Soil and water scientist Dani Or, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has joined the University of Nevada, Reno College of Engineering.
Or is known for his contributions coupling soil physics, hydromechanics and microbiology through novel measurement, theory and models of key near-surface hydrologic processes. His research focuses on mass and energy transport in porous media; mechanics of landslides and avalanches; evaporation from porous surfaces and on biophysical process and biological activity in the soil.
He will be joining the College’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Department as a Nevada Engineering Distinguished Professor.
“I am tremendously excited that Dr. Or will be joining the faculty in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department in our College of Engineering,” Provost Jeff Thompson said. “Dr. Or’s appointment to our faculty is a significant milestone in achieving the University’s vision outlined in our strategic plan, Wolf Pack Rising. Dr. Or’s research expertise and international reputation will also enhance our research aspirations and commitment to graduate education and undergraduate research experiences. I want to thank Chair Pagilla and Dean Jones, and of course, welcome Professor Or to the Wolf Pack Family.”
Or’s appointment supports the College of Engineering’s research pillars and aligns with the University’s strategic plan, according to Engineering Dean Erick Jones.
“We are confident that Dr. Or will make an outstanding addition to our faculty,” Jones said. “His expertise in the fields of soil physics, hydromechanics and microbiology will bring additional distinction to our already impressive Civil & Environmental Engineering Department.
“This appointment also pushes forward the University’s effort to join the Association of American Universities (AAU), one of the most prestigious honors a research university can attain,” Jones added.
Krishna Pagilla, Ralph and Rose Hoeper Engineering Professor and Civil & Environmental Department Chair, heralded Or’s appointment as a boon for the entire University.
“I am excited to welcome Dr. Or to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department,” Pagilla said. “Dr. Or’s expertise in interdisciplinary areas of soil-water systems will give unique capabilities to the existing faculty in the department and across the entire University to pursue novel and large-scale research opportunities. Dr. Or’s global experiences and reputation will inspire young faculty and students to greater heights.”
Or comes to the College from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), where he has been a research professor since 2020. He is the former editor in chief of Vadose Zone Journal, an outlet for interdisciplinary research and assessment of the vadose zone, the portion of critical zone that comprises the earth’s critical living surface down to groundwater. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a recipient of the Kirkham Soil Physics Award and a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, among other honors.
“I am deeply honored and thrilled to join UNR faculty,” Or said. “I hope to contribute to the missions of the College of Engineering and the CEE Department and look forward to working with and mentoring students, post-docs and young faculty and to pursuing new research directions.
“I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to join a new Wildfire hub (led by professors Hamed Ebrahimian and Sudeep Chandra) that will push the technological boundaries of societal response to this ubiquitous natural hazard and study its legacy effects and recovery of wildfire-affected landscapes,” he added.
Before his time at DRI, Or was a professor of terrestrial environmental physics from 2008 to 2020 at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and a professor of soil and environmental physics from 2005 to 2008 at EPF Lausanne in Switzerland. He has taught at the University of Connecticut and Utah State University, where he earned his doctorate in 1990. Or has a Master’s in soil and water sciences and a Bachelor’s in soil and water sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.