IIHR Currents 2019

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I I H R — H y d r o s c i e n c e & E n g i n e e ri n g

wi nte r 2019 – 20

Celebrating our Centennial

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From the Director


From the Editor


IIHR Centennial


IIHR: A Hundred Years on the Riverbank


A Walk through IIHR’s First Century

14 Nagler’s Pipe Dream 20 IIHR Goes to War 24 Rouse’s Revolution 40 Come Hell and High Water 44 Iowa Flood Center 48 Iowa Geological Survey 54 A Year of Celebration


56 We Are IIHR

Follow IIHR, the Iowa Flood Center, and the Iowa Geological Survey on social media. Director of Development and Communications Carmen Langel Editor/Writer Jacqueline Hartling Stolze Design Benson & Hepker Design Photographer Aneta Goska On the Cover With 100 years of research and stories to share, this issue of IIHR Currents is devoted almost entirely to a pictorial timeline of our history.

ow many times have you walked by the old millstones built into the west entryway to the Stanley Hydraulics Lab, perhaps without giving them a thought? For me, starting when I was a student and now as IIHR director and faculty member — well, it’s simply too many to count! Lately, though, I’ve begun to pause and ponder the millstones for a moment on my way out the door. For one thing, they are beautiful — a testament to the workmanship and industry of a generation that has passed. History is also much on our minds here at IIHR as we begin our centennial year, and it recently occurred to me that the millstones offer an apt metaphor for the solid foundation upon which IIHR is built. Or, with a nod to Sir Isaac Newton, we stand upon the shoulders of giants. IIHR’s founding director, Floyd Nagler, had a passion for rivers, waterpower, millstones, and turbines. Nagler wrote fondly of the “awe and delight” he felt when visiting old water mills. In the 1920s and early ’30s, Nagler directed his staff to keep their eyes open for abandoned mills as they conducted fieldwork around the

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants from the director state. An IIHR survey team found the entryway millstones north of Iowa City in the mud of Mill Creek in Big Grove Township (Mill Creek would later be dammed to form Lake Macbride). Legend has it that Nagler carried the massive stones to his car singlehandedly. While I can’t vouch for this, I do believe that Nagler, with his remarkable energy, focus, and vision, established the hydraulics lab on sturdy bedrock that continues to serve us well, even as we evolve with the world around us. Thanks to Nagler and all the directors, researchers, students, and staff who came after him, IIHR has been able to effectively navigate a changing landscape for a full century. Part of IIHR’s success has to do with the fact that we have remained true to our central pursuit of excellence in fluids-related research and education. But at the same time, the institute has been flexible and visionary enough to understand what is needed at a societal level and to respond, or even foresee, “the next big thing.” Of course, I give much of the credit for this vision and foresight to our “founding fathers” — Nagler and the remarkable directors who followed. They demonstrated an extraordinary ability to see and understand what society needed, often before anyone else did, and to position IIHR to meet the need. To cite just one example, Kennedy foresaw American cities’ need for large underground sanitary and stormwater storage systems to replace aging, inadequate sewers. Under his leadership, IIHR became (and continues to be) a world leader in the design and modeling of the dropshafts, tunnels, and storage chambers essential for modern combined sewer overflow systems.

Over the decades, people have looked to IIHR to address many fluids-related issues. As a world-renowned lab, we respond to these needs with integrity and with purpose, always staying true to Nagler’s vision, which has continued to develop to the present day. It’s not just the directors who have built IIHR — it’s also every person who has ever played a role here over the years. To carry the metaphor a bit further, we stand upon the bedrock of Nagler’s foundational vision; each of us who contributes bears a bit of the load, like a brick in the iconic physical structure we inhabit. We are fortunate to have inherited a magnificent legacy, one that we cherish, honor, and respect. But the world in which we operate continues to change, as it has for 100 years, and we remain well-positioned to address these changing needs, today and in the decades to come. I would like to invite all of you to join us in our centennial celebration in 2020. We have many exciting events planned, especially for our alumni and friends! Please take a look at the details on page 3 and make your plans to attend!

