ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute honors distinguished expert in water resources engineering

Panayiotis “Panos” Diplas, P.C. Rossin Professor of Water Resources Engineering in Lehigh University’s P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, has been named as the recipient of the 2021 Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Award. The award is presented annually by the Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions to hydraulics and waterways.

Diplas was recognized for “fundamental contributions to the role of turbulence in sediment transport, ecohydraulics, stream restoration and scour.” The EWRI is a branch of ASCE that seeks to advance water resources and environmental solutions.

Over the course of his distinguished career, Diplas has focused his research on river mechanics and sediment transport, scour around bridge piers and other hydraulic structures, stream restoration, wetland hydrodynamics, watershed management, sustainable development, and marine hydrokinetic energy generation.

He will present the Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Lecture at the 2021 EWRI World Environmental & Water Resources Congress, which will be held virtually, June 7-11, 2021. The award, which is noted as one of the ASCE’s most prestigious recognitions, is named in honor of the late Hunter Rouse, a pioneer in modern engineering hydraulics and fluid mechanics. The lecture is traditionally published in the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, the flagship ASCE journal for research in this field.

Diplas joined the Rossin College faculty in 2013 as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2013, and served in that capacity until 2020. During that time, he led the renovation and expansion of Lehigh’s Imbt Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory. 

Earlier in his career, he spent 25 years teaching at Virginia Tech, where he founded the Baker Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory (1999) and served as its director for 14 years.

Diplas is a Fellow of ASCE (2018) and the EWRI (2015). His work has been recognized by a number of awards, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) Young Investigator Award and ASCE’s Hans Albert Einstein Award and Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize.

Additionally, he has received several other recognitions for his teaching, including a certificate of teaching excellence. During the spring semester of 2007 he was the J.S. Brown Intertec Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota.

Diplas has served on the editorial board of many journals and chaired several EWRI and ASCE technical committees. He has published widely and his work has been cited extensively. He has given invited and keynote presentations at many universities and conferences in countries around the world.

He earned a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1986 and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering of the University of Iowa.