Victor R. Baker is Regents’ Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources, Geosciences, and Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona. He received a B.S. in Geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1967 and a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Colorado in 1971. After working as a hydrologist and geophysicist for the U.S. Geological Survey in New York and Colorado, he was on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin from 1971-1981, advancing to the rank of Full Professor. In 1981 he moved to the Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, first a Full Professor, and then in 1988 as one of The University of Arizona's first Regents' Professors. From 1996-2004 he was the Department Head of the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona.
Baker has authored or co-authored more than 1000 scientific contributions, including 18 books, 400 research articles and chapters, more than 485 abstracts and short research reports (nearly all of them associated with papers that were presented at professional meetings, conferences, and workshops), 34 extended technical reports; 42 encyclopedia articles; 39 published book reviews; plus guidebook contributions and various other writings, including popular works in science. His research has concerned paleoflood hydrology (a field of study that he defined in the 1970s and 1980s); flood geomorphology; channels, valleys, and geomorphic features on Mars and Venus; catastrophic Pleistocene megaflooding in the northwestern U.S. and central Asia; history/philosophy of Earth and planetary sciences; and the interface of environmental science with public policy. Professor Baker has been President of the Geological Society of America (1998), Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Section on Geology and Geography (1992-93 and 2008-2009), and President of the International Union for Quaternary Research Commission on Global Continental Paleohydrology (1995-99). Among his honors are Foreign Membership in the Polish Academy of Sciences (1994); Honorary Fellowship in the European Union of Geosciences (1999); the David Linton Award of the British Society for Geomorphology (1995); the Distinguished Scientist Award (2002) and Distinguished Career Award (2010), both from The Geological Society of America Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division; the Inaugural International Lectureship of the Geological Society of America (2012-2013), a Fulbright-Hays Senior Research Fellowship (1979-1880); an Indo-American Fellowship (1987-1988); and professional society Fellowships respectively in the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Geological Society of America, and the British Society for Geomorphology. His work on megafloods has been featured in multiple television documentaries for PBS, BBC, and the National Geographic, Discovery and History Channels, including the 2005 NOVA production “Mystery of the Megaflood.”