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Influential Prof Makes Impact on Darfur

Center for Remote Sensing director Farouk El-Baz is named the 13th most influential Arab by Arabianbusiness.com

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Farouk El-Baz, a research professor and director of BU’s Center for Remote Sensing, was recently named the 13th most influential Arab by Arabianbusiness.com. El-Baz, a native of Egypt, was number 84 in last year’s rankings. According to the site, “The list includes influential Arabs who have had the greatest impact in the past year as sportsmen, doctors, scientists, academics, poets, and artists.”

El-Baz, a pioneer in using space-based radar for groundwater exploration, has recently been working in the Darfur region of Sudan. Darfur has suffered extended droughts over the past two decades, which the United Nations believes is the leading cause of violence there. El-Baz is the first to map the perimeter of a vast underground lake — approximately the size of Lake Erie — in the area and has called for the drilling of 1,000 groundwater wells.

His work has drawn international recognition, including an ABC-World News feature. The feature in turn has led to an unsolicited donation from the Carbon Project, Inc., of 15 software licenses to be used by BU researchers and students.

El-Baz’s groundwater discoveries, in Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, and Oman, earned him the M. T. Halbouty Human Needs Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 1996. He was appointed senior advisor to the World Bank/UN World Commission on Water for the 21st Century. He is the author or editor of 12 books, a member of various scientific councils and societies, and a recipient of many honors and awards, including NASA’s Apollo Achievement Award, Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, and Special Recognition Award.

Rebecca McNamara can be reached at ramc@bu.edu.

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