ASCE has honored Peter Nielsen, Ph.D., with the 2021 International Coastal Engineering Award for outstanding achievements and contribution to the advancement of coastal engineering through research, education, and engineering practice. 

Nielsen’s technical accomplishments are impressive and well-received. His textbook Coastal Bottom Boundary Layers and Sediment Transport is used in graduate classes throughout the world and is certainly one of, if not the best, science and engineering textbooks in this topical area. His additional technical works, covering a wide range of coastal subjects, are equally noteworthy, and they add to Nielsen’s remarkable career as one of the world’s foremost coastal engineers.

His education includes a doctor of engineering from the University of Queensland and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Sydney. His academic positions include assistant professor in the Department of Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering, University of Florida, and senior lecturer and professor, School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Australia. Nielsen has advised 29 master’s and doctoral students, many of whom are active leaders in the coastal engineering field.

Nielsen’s research record places him as a world leader in the field of coastal sediment transport. This is shown most simply by the fact that he is the most cited coastal engineering researcher in Australia, and within the top handful in the world. In addition to his main textbook, his work on coastal groundwater includes milestone papers, for example, “Tidal Dynamics of the Watertable in Beaches,” cited 355 times by other authors. Other important research areas are coastal hazards such as storm surge, wave runup, and rip currents; wave theory, particularly long waves including tsunamis and storm surge; the motion of suspended particles and bubbles; fundamentals of turbulent mixing; and most recently, wind-driven waves. Nielsen is a frequent consultant to state and local governments on coastal management and coastal erosion.

He is currently an associate editor for the journal Coastal Engineering and a member of its editorial board. He received the 2013 International Biennial Coastal Award, presented at the Coastal Dynamics ’13 Conference in Arcachon, France. Nielsen has been a consistent and respected contributor to ASCE’s sponsored International Conference on Coastal Engineering. He has also taught numerous classes and short courses throughout the world.

The International Coastal Engineering Award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of coastal engineering in the form of engineering design, teaching, professional leadership, research, planning, or a combination thereof.