ASCE has honored Sebastien Erpicum, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, with the 2020 Hydraulic Structures Medal for his significant contributions to the hydraulic engineering community in the areas of piano key weir spillway design and for organizing international Labyrinth and Piano Key Weir workshops that advanced the science.
Erpicum is a unique individual who has worked very hard to make a positive impact in hydraulic structure engineering and research. He has had five areas of significant research contributions in hydraulic structures thus far in his career. They are—
- Piano key weirs, an innovative hydraulic structure.
- Flooding impacts and structure failures.
- Reservoir hydrodynamics.
- Numerical modeling of hydraulic structures.
- Unstable flows at hydraulic structures.
His scholarship activities have resulted in six books, four book chapters, 81 journal articles and over 200 conference papers, and recently he has been an invited editor for a special ASCE issue dedicated to hydraulic structures. He is currently the director of research and testing activities at the Hydraulics Laboratory at the University of Liege.
Furthermore, his research on piano key weirs has had wide-reaching impacts with these new structures being built on six continents, with two completed in the U.S. There have been multiple discussions by USACE regarding the potential of the weirs for increased reliability and performance at spillways and positive impacts regarding potential failure modes and downstream flooding impacts.
Erpicum has had 12 international speaking invitations and received three research awards. He is also very active in professional societies, including the ICOLD Hydraulics Committee and IAHR, where he is chair of the Hydraulic Structures Committee. He has organized eight conferences, including three international workshops focused on spillways, those being held in Belgium, France and Vietnam. As well, he has supported multiple training workshops for young hydraulic engineers.
The Hydraulic Structures Medal is awarded to an individual or individuals for significant contributions to the advancement of the art and science of hydraulic engineering as applied to hydraulic structures.