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Thanos Papanicolaou

Thanos Papanicolaou

Professor, Henry Goodrich Chair of Excellence


Growing up in the “Midwest” of Greece on my family farm, I was exposed to the diverse landscapes of my homeland from mountains and gravel-bed rivers to the fertile valleys and the sea coast. However, I also witnessed first-hand the different interactions that we humans must have with our environment to sustain our livelihood. All these sights have shaped who I am as a researcher and a teacher.

First off, after graduating from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece in 1990, I briefly worked as a Field Engineer for the Themeliodomi Engineering Company in Greece, where my primary responsibilities involved working with wastewater treatment. In 1997, after graduating from Virginia Tech, I received a faculty appointment with the Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University. From there I was able to expand my research from the more traditional studies of flow and sediment transport to topics focusing on landscape processes, hydraulic infrastructure, and instrumentation. In 2003, I joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and IIHR – Hydroscience & Engineering team at the University of Iowa, where I continued to investigate a wide range of hydraulic and environmental issues.

Over my tenure in academics, I have taught several undergraduate and graduate level courses on soil mechanics, fluid mechanics, river mechanics, alluvial channel hydraulics, open channel flow, fate and transport of contaminated sediment, watershed and sedimentation dynamics. I believe that students must have a working knowledge of the fundamental principles behind the processes that shape our world today. Using these fundamentals, students can solve any real world problems they face. To demonstrate this fact, I implement the wealth of knowledge I gained from my studies and my time as a research engineer. Many of my students have gone on to receive faculty positions, as well as work in governmental agencies and consulting firms, both here and overseas.


PhD, Civil and Environmental Eng., Virginia Tech (VPI&SU), Blacksburg, VA, 1997
MS, Civil and Environmental Eng., Virginia Tech (VPI&SU), Blacksburg, VA, 1993
BS, Civil Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, 1990

Professional Service

Chief Editor of the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE

Associate Editor of Water Resources Research, AGU

Associate Editorial Board of the Journal of Sediment Research (IJSR), Elsevier

Previous editorial duties have included the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation and the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, as well as a Co-Editor of special issues and monographs, including the ASCE Monograph on Dam Removal.

I am also a member of several professional societies (American Geophysical Union, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Resources Association, Soil and Water Conservation Society, International Commission on Large Dams, International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers) and have served as a consultant to the Bonneville Power Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (Hudson River Study), and the United States Army Corps of Engineers-Engineer Research and Development Center.

Thanos Papanicolaou

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