Zbigniew Kabala

Associate Professor of Civil Engineering

103 Giles and supporting Jarvis

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. Dr. Kabala earned his master's degree in civil engineering from Poznan Polytechnic in Poznan, Poland, and in mathematics from A. Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. At Princeton University, he earned another master's and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering and operations research, respectively. Next, he held one-year postdoctoral appointments at MIT and at UC-Berkeley. His first faculty appointment was at the UC-Riverside. Dr. Kabala joined the Duke faculty in the summer of 1994. His 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. He teaches undergraduate Fluid Mechanics course (CEE 301L) and Engineering Communications (EGR 206). 

Dr. Kabala served as a Faculty In Residence (FIR) in Southgate Dorm on the East Campus for a number of years. In 2018, he was appointed a FIR in Giles and East Dorms. He enjoys living there with his wife and their West Highland Terrier named Oscar. This terrierist has a big bark, but actually is a shy yet very sweet dog. Oscar's main job is to ensure that no squirrels are on the grounds. 

Dr. Kabala 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 dorm debates on controversial issues such as pro-choice v pro-life, legalization of drugs, why equal rights of our kids to public education should be treated as a civil rights issue, etc
  • debates over catered dinner sponsored by http://www.dukeconversations.com/
  • visits to the local landfill to realize how much garbage we are producing
  • hikes along Eno River and/or New Hope Creek Trails
  • white-water rafting trips on the New River in West Virginia 
  • 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. In his free time, he enjoys racquet and water sports, hiking, reading, and listening to jazz.