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Ghislain de Marsily

Ghislain de Marsily
Ghislain de Marsily

The 2000 John Dalton Medal is awarded to Ghislain de Marsily for his pioneering and innovative development of quantitative and stochastic hydrogeology as a multidisciplinary science and as an accepted method of solving problems of applied hydrology, and for his long devotion to creating a new and exciting learning experience in modern water science for his students.

Professor Ghislain de Marsily is a world-famous hydrogeologist and this since many years. His very successful book “Hydrogéologie Quantitative” (1981) has been written in English and completed which has lead to “Quantitative Hydrology” (1984), a best-seller which is the standard book for hydrogeology in many universities all over the world.

Ghislain’ s contribution to the science of hydrogeology is multi-faceted: surface watershed management, sedimentary basin modelling, fractured rock hydrology, contaminant transport in porous or fractured media and (radioactive) waste disposal to name only a few. Four books, about 85 articles, 200 conference papers, 150 technical, have been produced during his scientific career of 27 years.

Ghislain’ s broad knowledge, clarifying answers and illuminating advise in hydrogeological science has made him a sought after expert adviser, especially in the area of radioactive waste disposal such as the French and European Nuclear Waste Programmes. Ghislain is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the Academia Europea. His talent and work has lead to several awards, where among recently the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (1996).

Recently, Ghislain has been invited to express his view on the entanglement of hydrogeological science and politics. Pollution of drinking water resources by herbicides, pesticides and nitrates is a major problem in most industrialized countries. Ghislain is the author of the concept “Hydrogeological Natural Parks”, which suggests a protective action to prevent the degradation of ground water resources. This idea is presently gaining momentum, especially in France, e.g. the city of Auxerre (Yvonne) has taken up the concept and decided to create such a protected area for its groundwater resources and is developing new agricultural practices in cooperation with the farming community.

These qualities and scientific contributions to hydrogeological science make him an excellent candidate for the Dalton Medal.