Rafig Azzam

Rafig Azzam

Title: Professor Emeritus
Company: RWTH Aachen University
Location: Aachen, Germany

Rafig Azzam, Professor Emeritus of RWTH Aachen University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in geology education.

Born in Salt, Jordan, Dr. Azzam decided in high school that he wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps and pursue higher education in Germany. He proceeded to attend RWTH Aachen University, where he earned a diploma in geology in 1978 and a PhD, summa cum laude, in 1984. Dr. Azzam worked in the school as a research assistant during that time, and then moved to Australia to become a research fellow at James Cook University.  After two years, one of his former professors reached out and told him he was needed at RWTH Aachen University. He returned as a senior lecturer from 1987 to 1992, joined TU Bergakademie Freiberg as a professor and head of the Department of Engineering Geology and Environmental Geotechnics from 1993 to 2002, subsequently returning to RWTH Aachen. He served as a professor and head of the Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology from 2002 to 2017, at which point he retired with the distinguished title of professor emeritus. He continues his research on geohazards like landslides and floods.

Outside of academia, Dr. Azzam contributed to his industry as the president of engineering geology at IAEG, the president of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists, Germany, the chair of the Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment, and a member of the executive board of the German Association for Geotechnical Engineering. He edited “Mitteilungen zur Ingenieugeologie und Hydrogeologie” for Engineering Geology for Infrastructure Planning in Europe, authored “Stofftransportprozesse in natürlichen Dichtungsstoffen unter Berücksichtigung der Verdichtbarkeit sowie des Einflusses strukturverändernder Chemikalien auf die Materialeigenschaften,” and contributed more than 220 articles to professional journals. Further, Dr. Azzam founded and coordinated the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability, and advised the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Austrian Foundation for Advancement in Scientific Research, the Research Council of Norway, IAEA, and the Greek Ministry of Research and Technology.

Some of the highlights of Dr. Azzam’s career include developing a geotechnical apparatus, developing a method for soil improvement by electrokinetics, and obtaining four patents in his field. As a testament to his success, he was honored with an Award for Thousand Talent Foreign Experts from the Government of Zhejiang Province in China in 2015, a Germany Land of Ideas Prize from the German Government and Industry in 2009, and a Borchers Medaille from RWTH Aachen University in 1984. Additionally, Shanghai University awarded him an honorary PhD. Dr. Azzam is most proud, however, of his children.

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Lifetime Achievement

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