Gabriele Villarini Director, IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Once Upon a River from the editor


often think of myself as IIHR’s storyteller-in-chief, and I can’t think of a better job anywhere! For 10 years, it’s been my job and my pleasure to tell you the stories of IIHR in our annual magazine, IIHR Currents. Ten years is a milestone, but it’s a mere grain of sand compared to the full hourglass of IIHR’s 100-year history. By the way, if you haven’t already heard, IIHR is celebrating its centennial in 2020! We have lots of exciting activities planned and we hope you’ll attend. Please do join us in Iowa City this August to celebrate. But the centennial also presented us with a challenge: how best to cover 100 years of history in the limited space available in IIHR Currents? The solution we landed on was a timeline. We wanted to recreate something like an old-fashioned scrapbook — the kind that your mother or grandmother might have delighted in crafting with scissors and a pot of glue. Scrapbooks at their best are a crazy quilt of photos, artifacts, and impressions that combine to create a joyful, multi-layered experience. We hope you enjoy the results as much as we enjoyed making it! As Carmen Langel (director of development and communications) and I began pondering our communication plan for the centennial, we often thought of how fortunate IIHR is to have a professionally curated archive chronicling our history with documents, photographs, and artifacts. For this we must thank Connie Mutel, our recently retired senior science writer and founding archivist. Connie’s exacting standards of accuracy and the care she took with every detail have been a true gift. She also wrote the definitive history of IIHR from 1920 through 1998, Flowing through Time: A History of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research. My copy of Flowing through Time is dog-eared and bristling with post-it notes. How many times have I referred to it over the last few months? I can’t even begin to guess. Connie’s work has made our jobs so much easier! I have been privileged to collaborate with Connie on the sorting, preservation, and cataloguing of IIHR’s photo archives. It was fascinating and the best possible preparation for this year of retelling IIHR’s history. I don’t claim to be an archivist such as Connie, but I do love history, and IIHR’s archives are stuffed full of stories waiting to be told. I’d like to thank our amazing photographer, Aneta Goska, who also took on the daunting task of scanning and organizing our archival photos. With the help of several students, Aneta provided us with an electronic library of images that we will use for years to come. We hope you enjoy this issue of IIHR Currents, and we look forward to seeing you in August! See you soon, Jackie Hartling Stolze Editor, IIHR Currents Lead Communications Specialist, IIHR P.S. We’re excited to share the news that IIHR Currents won a gold award in the Best Annual Report category of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s “Pride of CASE V” awards program!

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You’re Invited to a Year of Celebration! In 2020, IIHR is celebrating 100 years of hydroscience research on the banks of the Iowa River! We hope you’ll join us for a party of epic proportions. February–October 2020

August 14–16

A River Flowed Through It: Iowa’s Legacy in Fluid Mechanics Free and open to the public

August 12–14

IIHR Reunion Activities Centennial activities designed especially for IIHR alumni and friends For IIHR alumni, friends, and everyone affiliated with IIHR

August 13

Information: https://www.IIHR.uiowa. edu/about/celebrating-our-centennial

The Big Splash! Free and open to the public — come one, come all! With Hancher Auditorium, the UI College of Engineering, and the City of Iowa City, IIHR is proud to present The Big Splash!, a spectacular three-day riverside celebration on the banks of the Iowa River including music, dance, circus arts, and spectacle. https://thebigsplash.org

August 17–19

Eighth International Conference on Flood Management Open to all; registration and fee required https://icfm8.org

Gala Birthday Party A ticketed reunion event for IIHR alumni and friends Tickets will be on sale soon — space is limited!

