George Hornberger

Photo of George Hornberger

Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy & Environment, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Dr. Hornberger is a University Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt University, where he directs the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment and has a shared appointment as the Craig E. Philip Professor of Engineering and as Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Previously he was a professor for many years at the University of Virginia where he held the Ernest H. Ern Chair of Environmental Sciences. He has been a visiting scholar at the Australian National University, Lancaster University, Stanford University, the United States Geological Survey, the University of Colorado, and the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Hornberger’s research centers on the coupling of field observations with mathematical modelling. Recognizing that water resources are under pressure from many human activities from climate change to urban development, he pursues broadly interdisciplinary research focused on coupled natural-human systems. The goal of the research is to understand how climate, groundwater, surface water, and human abstraction of water interact in complex ways. Current projects include work in Sri Lanka on adaptation to drought and in the United States on how cities evolve water conservation practices. He has published extensively, with numerous scientific papers, book chapters, and books.

Dr. Hornberger has served on numerous boards and committees of the National Academies, most recently as chair of the Committee on “Future Water Resource Needs for the Nation: Water Science and Research at the U.S. Geological Survey” and chair of the Water Science and Technology Board. He has also served other organizations, for example, he chairs the Geosciences Policy Committee of the American Geosciences Institute and serves on various committees of the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and other organizations. In 2015, he recently completed service as the chair of the Health Effects Institute Special Scientific Committee on Unconventional Oil and Gas Development. Before that in 2013, he chaired a related National Research Council Committee on Development of Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources in the Appalachian Basin. He previously served as an editor on several highly regarded journals. Dr. Hornberger won the Robert E. Horton Award (Hydrology Section) from the American Geophysical Union in 1993. In 1995, he received the John Wesley Powell Award from the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1999, he was presented with the Excellence in Geophysical Education Award by the American Geophysical Union and in 2007 he was selected Virginia Outstanding Scientist. Professor Hornberger was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 1996. He was also elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 1994, the Association for Women in Science in 1996, and the Geological Society of America in 2005, received the William Kaula Award from the American Geophysical Union in 2010, and the Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award from Vanderbilt University in 2017.

Dr. Hornberger holds a B.S.C.E. in Civil Engineering and an M.S.C.E. in Hydrology from Drexel University and a Ph.D. in Hydrology from Stanford University.