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12 May 2004
After more than thirty years of involvement with environmental
sciences, the EPFL did not wish to simply maintain its established
position in the field. It was committed to attracting a world leader
with broad scientific and technical experience to bring new dimensions
to the EPFL in both teaching and research.
With strong support from the top, the School of Architecture, Civil, and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) succeeded in finding the person to respond to such a challenge by engaging the chairman of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Parlange has been a pioneer in identifying, measuring, and describing the mechanisms that regulate the flux of heat and humidity in the atmosphere. Using computer simulation and innovative methods of mathematical analysis, Dr. Parlange developed original models to analyze complex meteorological phenomena, such as turbulence, the behavior of aerosols in the lower atmosphere and the exchange of gases between soil and air. In focusing on global measurement techniques that stimulate technological innovation, his research comes to grip with major environmental issues that define some of today's most important global challenges in air and water pollution.
In accepting his appointment to the EPFL, Dr. Parlange has made a major career choice for which he is fully prepared. He spent the 2002-03 academic year on the Lausanne campus as a guest professor.
Born in 1962 in Providence, Rhode Island, the budding scientist literally plowed through the academic world. After having studied Applied Mathematics at Griffith University in Australia, he came to Cornell for his M.S. (1987) in Agricultural Engineering and his Ph.D. (1990) in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Following six years at the University of California at Davis as an assistant and associate professor, he joined the Johns Hopkins University in 1996 as a full professor. He is the author and co-author of more than one hundred scientific publications.
Professor Parlange has also demonstrated outstanding teaching and mentoring skills: several of his students have already achieved academic recognition by rapidly advancing to professorial posts. His appointment represents a major teaching asset in EPFL's Environmental Science and Engineering section.