The 2021 John Dalton Medal is awarded to Brian Berkowitz for his seminal contributions to flow and anomalous transport in natural porous and fractured media with pioneering experimental methods and novel conceptual frameworks.
Brian Berkowitz has pioneered several important transformations and introduced novel concepts to the fields of hydrology and Earth sciences. His contributions build on his extensive knowledge of physics and mathematics and his ability to fuse theory with experiment to derive new insights. Berkowitz single-handedly transformed our understanding of anomalous transport of dissolved substances in porous media by harnessing theoretical developments from other fields of physics, linking these with numerical analyses and clever experimental studies to establish a novel approach now known as Continuous Time Random Walk (CTRW) theory of solute transport. Berkowitz has led the implementation of the CTRW for contaminant transport by revolutionizing how transport in heterogeneous subsurface systems has been perceived. He has been an avid promoter of innovation and provided definitive scholarly reviews that inspired generations of scientists and remain landmark publications in water resources. Berkowitz’s seminal contributions to the study of flow and transport in fractured systems and fracture network characterization and connectivity shed new light on this important phenomenon as related to recharge and spread of contaminants and links well with his studies of anomalous transport (his 2002 review in Advances in Water Resources has attracted well over 1000 citations to date). His unique ability to combine theory with novel experimental methods for flow pathway visualization serves as a benchmark for many recent theoretical studies and inspires many young researchers in the field.
Berkowitz demonstrated exceptional creativity and foresight, often detecting new directions and trends well ahead of the field. His work continuously expands the scientific boundaries of hydrology and links advances to other disciplines, such as how flow dynamics and mineral precipitation studied in fractured media could help design efficient kidney-ureter-bladder systems and improve clinical use of ureteral stents and treatment of kidney stones.
Berkowitz has been visible and active in the field, with his engaging personality and a good sense of humor, always willing to engage and share his ideas and time. In recognition for his lasting engagement in the hydrology community and his transformative contributions to the field, Brian Berkowitz is awarded the 2021 John Dalton Medal by the Hydrological Sciences Division of the European Geosciences Union.