SAFL Directors

Fotis Sotiropoulos (2006-2015)
Under Sotiropoulos, the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) is continuing to expand into new interdisciplinary research areas with strong emphasis on problems at the intersection of fluid mechanics, biology, and ecology. New research initiatives are underway in stream restoration, wind energy, marine and hydrokinetic energy, algal-based biofuels, and medical devices. In 2006, the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior was added as the third affiliated department. In 2010, the Eolos Wind Energy Research Consortium was established at SAFL with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The long awaited renovation of the laboratory is also underway, funded by NSF and the State of Minnesota. The renovation will upgrade the building infrastructure and establish SAFL as a shared national research facility in the energy/environment nexus.

Efi Foufoula-Georgiou (1999-2003)
Foufoula-Georgiou further refined SAFL's new research direction to include hydrometeorology and modelling expertise in stochastic processes. She led the facility as the vision of bringing a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center to the laboratory became a reality.  In 2002, the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED) was founded, with SAFL serving as the headquarters and key experimental facility for this ten-year national effort to bring a more quantitative and predictive understanding to earth-surface processes.

Gary Parker (1995-1999 and interim 2004-2005)
During Parker's tenure, SAFL emphasized broader participation with University of Minnesota researchers across many fields, adding faculty with expertise in sedimentology, fluvial geomorphology, eco-biological fluid dynamics, and atmospheric boundary layer turbulence. In 1996, the Department of Geology and Geophysics was added as the second affiliated department, and a few years later, SAFL's groundbreaking facility for the study of experimental stratigraphy, the XES basin, was brought online. Parker led SAFL faculty in identifying funding sources to bring national attention to the Laboratory's evolving role in interdisciplinary fluid mechanics research.

Roger Arndt (1977-1993)
Under Arndt, SAFL placed an emphasis on integration of education and research. New faculty brought expertise in computational fluid dynamics, hydroacoustics, aeroacoustics, cavitation, water resources and energy, wind engineering research, hydropower development, geomorphology, and more. Diverse funding came from the U.S. Navy, NSF, NASA, Department of Energy, and several other agencies, and SAFL’s boundary layer wind tunnel addition was completed.

Edward Silberman (1963-1974)
Silberman’s research in boundary layers and cavitation opened new research directions as the Laboratory matured. During Silberman’s tenure, SAFL expanded into naval hydrodynamics research and areas such as stratified flows, turbulence, and hydrology. Funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) made much of this growth possible. During this time, both the Laboratory and Silberman himself were very pivotal in the founding of the American Water Resources Association in 1965, with Silberman serving as President in 1969. SAFL housed the Association’s headquarters from 1974 to 1982.

Lorenz Straub (1938-1963)
Creating the St. Anthony Falls Hydraulic Laboratory was the focal point of Straub’s career. Through his efforts and the cooperation of federal, state, municipal, and private agencies, work started on the Laboratory in 1936 and was completed in 1938. As an expert in river hydraulics, his counsel was sought all over the world. Through his career, Straub was associated with some of the world’s largest water resource and hydroelectric development programs as engineer consultant, and the Laboratory conducted model studies of many of them. These included projects in El Salvador, Columbia, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, East and West Pakistan, the Phillipines, and Canada. He also supported work related to the Aswan Dam in Egypt, the U.S.-Canadian tidal power study, and a number of dams in the United States, including two on the Columbia River.