Faculty Profile

Curriculum Vitae

Rafael L. Bras

K. Harrison Brown Family Chair and Professor
Water Resources Engineering
Ford ES&T 3206


  • Sc.D., (Water Resources and Hydrology), MIT, February 1975
  • M.S., Civil Engineering, MIT, February 1974
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, MIT, February 1972

Dr. Bras is the former provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He is a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.  He holds the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair

Prior to becoming provost, Dr. Bras was Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering of the University of California, Irvine. For 32 years prior to joining UCI he was a professor in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. He is past Chair of the MIT Faculty, former head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department and Director of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory at MIT. He has served as advisor to many government and private institutions.  Some of the most significant ones include:  Advisory Board, Engineering Directorate, NSF; Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council; Chairman, Earth Systems Sciences and Applications Committee of NASA and the NASA Advisory Committee; National Academy of Sciences Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects; Advisory to departments at Cornell university, Princeton university, Johns Hopkins, Technion, RPI, University of Puerto Rico; University of California-Irvine; Fundacion Chile; Instituto Veneto; Stockholm Water Foundation and Prize; Clarke prize. He is a director of the American Geophysical Union and a former member of the UCI Foundation.

Dr. Bras has been very active in several professional organizations. He is past president of the Hydrology section of AGU and is presently a member of its Board of Directors. Dr. Bras has received many honors and awards.  These include: honorary degree for the University of Perugia, Italy, Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Hall of Fame member, NASA Public Service Medal, the Macelwane Medal of AGU, John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize, Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award, Honorary Diplomate of Water Resources Engineering of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, Horton Medal of AGU, AGU Hydrology Days Award, and Drexel University’s 2010 Anthony J. Drexel Exceptional Achievement. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico, and corresponding member of the Mexican National Academy of Engineering. He is ALSO an elected Fellow of AGU, ASCE, AMS and AAAS.

Dr. Bras maintains an active international consulting practice. Presently he chairs a panel of experts that supervises the design and construction of a multibillion-dollar project to protect the City of Venice from floods. 

Dr. Bras has published two textbooks, over 180 refereed journal publications, and several hundred other publications and presentations.



  • Honorary Diplomate of Water Resources Engineering, American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, 2007
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006
  • Boussinesq-KNAW (Dutch National Academy of Sciences) Hydrology Lecture, Amsterdam, October 2005
  • Edward A. Abdun-Nur Professor, MIT, 2004-2008
  • Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Hall of Fame, 2003
  • Lorenz Lecturer, AGU Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 2003
  • Society of Presidential Fellows Lecturer, MIT, 2002
  • Kisiel Distinguished Lecturer, The University of Arizona, April 2002
  • National Academy of Engineering, elected 2001
  • William Mong Distinguished Lecture, 1999-2000, The University of Hong Kong
  • Horton Lecturer, American Meteorological Society, 1999
  • The International Water Academy, elected 1999
  • Clarke Prize Laureate for Outstanding Achievement in Water Science and Technology, 1998
  • Named Top 100 Most Influential Hispanics, Hispanic Business, 1997
  • Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor, MIT, 1995-2004
  • Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1994
  • Fellow, American Meteorological Society, 1992
  • Honoris Causa Laurea, Instituto di Idraulica Agraria, Universita Degli Studi di Perugia, Italy, 1992
  • William E. Leonhard Professorship, MIT, 1989-1995
  • James B. Macelwane Award, American Geophysical Union, 1982
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 1982
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1982
  • Gilbert Winslow Career Development Chair, MIT, 1979-1982
  • Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon, Sigma Xi
  • Graduate Fellowship from Puerto Rico's Economic Development Administration
  • A. J. Drexel Exceptional Achievement Award, Drexel University, November 2010
  • National Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico, 2009
  • James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award, MIT, 2008
  • Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award and Lecture, ASCE, 2008
  • Horton Medal, AGU, 2007
  • AGU Hydrology Days Award, March 2006
  • MIT Alumni Association highest award, Bronze Beaver Award, September 2005
  • Corresponding Member, National Academy of Engineering, Mexico, elected 2003, awarded 2004
  • NASA Public Service Medal, December 2002
  • Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Mathematics, Science and Engineering Network 2001 Giants in Science Award
  • MIT Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award, February 2000
  • Albert Baez Jr. Award and the Outstanding Educator Awards of the
  • Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, ASCE, 1993
  • Horton Award, American Geophysical Union, 1981


  • 186. Nieves, V., J. Wang, R.L. Bras, E. Wood, Maximum Entropy Distributions of Scale-Invariant Processes, Physical Review Letters, accepted for publication, 2010
  • Bras, R.L. and I. Rodriguez-Iturbe, Random Functions and Hydrology, Addison Wesley, 1985; new printing, Dover Publications, New York, 1994.
  • Bras, R.L., Hydrology: An Introduction to Hydrologic Science, Addison Wesley, 1990.
  • Bras, R.L., Solutions Manual: Hydrology: An Introduction to Hydrologic Science, Addison Wesley, 1990.
  • Epstein, A., B. Mire, T. Ramsey, K. Gareis, E. Davidson, E. Jones, M. Slosberg, and R. L. Bras, “Terrascope Youth Radio: Engaging urban teens in a unique university-community partnership”. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, paper 2010-963. June 2010. American Society for Engineering Education, Washington, DC. Available online at: http://soa.asee.org/paper/conference/paper-view.cfm?id=23512
  • Niemann, J.D., R.L. Bras, D. Veneziano, “Channel Network Growth and River Basin Morphology”, Report 343, Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory, MIT, Cambridge, MA, 1997.
  • Epstein, A., Mire, B., Ramsey, T., Gareis, K., Davidson, E., Jones, E., Slosberg, M., and Bras, R., 2010. Terrascope Youth Radio: Auniversity-community partnership engaging urban teens and undergraduate engineering students (Poster). 2010 Symposium on Engineering and Liberal Education, June 2010, Union College, Schenectady, NY. Available online at: http://web.mit.edu/awe/Public/Epstein-Integration-TYRposter.pdf