Engineering Departments

Panos Diplas receives institute’s Einstein and Hilgard Awards for 2012


Panos Diplas
Blacksburg, VA , February 06, 2012
Virginia Tech College of Engineering

Panos Diplas, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, is the 2012 recipient of the Hans Albert Einstein Award, presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also a member of a team receiving the 2012 Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize, presented by the same society.

Diplas’ Einstein honor is the result of “his significant contributions in river and sediment transport, macroscopic relations for bed load transport, riverbed sediment sampling, self-formed channels, ecohydraulics, and the microscopic study of sediment transport and its relation to turbulence,” according to the award citation.

Diplas will receive this award at the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress in May, 2012 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Hans Albert Einstein, the son of Albert Einstein, became a civil engineer, and his 1936 doctoral thesis is considered the definitive work on sedimentation transportation. In 1988 the American Society of Civil Engineers created the Hans Albert Einstein Award posthumously to recognize the outstanding achievements of this former professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hilgard, a Swiss hydraulician, created the Hilgard Award in 1939 with an endowment he left to the society. The award is presented annually to authors of a paper judged to be the best on a problem dealing with flowing water.

Diplas co-authored the winning paper, “Turbulent Flow through Idealized Emergent Vegetation” in the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. His co-authors were Thorsten Stoesser, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Tech, and Su Jin Kim, a doctoral candidate. This award will be presented at the same conference.

Diplas is the founding director of Virginia Tech’s Baker Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory. This is a state-o-the-art facility with the latest equipment and instrumentation for the study of a wide range of environmental topics including, river mechanics and morphology, scour around bridge piers and other hydraulic structures, stream restoration, wetland hydrodynamics, ecological hydraulics, floods and other extreme events, and marine hydrokinetic energy production.

In 1992, Diplas received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, in 1993 he was awarded a Certificate of Teaching Excellence by the College of Engineering, and during spring of 2007 he was the J.S. Braun Intertec Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota. He has published about 150 refereed papers with 63 of them appearing in some of the leading journals in the profession, including Science, and 10 more as book chapters. His total number of publications is approximately 300. He has given many invited and keynote presentations at conferences held in the U.S. and 12 other countries.

The National Science Foundation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Office of Naval Research, U.S. Geological Survey, Dominion Power, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Virginia Uranium support Diplas’ research. The total amount of external research funding that he has directed or co-directed is nearly $5.1 million.

Recently, Diplas served as guest editor for the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering’s special issue “River Flow Hydrodynamics:  Physical and Ecological Aspects” published in December 2010. He is a member of the editorial board of four journals and the scientific advisory committee of four international conferences


Lynn Nystrom
(540) 231-4371