Search icon

In Memoriam – Dr Pierre Hubert

Pierre Hubert (1943–2020) passed away on 31st December 2020. On behalf of all members of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, we wish to express our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Pierre graduated with a degree in engineering from the Ecole Centrale in Paris in 1967, and was awarded his PhD in 1971 and his Habilitation (Doctorat ès Sciences) in hydrology in 1986 from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. He worked from 1971 to 2007 for the Ecole des Mines de Paris.

He had wide-ranging research interests in hydrology and was at the leading edge of science in several areas, including isotopic hydro(geo)logy, modelling, scaling (fractal and multifractal), geostatistics and change detection. The Hubert segmentation method is now a key tool for any hydro-climatologist addressing the question of change. His methodological developments led to improvements in the design of monitoring networks, to enhanced understanding of processes and patterns, and to the modelling and optimization of resource and hazard management.

Pierre developed bilateral and multilateral cooperation initiatives with Quebec, Tunisia, Algeria, West Africa, Romania, Russia and beyond, supporting individuals, groups and networks. All this he undertook with a deep trust that the humanistic values of science and education are universal and independent from politics.

He was a long-term contributor to the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme and the WMO Commission for Hydrology. He was President of the French IAHS, then IUGG chapters, from 1990 to 2000. After various roles in IAHS commissions and publications, he was Secretary General of IAHS from 2000–2011. It was during this time that the IAH-IAHS joint congress in Hyderabad took place.

Pierre Hubert received the IAHS–UNESCO–WMO International Hydrology Prize / Volker Medal in 2015 in recognition of his scientific excellence and engagement with the community. For similar reasons, he was made knight of the Légion d’honneur in France. The many messages shared across various networks acknowledge this double reputation, and they also list countless anecdotes and testimonials of how Pierre ceaselessly blended the ventures of science and humanity.

We thank Prof. Christophe Cudennec, Secretary General of IAHS, for use of his words and a full obituary in English and French is available at

Back to News