Zbigniew Kabala

Associate Professor of Civil Engineering

103 Giles

Born and raised behind the Iron Curtain, Dr. Zbigniew J. Kabala is a naturalized United States citizen who cherishes the freedoms and opportunities granted by this country. He follows politics with great passion and occasionally writes about it on Mic. Dr. Kabala earned his master's degree in civil engineering in 1980 from Poznan Polytechnic in Poznan, Poland, and master's degree in mathematics in 1982 from A. Mickiewicz University in Poznan. At Princeton University, he earned another master's and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering and operations research in 1985 and 1988, respectively. Next, Dr. Kabala held one-year postdoctoral appointments at the MIT in the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory and at the UC-Berkeley in the Department of Soil Science. He was then appointed an assistant professor of hydrology in the Department of Soils and Environmental Sciences at the UC-Riverside. He joined the Duke faculty in the summer of 1994. Dr. Kabala's principal research interests cover stochastic and deterministic theory of fluid flow and contaminant transport in saturated and unsaturated heterogeneous porous media, theory of related measurements, field and laboratory studies in subsurface hydrology, stochastic fields and processes, numerical and analytical methods and sensitivity analysis. His current research focuses on developing new measurement techniques for characterization of porous media, recovering contaminant release histories from current plume observations, and stochastic modeling of water and solute transport in saturated and unsaturated heterogeneous formations.

Dr. Kabala has served as a faculty in residence (FIR) in Southgate Dorm on the East Campus for a number of years. He enjoys his interactions with students outside of class. He organized or sponsored many events such as:

  • open houses with watching movies and/or discussions of issues of interest to students (drinking age policy, politics, global warming, affirmative action, etc.)
  • formal debates on controversial issues such as legalization of drugs, why equal rights of our kids to public education should be treated as a civil rights issue, etc
  • visits to the local landfill to realize how much garbage we are producing
  • a visit to the Duke Forest FACE Site and discussion with Professor Ram Oren, PI on the project
  • white-water rafting trips with Soughgate students
  • Iron Chef competition between the dorms of Neighborhood 3 (televised by Duke TV channel)
  • Mathematica workshops
  • Racquetball workshops

Dr. Kabala is an avid member of Toastmasters International, where he hones his public speaking skills while simultaneously serving as Division G Governor in North Carolina. In his free time, he enjoys racquet and water sports, hiking, reading, and listening to jazz.