) are ubiquitous in terrestrial natural environments. Surface chemistry and mass fluxes at these interfaces play key roles in influencing a broad range of environmental phenomena including contaminant fate and transport, metal biogeochemical cycling, multiphase flow in porous media, cloud nucleation, sediment transport, water treatment processes, and soil carbon dynamics. Our research aims to gain fundamental insight into the properties of liquid water at interfaces using state-of-the-art atomistic-level simulations, macroscopic scale models, and laboratory experiments in order to improve existing representations of key environmental processes. Current projects are focused particularly on understanding water and solute chemistry and mass fluxes in clayey media (soils, sediments, engineered clay barriers, shales) in conditions relevant to geologic carbon sequestration, waste isolation, soil carbon storage, and soil remediation.

Selected Publications
  1. Lee S.S., Koishi A., Bourg I.C., Fenter P. Ion correlations drive charge overscreening and heterogeneous nucleation at solid-aqueous electrolyte interfaces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, e2105154118 (2021).
  2. Kleber M., Bourg I.C., Coward E.K., Hansel C.M., Myneni S.C.B., Nunan N. Dynamic interactions at the mineral-organic matter interface. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment 2, 402-421 (2021).
  3. Carrillo F.J., Bourg I.C. Modeling multiphase flow within and around deformable porous materials: A Darcy-Brinkman-Biot approach. Water Resources Research 57, e2020WR028734 (2021).
  4. Yang J.Q., Zhang X., Bourg I.C., Stone H.A. 4D imaging reveals mechanisms of clay-carbon protection and release. Nature Communications 12, 622 (2021).
  5. Willemsen J.A.R., Bourg I.C. Molecular dynamics simulation of the adsorption of perand polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) on smectite clay. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 585, 337-346 (2021).
  6. Shen X., Bourg I.C. Molecular dynamics simulations of the colloidal interaction between smectite clay nanoparticles in liquid water. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 584, 610-621 (2021).
  7. Sun E.W.-H., Bourg I.C. Molecular dynamics simulations of mineral wettability by water vs CO2: thin films, contact angles, and capillary pressure in a silica nanopore. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 124, 25382-25395 (2020).
  8. Underwood T.R., Bourg I.C. Large-scale molecular dynamics simulation of the dehydration of a suspension of smectite clay nanoparticles. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 124, 3702-3714 (2020).