Reminder: Don’t forget to book your rooms! Visit the IIHR website (https://www.iihr.uiowa.edu) and click on the “Book Your Rooms” button, or visit http://bit.do/bookyourrooms for access to local hotels with blocks of rooms reserved just for us. Wi nte r 2 0 1 9 – 2 0 • 3


a hundred years

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on the riverbank

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by Jacqueline Hartling Stolze

A Walk through

IIHR’s First Century With grateful thanks for assistance from Cornelia F. Mutel, author of Flowing Through Time: A History of


the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research

hat is it that makes IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering so extraordinary? It’s a question we could likely debate for the next hundred years. One thing is clear, however—since its beginnings, IIHR has inspired people to do amazing work. Maybe there’s something in the water here that brings out the best in us. Once upon a time, perhaps, it was more common to feel this strong sense of identity, of cohesiveness, of belonging. Today it is a rarity, and something that we must defend and preserve. It all began with IIHR’s founding director, Floyd Nagler. He brought passion and energy to the new institute; he also treated the institute’s people like family. Later, each IIHR director put his own stamp on the institute. As leaders, they were unique and distinctive, and they inspired fierce loyalty and dedication in their colleagues and employees. People were proud to say they were part of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, just as we take pride in our association with IIHR today. Each of us — whether director, researcher, staff, student, or alumnus — feels that strong sense of identity and mission. IIHR continues to attract and retain top-notch people. We at IIHR also make it a point to honor our history, and to keep it in mind as we move forward. Nagler might be surprised by some the recent developments at IIHR, but he would no doubt be proud of its continued evolution. He would still recognize the same IIHR spirit that he knew in his day. Perhaps most important, we at IIHR understand that we are involved in something bigger than ourselves. Our work has important implications for the well-being of our state, our nation, and our world. It’s energizing to know that IIHR’s research literally makes the world a better place. This sense of context keeps us going when we’re tired, when we’re discouraged, and when we might want to relax and take an easier route. From top to bottom, IIHR’s people care about the institute and give it their best work and deepest commitment. IIHR’s retired senior science writer Cornelia F. Mutel said it well. “People here really love what they are doing. You can sense that energy when you step through the door.” Step through the door with us now for a walk through IIHR’s first century. We hope you enjoy this timeline of important events in the history of IIHR— Hydroscience & Engineering.

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1906 Hunter Rouse is born in Toledo, Ohio.

Washta, Iowa, records the state’s coldest temperature in history at -47°F.


The Keokuk Dam is completed.


Babe Ruth plays in his first major league baseball game.


The Old Terrell Mill, built about 1840, is deeded to the University of Iowa College of Engineering.

The city of Iowa City builds the Burlington Street bridge.

The University of Iowa builds the Burlington Street dam to provide hydroelectric power for the campus. With commendable foresight, UI officials leave a 10-foot gap in the west side of the dam to feed water into a future experimental channel.

Future Hydraulics Lab Director Floyd Nagler graduates from Michigan State with a degree in civil engineering.

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The Chicago “Black Sox” throw the World Series, triggering Major League Baseball’s first big scandal.

The influenza epidemic quarantines more than 40,000 Iowans; more than 20 million die worldwide.

1918 The university’s new Department of Hydraulics and Mechanics designs and begins building a cement retaining wall on the west side of the river and a 130-foot-long research channel that will flow through the Hydraulics Lab.

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WSUI-AM at the University of Iowa begins regular broadcasts of news, music, and Iowa football.


Passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives women the vote.


1921 Nagler marries. He and his wife settle in a house near the lab and together have three children. He is devoted to his family and often takes his children along on work-related outings. Look closely at this photo — you can see at least one child in Nagler’s car.

The first hydraulics lab opens. This 22-by-22-foot structure features a wooden floor that researchers and students can lift away to access the flume for experiments. Floyd Nagler accepts the position as the first director (and sole employee, at least at first) of the hydraulics lab. Nagler sees the lab as a practical facility, supported by industry, that trains students for future jobs. He believes it will serve primarily as a turbine-testing lab.

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The National Park Service dedicates the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The first Grand Ole Opry broadcast brings country music to radio listeners.

The first issue of TIME magazine appears on newsstands.




IIHR culvert research helps solve practical problems for highway improvement. IIHR’s fascination with Ralston Creek begins. Nagler initiates data collection in this small watershed, including flow in the channel and over the ground. This research continues through 1988, creating the longest set of in-depth groundwater data on a small watershed in existence. David Yarnell of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets up an office at the hydraulics lab. The USDA would fund a series of culvert studies at the institute in support of the U.S. highway system, which is in its infancy. Yarnell is the first of several agency representatives to rent office space at the lab, facilitating partnerships and providing muchneeded research funding.

