Professor Hermann M. Fritz has received the 2014 Plinius Medal for his outstanding laboratory- and field-research achievements in the generation and propagation of tsunamis.
Fritz received his Ph.D. in hydraulic engineering at ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in 2002 and has been teaching and furthering his research at Georgia Tech since 2003.
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) Natural Hazards Division established the Plinius Medal to recognize outstanding mid-career scientists who have made outstanding research achievements in fields related to natural hazards and whose research has been applied in the mitigation of risks from natural hazards. Winners also have completed important interdisciplinary activity in two or more fields related to those natural hazards.
Fritz’s research centers on the fluid dynamics of such natural hazards as tsunamis, hurricane storm surges, and landslides. He also looks at
their mitigation and coastal protection. His research in hydrodynamic water waves and coastal engineering includes laboratory experiments, theory, simulations, and extensive fieldwork.
In the field, he has helped organized more than a dozen post-disaster reconnaissance campaigns encompassing both tsunamis (Tohoku 2011, Chile 2010, Haiti 2010, Mentawai 2010, Solomon Islands 2010 & 2007, Samoa & Tonga 2009, Peru 2007, Java 2006, Indian Ocean 2004) and cyclonic storms (Cyclone Nargis 2008, Cyclone Gonu 2007, Hurricane Katrina 2005). The data collected from these surveys has had a significant impact on understanding of the damage brought by these disasters.