Monash Provost receives prestigious hydrology medal

Monash University

Monash University Provost and Senior Vice-President, Professor Marc Parlange, has been awarded the 2020 American Meteorological Society’s Hydrological Sciences Medal.

This achievement sees Professor Parlange, also a Professor of Civil Engineering at Monash, inducted as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society – an honour bestowed upon just 1,223 people across the world.

Recognising the excellence of a career spent researching atmospheric dynamics across urban, alpine and agricultural landscapes, Professor Parlange credits the generosity of his friends and colleagues for the honour.

“It’s a great recognition of the efforts of our team, especially our students and my faculty collaborators,” Professor Parlange said.

“We’ve tried to do things differently in our research over the years, and this Medal is an acknowledgement that we haven’t walked the path that others normally do.”

Acting to protect and preserve the environment is fundamental to his work, along with an appreciation of the technical and mathematical tools available to solve problems.

A new multi-telescope scanner, Raman LIDAR, to measure water vapour in the atmospheric boundary layer, and a Large Eddy Simulation he believes is faithful to the physics governing the exchange between the atmosphere and land, are two such tools he’s developed from scratch across his career, emphasising the many “very smart and creative students and colleagues” who took part in their development.

“My research helps to understand the practicalities of atmospheric dynamics, which are helpful if you’re designing cities and coastal environments, or if you’re a farmer deciding how to best use limited water resources,” Professor Parlange said.

“It also allows me to do experiments, simulations and theory, drawing on all the tools available to find the right answers.”

Monash President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, says Professor Parlange’s agenda to foster deeper, more focused engagement across disciplines is instrumental to the University’s endeavour to deliver impact for community benefit.

“The most significant challenges facing the world today cannot be solved by a single field of expertise or by a single institution. Complex challenges demand solutions that are interdisciplinary and collaborative,” Professor Gardner said.

“By defining our core areas for interdisciplinary collaboration, Professor Parlange has identified the key levers Monash can utilise to help solve those most pressing challenges.

“Professor Parlange has always demonstrated genuine collegiality in his endeavour to foster that collaboration – a collegiality that is greatly valued by his peers in the academic community, and invaluable for the success of our research agenda.”

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Elizabeth Croft, warmly congratulated Professor Parlange on receiving the Hydrological Sciences Medal.

“Marc’s world-leading work in boundary layer hydrology, and leadership in global research collaborations, has contributed significantly to sustainable agricultural practices, urban design and, fundamentally, to our understanding of the thin layer of the atmosphere in which we all live,” Professor Croft said.

As Provost, Professor Parlange leads all 10 faculties at Monash University, in collaboration with the development of the University’s four key areas of future research – AI & Data Science, Better Governance & Policy, Health Sciences and Sustainable Development. All four are intended to further research collaboration in integrated, multidisciplinary ways to achieve the ultimate impact.

“We do excellent fundamental research, and working with all the Deans to unite and integrate our findings across the four key areas will lead to greater opportunities for Monash to make change,” Professor Parlange said.

/Public Release.