The 2011 Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal is awarded to Stuart Lane for his critical contributions to our understanding of the basic processes in rivers affecting river flow, sediment transport and river ecology through the combination of detailed field work, advanced data collection techniques and critical theoretical insights as well as for his leadership in communicating geomorphological expertise to practitioners’ in landscape management and planning.
As some of his most cited work clearly illustrates, Stuart Lane has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of river processes by linking detailed small-scale observations of river processes to larger-scale river phenomena. He was among the first researchers to apply computational fluid dynamics techniques to geomorphological problems. By combining his excellent mathematical and computational skills with detailed morphological observations obtained using advanced remote-sensing and photogrammetric techniques, he has substantially furthered our understanding of complex processes such as the hydraulics of river confluences and the mechanics of river bedload transport. He is a key contributor to the development of geomorphological process knowledge, providing geomorphologists, river ecologists and biologists interested in long-term evolution of river systems with invaluable information and understanding on how rivers really work. In his career Lane has also stressed that geomorphological knowledge can and should be applied to resolve environmental issues through a close collaboration with catchment authorities and the development of applied research projects related to catchment management. His career is perhaps the best illustration that a high scientific profile can indeed be combined with the communication and application of the fundamental knowledge. By doing so, he has undoubtedly raised the visibility and appreciation of geomorphologists in the broader society. Last but not least, Stuart Lane has shown important leadership by taking up the role of chief editor of Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. Through his vision and work, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms has maintained its position as one of the leading international journals in geomorphology.