Dec 012008
Authors: Tyler Okland

CSU Civil engineering professor and alumni Chih Ted Yang was honored earlier this month with the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water in the Surface Water Branch for his study of river morphology.

A purse of just over $130,000 accompanied the award, which Yang accepted at the Third International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Environments in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Nov. 16.

Yang’s success has been credited to his ability to accurately predict the unpredictable: water. Yang’s research gives engineers a blueprint of the future, potential changes of rivers, which erosion and sediment account for.

Considering Yang’s 30 years of experience and work in the area, the award has been a long time coming.

“Basically they recognized my 30 years of accumulated studies in the area of erosion and sedimentation,” he said. “I am very humbled to receive this award. In my knowledge it is the highest award in the area of water morphology.”

Utilizing his position as the director of the Hydroscience and Training Center in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at CSU, Yang’s efforts have received international recognition in the area of river morphology.

“River morphology is the science to study the formation and evolution of the river process,” said Yang. “They change all the time with respect to time and location.”

Yang formulated what is widely considered the most precise method for forecasting sediment concentration and rate in rivers.

“It allows engineers to apply the theory I developed to simulate the process of river changes with a computer model,” Yang said. The program is called GSTARS, or the Generalized Sediment Transport model for Alluvial River Simulation.

Of his considerable achievements, Yang considers his first work, a paper that established two revolutionary laws in the area of river morphology, his greatest accomplishment.

“When he was in his twenties he wrote a paper that completely changed the way scientists viewed river morphology,” said Emily Wilmsen, a CSU spokesperson.

“Without any practical physics training,” Yang added, with a well-earned measure of pride.

Staff writer Tyler Okland can be reached at

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