Lorenz G. Straub Award

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History of the Straub award

An Excerpt from The St. Anthony Falls Hydraulic Laboratory - The First Fifty Years, by Mary H. Marsh

Shortly after Straub's death, a Lorenz G. Straub Fund was established at the University to create a suitable memorial for Straub's professional contributions. Over $18,000 has been contributed to the Memorial Fund by over 100 individuals and organizations in amounts ranging from $5 to $2,500. The establishment of the Lorenz G. Straub Award to be supported by this fund was announced at the dedication of the Lorenz G. Straub Memorial Library within St. Anthony Falls Laboratory by Edward Silberman. The award, made annually, is for the author of an especially meritorious dissertation in the area of hydraulic engineering or a closely related area. In reflection of Straub's world-wide professional activities, recipients can be from any school throughout the world, which has an appropriate graduate degree program. The award consists of a medal and an honorarium. Inititally, both M.S. and Ph.D. theses could be submitted, but after the first two awards were made, the competition was limited to Ph.D. dissertations. Over 200 dissertations were submitted in the first 20 years after the award was established. Two-thirds of these were submitted from schools in the United States, and the other third came from universities in India, seven countries in Europe, and from Canada and Australia. Because the number of dissertations in some years was quite substantial, in 1980 submissions were limited to one per university.

The Straub Award is presented annually at a special colloquium held at the laboratory. The first award was presented in 1966. For the first 5 years, the featured speaker was the recipient, who provided a research summary. In 1971, the Straub Lecture was added as a part of the Colloquium. The lectures are given by invited guests who are outstanding in their fields.

When the Straub Award was established, it was recognized that it was unique in its nature. In the years of its existence, it has come to be widely recognized professionally and has accrued much honor to its recipients.

Two of the award holders joined the faculty at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory some years after receiving it. They are Roger E. A. Arndt and Peter Kitanidis. Roger Arndt remains as a Professor Emeritus at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, and Peter Kitanidis is now a Professor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology at Stanford University in California.

The dissertations submitted for consideration for the Straub Award are reviewed by an Award Selection Committee. This committee consists of one or two members from the University of Minnesota, and two other members considered outstanding in their field from other universities. The members of the committee usually serve for three-year terms.

Nomination Guidelines and Rules

Each year, nominations are sought for exceptional dissertations officially accepted by their respective universities between January 1 through December 31 of the previous year. 

  • The dissertation should be at the Ph.D. level and must represent original work of the writer as a part of a graduate degree program. The dissertation must be in English.
  • Nominations for the award may originate from any school in the world offering a recognized graduate degree program in the area of hydraulic engineering, ecohydraulics or related fields.
  • Nominations must be submitted by the graduate student's department head. Only one dissertation should be submitted from each University. Please consult with heads of other departments that may have produced eligible dissertations. The submission of the dissertation will be considered an endorsement of its significant merit by the department faculty and the institution. A brief statement by the advisor providing biographical information and extent of the writer's original contribution to the work should accompany the dissertation.
  • Dissertations officially accepted by the nominees' Graduate School between January 1 – December 31, 2023 will be considered. The dissertation must be submitted to the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory by May 31st, 2024.
  • In the event that no submission is judged to be outstanding, no award will be given.
  • The recipient of the award will be expected to participate in a special colloquium at the University of Minnesota. The recipient will receive a medal and a $500 award.

How to Submit a Nomination

Compile the following necessary submission components:

  1. Nominated dissertation
  2. Nomination letter from department head on institutional letterhead
  3. A reference from the advisor that includes the extent of the writer's original contribution and his or her biographical information.

Submit the dissertation via email to SAFaward@umn.edu with “Straub Award Nomination” as the subject:

  1. Attach PDF files of the dissertation, nomination letter and advisor's reference
  2. Or provide a link to the downloadable PDF files of the submission for consideration

Note: Email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses must be current and clear so that the nominating department head and advisor can be contacted.

If you are interested in being added to our mailing list to receive the call for nominations, please send your contact information to SAFaward@umn.edu. Please use the subject heading "Straub Award Mailing List."

Previous Straub award recipients

The Lorenz G. Straub award for a particular year is typically presented about two years after the research was completed. For example, the 2013 Straub Award was actually presented in October 2015. The award year represented below is the year the dissertation was completed. Once all submissions are received, the dissertations are sent to judges for thorough reading, review, evaluation and ranking. This can take considerable time, as the Straub Award judges are ordinarily full-time working professors with many obligations and deadlines.

Award YearRecipientDissertationUniversity
2022Rui ShiModling Air-Water Turbulence and Properties of Breaking Bore"University of Queensland
2021Andrew Feldman"Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Coupling during Interstorm Periods"Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2020Samantha Hartzell"The role of CAM photosynthesis in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum"Princeton University
2019Michelle DiBenedetto"Transport and Behavior of Non-Spherical Particles in Waves"Stanford University
2018Tracy Mandel"Free-Surface Dynamics in the Presence of Submerged Canopies"Stanford University
2017Allison Goodwell"Temporal Information Partitioning Networks to Infer Ecohydrologic Behaviors"University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2016Conrad Wasko"Continuous Rainfall Simulation in a Warmer Climate"University of New South Wales
2015Filip Schuurman"Bar and Channel Evolution in Meandering and Braiding Rivers using Physics-based Modeling"Universiteit Utrecht
2014Hang Wang"Turbulence and Air Entrainment in Hydraulic Jumps"University of Queensland, Australia
2013Esther Eke“Meander Migration Modeling with the Incorporation of Erosional and Depositional Bank Processes”University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign
2012Yeping Yuan“Impacts of Lateral Spreading and Upstream Conditions on Buoyant River Plumes: Mixing, Structure and Plume Dynamics”University of Washington 
2011Bing Wang"Multiscale Numerical Simulations of a Complex Macrotidal Tidal-River Estuary" Stanford University
2010Michael Cardiff"Data Integration and Inverse Methods for Characterization of Multicomponent Hydrologic Systems"Stanford University 
2009Edmund Tedford"Laboratory, Field and Numerical Investigations of Holmboe's Instability"University of British Columbia
2008Jorge D. Abad"Hydrodynamics and Morphodynamics in Kinoshita Meandering Channels" University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2007Mariano Cantero"Modeling and Large Scale Simulations of Thermohaline and Particulate Density Currents"University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2006Subhas Karan Venayagamoorthy"Energetics and dynamics of internal waves on a shelf break using numerical simulations." Stanford University 
2005Marco Ghisalberti"Momentum and scalar transport in vegetated shear flows"Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
2004Michael L. MacWilliams"Three-dimensional Hydrodynamic Simulation of River Channels and Floodplains". Stanford University
2003Patricia M. Saco"Flow dynamics in large river basins: Self-similar network structure and scale effects"University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
2002Emily A. Zedler"Large Eddy Simulation of Sediment Transport in Oscillatory Flow over Wavy Terrain"Stanford University
2001John Philipp Vitkovsky"Inverse Analysis and Modelling of Unsteady Pipe Flow: Theory, Applications and Experimental Verification." University of Adelaide, Australia
2000Dragoslav Stefanovic"Two Dimensional Modeling of Connective Exchange Processes in Stratified Lakes"University of Minnesota