Prof. Philippe Van Cappellen

Winding His Way Through History

When not studying how water interacts with ecoysystems, this professor likes taking a look back, be it at World War I or the titans of classic rock.


Prof. Philippe Van Cappellen is a Professor and the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ecohydrology at the University of Waterloo. We ask him everything from what historical figure he would like to meet to what’s on his playlist in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you read?
I love history. This year, I devoured several accounts on World War I and I am currently working my way through the history of China. On the lighter side, I indulge in science fiction and magical realism. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is definitely one of my favourite novels.

What’s on your playlist?
Blues, classical music and the great rock bands of the 70s. I kind of got stuck with my teenage musical heroes.

If you could meet any historical figure who would it be and why?
Charles Darwin. He embodies my ideal of the explorer/scientist/gentle(wo)man.

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?

What do you like to do for fun?
Science, of course.