Murugesu Sivapalan

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, Illinois, USA

What led you to Earth and Space science?

From my undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering, I decided to specialize in Hydrology for my PhD, and this led to membership of AGU, which naturally led to increasing interest in Earth Science, even going beyond Hydrology

How long have you been a member of AGU and why did you join?

Since 1986 (28 years). For the kind of research I was doing and was interested in, AGU was the natural home, the place to be if you wanted to connect to global network of hydrologists and earth scientists.

What are you working on now?

Within the wider field of Hydrology I specialize in Catchment Hydrology, where the catchment or watershed is an entity that represents the way the landscape is organized to efficiently collect and move water away. After 28 years of undertaking fundamental and applied research in many aspects of catchment hydrology, I am presently writing a textbook on the subject. In parallel, in the context of the emergent Anthropocene, I am also undertaking new research on a new sub-field of hydrology, called socio-hydrology, which is the science dealing with the two-way feedbacks between natural systems (water) and humans. For the first time I am having to deal with human behavior in respect of water, which is quite exciting, where I have much to learn from specialist social scientists.