Dr. Paul Hsieh, alumnus of the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, a parent of the merged Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, was the recipient of the 2021 University of Arizona College of Science Honorary Degree in December 2021. Dr. Paul Hsieh is currently an independent groundwater hydrologist, having retired in 2018 from the U.S. Geological Survey after 41 years of service as a research hydrologist. He received his B.S.E. degree in Civil Engineering from Princeton University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Hydrology from the University of Arizona. His research at the USGS spanned diverse topics that included groundwater flow and solute transport in fractured rocks, the development and application of computer simulation models, the interaction between groundwater and earthquakes, and volcano hydrology. During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, he served on the federal government’s science team on oil spill response. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union and received the Service to America Medal in 2011 from the Partnership for Public Service. Currently, he volunteers for The Groundwater Project, a non-profit organization with the mission of providing free educational materials to all who want to learn about groundwater.
Dr. Hsieh Special Seminar
Dr. Hsieh gave a stellar talk on December 18, 2021, "The Human Side of Groundwater Science." His talk was enthusiastically attended in person and via zoom by individuals within the university, college, and department, as well as colleagues throughout the scientific community. Dr. Hsieh's talk gave us a look at his career as a groundwater hydrologist and the importance of social interaction in transforming scientific knowledge into benefits for society. In this informal presentation, Dr. Hsieh illustrated this idea with three examples from his personal experience: as a graduate student at the University of Arizona, as a professional developing a multi-state groundwater model, and as a senior scientist working on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In the world of Earth science, knowledge and information always carry uncertainty. The scientist must be willing to engage with non-scientists, including the public at large, so that scientific knowledge is used in a way to make informed decisions.