1 0 • IIHR Cu rr ents

IIHR conducts spillway tests at the Keokuk Dam.


Henry Wallace establishes Pioneer Hi-Bred to develop hybrid seed corn, revolutionizing corn yields in Iowa


Charles Lindbergh makes the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic. The Jazz Singer is the first “talkie” (a motion picture with sound) to reach a wide audience.


Voters choose Iowa native Herbert Hoover to be president of the United States.


C. Maxwell Stanley (at left, below, with IIHR Director Floyd Nagler on the right) graduates from the University of Iowa in 1926. He would go on to lead an international engineering consulting firm and become namesake of the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Lab (SHL).

IIHR’s weighing tank (above) is too big for the current Hydraulics Lab, so it is housed in the Engineering Building on the east side of the river.

Nagler, a man of great energy and can-do spirit, begins his quest to expand the Hydraulics Lab. The first of these expansions occurs in 1928 with the opening of a new 60-by-30-foot laboratory (below) with three stories and a basement. It features experimental equipment such as flumes, weighing tanks, measuring basins, a pump room, and a circulating water system. The top floor is dedicated to classroom and office space.

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Stock prices plummet and signal the beginning of the Great Depression, the worst in American history. Mickey Mouse makes his film debut.



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) funds a survey of the future Iowa rivers. Nagler and two survey teams walk Iowa’s rivers and streams to describe their course, depth of channel, etc. Nagler is fascinated by old mills and asks his surveyors to report any abandoned mills they find. The turbine in this photo is from a power plant in Greene, Iowa.

Nagler’s survey team discovers this millstone on Mill Creek during the survey of the future Lake MacBride State Park north of Iowa City. The millstone continues to reign over the original west entryway to the hydraulics lab. According to legend, Nagler carries the massive stones back to his car singlehandedly.

1 2 • IIHR Cu rr ents

Martin Luther King Jr. is born in Atlanta, Ga.

Fireworks accident triggers a fire that destroys most of downtown Spencer, Iowa.

Clarence Birdseye develops a quickfreezing process for vegetables.



USACE establishes a suboffice at the Hydraulics Lab to begin a modeling program that includes Mississippi River dams, spillways, and navigation structures. Nagler plays a key role is establishing the ninefoot navigation channel and the system of locks and dams on the Mississippi. The Hydraulics Lab is so busy that researchers and 15 graduate students conduct experiments 24 hours a day. Nagler resolves to further expand the building.

Nagler expresses his passion for turbines and mills in a collection of turbines (painted black and gold) on display across Riverside Drive from the Hydraulics Lab.

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“At the present time, no American university has a laboratory with better facilities than Iowa’s. When the [1932] addition is completed, the laboratory will probably be unsurpassed anywhere.” Floyd Nagler

Nagler’s Pipe Dream Time to expand — again! The Hydraulics Lab now includes a five-story central tower and a three-story south wing, in addition to the existing north wing. With this project, Nagler triples the 1928 lab’s floor space. The U.S. Geological Survey and Weather Bureau rent space in the new Hydraulics Lab.

1 4 • IIHR Cu rr ents

m Becomes Reality

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Kidnappers abduct the son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt defeats native Iowan Herbert Hoover to become the 32nd president of the United States.

Iowa Secretary of State Viola Miller founds the Iowa Highway Patrol.


1932 Nagler warns the university that future flooding on the Iowa River could exceed even the maximum flood seen so far, potentially “doing an untold amount of damage.”

Nagler formally establishes the Hydraulics Lab as a research institute, and the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research is born. The brand-new IIHR employs a six-man research staff.

