On Monday, October 22nd, SAFL was honored to celebrate 50 years of the Lorenz G. Straub award. Established by friends, family, and colleagues of SAFL founder and first director Lorenz Straub, the award looks to identify the most meritorious thesis of a calendar year in hydraulic engineering, ecohydrology, geophysical fluid dynamics, or related fields. The competition is international, and nominations may be made by any recognized civil and environmental engineering program in the world.
This year we celebrated award recipient Conrad Wasko for his 2016 PhD dissertation titled "Continuous Rainfall Simulation in a Warmer Climate," completed at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia. His research included investigating the effects of warmer temperatures on design rainfall patterns, finding that temporal and spatial patterns of rainfall intensifies with higher temperatures. This leads to increased flooding in urban environments, but surprisingly, not necessarily rural catchments. Dr. Wasko was advised by Ashish Sharma, Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNSW, who called Dr. Wasko's work "the clearest assessment yet of how increasing temperatures are changing design flood extremes."
Lian Shen, Director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, started the ceremony by welcoming the guests and giving the audience a brief introduction to the history of the lab and the achievements of Dr. Straub. Mos Kaveh, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, presented the award to Dr. Wasko. The award presentation was then followed by a distinguished lecture from invited speaker Rafael Bras, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs as well as Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and K. Harrison Brown Family Chair in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Bras' keynote presentation, titled "The Era of Data Rich Hydrology," spoke to the proliferation of data collection in hydrology and how so much data can lead to new challenges that must be addressed by incorporating broad understanding of how physical systems work.
SAFL was excited to host many special guests for the ceremony, including UMN Regent Michael Hsu, incoming UMN VP of Research Chris Cramer, Dean Mos Kaveh, as well as several members (and generations) of the extended Straub family. Thank you to all who participated and congratulations once again to Dr. Wasko for this momentous achievement!
See pictures from the event below.