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George M. Hornberger

Contact Information

George M. Hornberger

Office: Buttrick 155

PMB 407702
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
Phone: 615-343-1144
Fax: 615-322-7012

Recent Resume / CV


Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment

  • University Distinguished Professor
  • Craig E. Philip Professor of Engineering
  • Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences


  • Ph.D., Hydrology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • MSCE, Hydrology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
  • BSCE, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Professional Experience

  • 2008-present - Director, VIEE and University Distinguished Professor, Vanderbilt University
  • 2014-2015 - Chair, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • 2012-2013 - Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt
  • 1970-2008 - from Assistant Professor to Ernest H. Ern Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
  • 2002-2006 - Associate Dean for the Sciences, University of Virginia
  • 2006-2007 - Visiting Professor, University of California at Berkeley
  • 1997-1998 - Visiting Scientist, Institute for Alpine and Arctic Research, University of Colorado
  • 1990-1991 - Visiting Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey and, concurrently, Visiting Professor, Stanford University
  • 1984-1985 - Honorary Visiting Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, U.K.
  • 1977-1978 - Visiting Fellow, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University

Current Students

Thushara De Silva, Ph.D. candidate environmental engineering
Research: Irrigation and hydropower systems in the Mahaweli Watershed.

Leslie Duncan, Ph.D. candidate in environmental sciences
Research: Local and regional hydrological and subsurface conditions in regulation of the mechanical behavior of landslides and in relation to changing river flows.

Thushara Gunda, Ph.D. candidate environmental engineering
Research: Climate, water, and drought in Sri Lanka..

Chelsea Peters, Ph. D. candidate environmental sciences
Research: Groundwater surface water interaction

Scott Worland, Ph.D. candidate environmental sciences
Research: Water use in U.S. cities

Recent Ph.D. and M.S. graduates

John Crane, Ph.D. Environmental Engineering:"Nitrous oxide emissions from urban lawns."

John Jacobi, Ph.D., Environmental Sciences. Dissertation: "A Changing Climate in Sri Lanka: Shifts, Perceptions, and Potential Adaptive Actions"

Yi Mei, Ph.D. Environmental Engineering. Dissertation: "Hydrological Regulation on Dissolved Organic Carbon Transport from Agricultural and Forest Soils to Streams"

Debra Perrone, Ph.D. Environmental Sciences. Dissertation: "Characterizing!Water, Food, and Energy Interrelationships"

Elizabeth Stone, M.S.  Earth and environmental Sciences, Thesis: "Water and Nutrient Management in a Changing Climate: A Case Study from Rural Sri Lanka"

Scott Worland, M.S. Earth and Environmental Sciences, Thesis: "Source, Transport, and Evolution of Saline Groundwater in a Shallow Holocene Aquifer on the Tidal Delta plain of Southwest Bangladesh"

Elise Hunter, MS Environmental Engineering candidate environmental engineering

Research Projects

  • Environmental stress and human migration in Bangladesh--natural and human landscapes
    • Collaborators: Brooke Ackerley, Jonathan Gilligan, Steve Goodbred, and others
  • Climate Adaptation, Water-Energy Impacts, Perceptions and Behavior in Sri Lanka
    • Collaborators: Amanda Carrico, Jim Fraser, Jonathan Gilligan, Lanka Thabrew, Heather Truelove
  • Water Conservation in American Cities
    • Collaborators: David Hess and Jonathan Gilligan

Recent Publications

Stone EC and GM Hornberger. 2016: Impacts of Management Alternatives on Rice Yield and Nitrogen Losses to the Environment: A Case Study in Rural Sri Lanka. Science of the Total Environment. 542: 271-276.

Perrone, D and GM Hornberger 2016. Frontiers of the food-energy-water trilemma: Sri Lanka as a microcosm of tradeoffs. Environ. Res. Lett. 11 : 014005. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/1/014005.

Gunda, T., Hornberger, G.M., and J. M. Gilligan 2016. Spatiotemporal Patterns of Agricultural Drought in Sri Lanka: 1881-2010. Int. J. Climatology 36: 563–575..

Fraser, JC, Bazuin, JT, and GM Hornberger 2016. The privatization of neighborhood governance and the production of urban space. Environment and Planning A, 48:844-870.

Gu, C., Crane, J., Hornberger, G.M. and A. Carrico. 2015. The effects of Household Management Practices on the Global Warming Potential of Urban Lawns. J. Environ. Mgmt. 151: 233-242.

Lyons-Duncan, L. Perrone, D., Jacobi, J.H., and G. M. Hornberger 2015. Drought: Using High Resolution as Part of the Solution. Environ. Sci. Tech. 49: 2639–2647.

Perrone, D., G. Hornberger, M. Van der Velde, and O. Van Vliet. 2015. U.S. Water Resource Use: Past, Present, and Projected. Journal Am. Water Resour. Assn. DOI:10.1111/1752-1688.12301.

Gunda, T., Hornberger, G.M., and J. M. Gilligan. Spatiotemporal Patterns of Agricultural Drought in Sri Lanka: 1881-2010. Int. J. Climatology. DOI: 10.1002/joc.4365.

Hornberger, G.M., Hess, D.J., and J. Gilligan 2015. Water Conservation and Hydrological Transitions in Cities. Water Resources Research 51: 4635–4649. doi:10.1002/2015WR016943..

Worland, S., Hornberger, G.M. and S. Goodbred. 2015. Evolution of Saline Groundwater in Southwest Bangladesh, Water Resources Research, DOI: 10.1002/2014WR016262.

Hornberger, G.M., Wiberg, P.L., Raffensperger, J.P., and P. D’Odorico. 2014. Elements of Physical Hydrology, 2nd Edition . Johns Hopkins Press.

Hornberger, GM and JC Ayers. Hydraulic Fracturing in the Development of Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources. Oxford Bibliographies Online, In press

Perrone D and GM Hornberger 2014. Water, Food, Energy: Scrambling for Resources or Solutions? WIRES-Water 1 : 49-68.

Jacobi, J., D. Perrone, L. Duncan, G. Hornberger 2013. A Tool for Calculating the Palmer Drought Indices. Wat. Resour. Res.9: 6086–6089. DOI: 10.1002/wrcr.20342.

Selected recent presentations

Hornberger, GM and D Perrone, (Sep 2015) “Frontiers of the Food-Energy-Water Trilemma: Sri Lanka as a Microcosm of Tradeoffs,” Conference organized by University of Illinois onWater Planet, Water Crises? Meeting the World’s Water-Food-Energy Needs Sustainably. 

Hornberger, G.M. (May 2015) “Research Agenda for 21st century Oil and Gas Development” Workshop on Advancing the Next Generation of Environmental Practices for Shale Development, organized by The Nature Conservancy and Carnegie Mellon University.

Hornberger, G.M. (March 2015) “ADAPT-SL:  Agricultural Decision Making and Adaptation to Precipitation Trends in Sri Lanka” Moore Lecture, University of Virginia

Hornberger, G.M. (May 2014) “Water Science and Technology: Key Ingredients in Shaping Innovative Pathways to Sustainability.” Ecosystems, Economy, and Society: Large-scale Ecological Restoration, \Meeting at the National Academies, sponsored by Veolia Environmental Services.

Hornberger, G.M. and A. Carrico (June 2014) “Interdisciplinary Challenges in Studying Social-Ecological Systems: Partnerships across the Natural and Social Sciences”, Gordon Research Conference on Water, Holderness, NH.

Honors and Awards

  • Virginia Chapter of Sigma Xi, President's and Visitors' Prize, 1986.
  • Robert E. Horton Award, Hydrology Section, American Geophysical Union, 1993.
  • Elected Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 1994.
  • Appointed to five-year Visiting Professorship at University of Reading, UK, 1995
  • 1995 Biennial Medal for Natural Systems, Modelling and Simulation Soc. of Australia
  • 1995 John Wesley Powell Award for Citizen's Achievement (US Geological Survey)
  • Elected Fellow, Association for Women in Science, 1996
  • Elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, February 1996
  • 1999 Excellence in Geophysical Education Award, American Geophysical Union
  • Bownocker Lecturer, Ohio State University, May 1999
  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher, 2000 (
  • National Associate of the National Academies in recognition of extraordinary service, 2001
  • Langbein Lecturer, American Geophysical Union, 2002
  • Elected Fellow, Geological Society of America, 2005
  • Virginia Outstanding Scientist, 2007
  • William Kaula Award, American Geophysical Union, 2010