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Research on water resources earns ASU engineer top award

portrait of ASU professor Larry Mays
March 19, 2014

Larry Mays, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Arizona State University, will receive the Julian Hinds Award for his unparalleled research on water resources and hydrosystems.

Mays is a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He began his academic career at the University of Texas at Austin, where he stayed for 13 years, followed by 25 years at ASU.

The Julian Hinds Award, presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), recognizes notable performance, long years of distinguished service or specific actions that advance engineering in the field of planning, development and management of water resources. It is the highest honor for water resources planning and systems analysis researchers in ASCE.

The award citation, from the society’s Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI), states that Mays is being recognized “for his research on water resources and hydrosystems engineering, addressing optimization and risk/reliability analysis for their design, management and operation, and his authoritative text and reference books that have had worldwide impact.”

Mays will receive the award in June, during the EWRI Congress in Portland, Ore., where he will also deliver the Julian Hinds Lecture.

Mays was nominated by Kevin E. Lansey, head of the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering.

“(Mays') research on risk methods and, although now commonplace, linking simulation and optimization tools were groundbreaking in the late 1980s,” Lansey wrote. “He provided a basis for risk-based hydraulic design. Many of these concepts are now incorporated in the Corps of Engineers risk-based design approach.”

Lansey also wrote that graduate student mentoring has been a major focus of Mays’ career, and that he had supervised to completion 31 doctoral students.

Mays has been the author, co-author or editor-in-chief of 23 books. His text and reference books are used around the world.

Mays is a fellow of ASCE, and also a fellow of the International Water Resources Association. He has been a representative to the Universities Council on Water Resources, and has served as a member and president of the council’s Board of Directors. Among his other honors, he received a distinguished alumnus award from the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois.

He is an avid photographer of ancient water systems around the world, and has published on this topic. His interests also include alpine skiing, fly fishing, scuba diving, and welding and woodworking projects.

Written by Mayank Prasad