The 2002 John Dalton Medal is awarded to Efi Foufoula-Georgiou for her outstanding contributions to the understanding of space-time precipitation variability.
Professor Efi Foufoula-Georgiou is probably one of the most remarkable personalities in Scientific Hydrology today. From Greek origin, she started her career at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, from where she obtained a Diploma in Civil Engineering. After a short period as an engineer at the River Management and Urban Planning Division of the Ministry of Public Works in Athens she decided to take to a Scientific Career and moved to the US where she obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida. After a period as a Research Associate at the University of Washington she moved again, this time to the University of Minnesota, next to Iowa State University where she became an Assistant Professor and later back to Minnesota where she became an Associate Professor, Full Professor and finally Director of the highly successful St. Anthony Falls Laboratory – all within less than two decades. An impressive track record indeed, but it is her outstanding research achievements that have made her stand out among the peers. Over the years she has pioneered a new era of stochastic space-time rainfall modelling which has significantly advanced our understanding of rainfall processes over a wide range of scales. The concepts she introduced or developed have covered an immense spectrum, from traditional stochastics to wavelets and the notion of dynamic self similarity. While these contribution have been in much depth, she has been a genuine Earth Scientist at heart and used these new concepts to better understand and predict a range of other geophysical processes, from geomorphologic studies of river networks to subsurface hydrologic processes and systems. The common theme in much of this work has been to unravel scale relationships from the highly irregular patterns exhibited by most geophysical processes, and she has been tremendously successful in finding such relationships. Efi has been mainly active in the international scientific arena but has maintained and cherished her South European roots over the years, be it as an assessor for the European Commission, by contributing to EGS Meetings or as an active scientific editor of EGS’s Hydrology Journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. Maybe even more remarkable than her scientific achievements are her personal traits – a most thorough teacher, colleague and reviewer to many but at the same time a most charming lady! But probably the most amazing thing about her is how she manages to reconcile her professional duties with her family agendas. Clearly, Efi is one of the most outstanding role models for the next generation of Earth Scientists in Hydrology both female and male.