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Lehigh University logo

Panayiotis Diplas

Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Position: P.C. Rossin Professor and Chair;
Professor, Water Resources Engineering

Address: Fritz Engineering Laboratory
13 East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 758-3554


Dr. Diplas, together with his research group, study phenomena related to the dynamics of water, sediment and contaminant transport through waterways, floodplains and wetlands. Our work is focused on the interaction of the aforementioned components with structures, vegetation and biota. Relevant research areas include: environmental, fluvial, ecological and infrastructure hydraulics; sustainable development and hydrokinetic energy generation.

Our research philosophy and methodology are summarized by the following statements:

  • Develop theoretical understanding of empirical reality
  • Solve real engineering problems by examining the phenomena from a fundamental point of view
  • Use state-of-the-art experimental facilities, computational, field and analytical techniques to develop better understanding of cause and effect relations

Our group has pursued innovative research on the role of fluctuating turbulent forces on particle movement and other hydraulic phenomena, scour around bridge piers and abutments, design of in-stream structures, river mechanics and morphology, stream restoration, ecological hydraulics, wetland hydrodynamics and renewable energy. Federal and state agencies that have supported our research efforts include the National Science Foundation; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Environmental Protection Agency; Federal Highway Administration; U.S. Geological Survey; NASA; Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Representative sponsors from industry and nonprofit organizations include Pacific Gas & Electric, Dominion Power, and The Nature Conservancy.

Dr. Diplas has authored more than 75 publications in refereed journals, 80 refereed conference papers, 11 book contributions, and given numerous invited lectures, keynote addresses and presentations. A former NSF National Young Investigator Award recipient, in 2012 Diplas received the H.A. Einstein Award from ASCE for his significant contributions to the understanding of river mechanics, erosional processes and sediment transport. In 2010 ASCE awarded him the Karl Emil Hilgard Prize for the year’s best hydraulics paper, which was published in the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. During the spring semester of 2007 Diplas was the Braun Intertec Visiting Professor in the department of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota. Before joining Lehigh in 2013, Diplas served on the faculty of Virginia Tech for 25 years. In 1999 he founded the Baker Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory and served as its director for 14 years. In 1993 he received a Teaching Excellence Award.


  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota
  • M.S., Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece