Prof Philip Li-Fan Liu
Vice President (Research and Technology)
Professor Philip Li-Fan Liu is the Vice President (Research and Technology) and a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NUS. He is on leave from Cornell University where he is the Class of 1912 Professor of Engineering. Prof Liu also holds the Kwoh-Ting Lee Chair Professorship at the National Central University, Taiwan, where he is affiliated with the Institute of Hydrological and Oceanic Sciences.
After graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from National Taiwan University in 1968, Prof Liu studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received a S.M. degree in Civil Engineering in 1971 and a ScD degree in 1974. He joined the faculty of Cornell University as an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in 1974. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1979 and Full Professor in 1983. He served as the Associate Director of the School from 1985 to 1986 and as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the Engineering College from 1986 to 1987. Prof Liu was the Director of the School of CEE from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2015.
Prof Liu’s research interests are in coastal oceanography and engineering. He is an internationally recognised, front-line researcher in the fields of water wave theory, tsunami dynamics, wave-breaking processes, sediment transport processes, and the interactions of water waves with structures. His research approach integrates analytical, computational and experimental methodologies. Prof Liu’s reputation rests on the outstanding contributions he has made to the fundamental understanding of wave processes and to the applicability of his research to practical engineering problems. Prof Liu’s research has proven to be impactful. His numerical model COMCOT (Cornell-Multi-grid-Coupled-Tsunami-Model), based on nonlinear shallow water wave theory, has been employed in many countries to develop tsunami warning systems and inundation maps and to assess tsunami damage. Another numerical model, COBRAS (Cornell-Breaking-Waves-and Structures), based on the Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations, is also used internationally as a tool for preliminary engineering designs of coastal structures and for conducting research in wave-solid interactions, including water waves generated by landslides.
Prof Liu is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He has received many academic awards, including the prestigious ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (1978), the J. S. Guggenheim Fellowship (1980), the ASCE John G. Maffatt & Frank N. Nichol Harbor and Coastal Engineering Award (1997), the International Coastal Engineering Award ASCE (2004) and the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (2009).