Dani Or is a professor of Soil and Terrestrial Environmental Physics and Director of the Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems (ITES) in the Department of Environmental Systems Science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich in Switzerland.. His research focuses on mass and energy transport in porous media, on mechanics of abrupt landslides and avalanches, and on linking physical processes and biological activity in soils. Dr. Or has authored over 170 refereed publications, co-authored a book, and over 270 proceeding papers and abstracts. Dr. Or is Editor in Chief of the Vadose Zone Journal, recipient of the Kirkham Soil Physics Award (2001), 2004 Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, chair of the 2008 Gordon Research Conference on Flow and Transport (Oxford, UK), and 2010 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. His 2013 Birdsall-Dreiss lectures will be based on recent work linking porous media properties and evaporation dynamics from terrestrial surfaces, and on micro-hydrology and biophysical processes controlling microbial life in the subsurface.
He is offering two talks:
- How do porous terrestrial surfaces control evaporation into the atmosphere? (Click for abstract),
- Biophysical processes shaping bacterial life in soils – an unexplored universe under our feet (Click for abstract)
At the request of interested institutions and pending availability, Dani will present one of the two lectures listed above.
A lecture request form is available here.
Background of the Birdsall-Dreiss Lectureship
The Birdsall Lectureship began in 1978, as part of a bequest left to the Geological Society of America – Hydrogeology Division in memory of John Manning Birdsall. Mr. Birdsall was a prominent geologist, retired from the Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey. He was a scientist, a dedicated public servant and a gentleman. The bequest was used to provide travel funds for outstanding scientists working in the field of hydrogeology to visit other institutions and give talks on their research. The first lecturer, Dr. Jacob Bear from the Israeli Institute of Technology, visited only the University of Wisconsin – Madison, which hosted one of the premier hydrogeology programs of that era. The subsequent list of Birdsall-Dreiss lecturers includes many outstanding scientists from academia and government. The number of institutions visited by each lecturer grew rapidly, with recent lecturers typically giving 40 to 50 talks, mainly in the U.S. and Canada, but also in Europe, Asia and Australia.
One of the most popular Birdsall-Dreiss Lecturers was Dr. Shirley Dreiss from the University of California – Santa Cruz. Shortly after her very successful 1992 lecture tour, Shirley was killed in an auto accident. Her many friends and admirers honored her by contributing to the GSA Birdsall Lectureship, which was renamed the Birdsall-Dreiss Lectureship. The Birdsall-Dreiss Lecturer is chosen each year by a panel of former B-D lecturers. There are no applications for this position and they make their choice solely on the reputation of perspective candidates for their research excellence and ability to communicate.
The Birdsall-Dreiss endowment pays for part of their travel and candidates typically obtain additional travel funds from their home institution. Universities or other institutions wishing to host a Birdsall-Dreiss lecture send in their application in the fall, with the tour officially starting each January and ending at the fall meeting of the Geological Society of America.
Click here to query the Birdsall-Dreiss Lectures Data Base. The data base includes year, lecturer, employer, and abstract title(s).