Though the essence of the scientific literature is to be a repository of unaffiliated truths, scientific advancement fundamentally stems from the insights and efforts of individuals. This dichotomy can hide exemplars for young scholars of how to contribute to scientific understanding. This section of Water Resources Research addresses eminently successful strategies for advancement of the science of hydrology by exploring the ramifications of the work from Drs. Wilfried Brutsaert and Jean-Yves Parlange, colleagues who made many of the most significant contributions to the understanding of hydrologic processes of the last 50 years. The generous scope of the special section follows the key areas of their contributions, but the content looks forward from their work. Important and novel results span solute transport, infiltration, streamflow generation, and evaporation.