IIHR researchers conduct early hydrometeorology studies. Joe Howe, who would later be Hunter Rouse’s closest confidant on academic matters, collects data for the National Weather Service on a volunteer basis for several decades. 1 6 • IIHR Cu rr ents

Prohibition ends with passage of the 21st Amendment. At his first inauguration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt tells Americans, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Drought and high winds in the Midwest spark the Dust Bowl, stripping topsoil from the land and sending it aloft.


Photographer F.W. Kent caught this idyllic view of Nagler’s hydraulics lab as seen from the north.

Nagler suffers a burst appendix and fights off infection for two weeks. Despite his energy and strong constitution, Floyd Nagler dies at age 41.

Wi nte r 2 0 1 9 – 2 0 • 1 7

January and February 1936 bring bitter cold and blizzard after blizzard to Iowa. Temperatures in northwest Iowa drop below zero and stay there for more than a month. An extremely hot, dry summer follows, with temperatures over 108°F at more than 113 weather stations.



Nagler’s unexpected death leaves IIHR without a strong leader. Several directors hold the position for a short time. Combined with the Great Depression, this makes for a difficult decade.

1 8 • IIHR Cu rr ents


IIHR begins its long association with fish passage by conducting fish ladder studies for the Iowa Conservation Commission. The ladders help migrating fish bypass abandoned lowhead dams on Iowa rivers and streams.

Springtime brings high water and ice jams to the Iowa River. The UI power plant across the river exhibits architectural style similar to the hydraulics lab.

Aviator Amelia Earhart disappears over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to fly around the globe.

The Wizard of Oz opens in theaters.

1938 IIHR becomes the Master Test Center for the National Plumbing Lab and conducts research to solve serious plumbing problems in homes, hospitals, and businesses. “Back-siphoning” is not yet fully understood, and contaminated water from toilets sometimes flows into sinks, endangering human health. Through the 1940s, IIHR also helps educate University of Iowa medical students on the dangers of waste back-siphoning.

1939 Hunter Rouse arrives at IIHR. Educated at MIT and in Europe, he comes to Iowa from a position at CalTech. He has already written his first hydraulics textbook, Fluid Mechanics for Hydraulic Engineers. IIHR holds the first of many professional Hydraulics Conferences (below). Held every three years until 1958, these conferences provide an opportunity for networking and information exchange among leading experts in the field.

Rouse in one of only a few existing photos of him in casual dress. Rouse was a stickler for proper professional dress for his engineers — suit and tie, regardless of the day’s activities.

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IIHR Goes World War II brings new research initiatives and funding sources to the hydraulics lab, along with intense pressure and long hours. After others leave for the day, Rouse and Shop Manager Dale Harris frequently work long into the night on classified projects. When their energy begins to flag, they retreat to a nearby all-night diner for ham and eggs to sustain them for a few more hours of work. Around 3 am, they head home for an hour or two of sleep before returning for another day. Occasionally this research was visible to passers-by — case in point, studies of firefighting nozzles for use on U.S. ships conducted in the Iowa River outside the lab. IIHR helped develop nozzles that produced a more focused, powerful water stream that was more effective at putting out fires.

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to War Wi nte r 2 0 1 9 – 2 0 • 2 1

Baseball great Ted Williams bats .400, a record that still stands. War brings an end to the agricultural depression in Iowa.


Iowa’s Fort Des Moines becomes one of the first military training centers for Women’s Army Corps recruits.


The United States enters World War II. Like most of the country, IIHR swings into war mode and takes on many defense-related research projects. At IIHR, the war brings federal funding for defense-related research, including drag on U.S. Navy ships, cavitation around torpedoes, fog dispersal at airports, and firefighting nozzles for the U.S. Coast Guard (pictured here). With this new and essential role to play in war-related research, IIHR gears up to run 24 hours a day.

IIHR’s plumbing lab studies how to redesign grease traps in sinks and drainage systems for large army kitchens.

2 2 • IIHR Cu rr ents

U.S. scientists test the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, N.M. Less than a month later, the United States drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, triggering Emperor Hirohito of Japan to surrender and end World War II.

On D-Day, Allied forces invade Normandy with more than 150,000 troops.

1944 Rouse is appointed director of IIHR and becomes the visionary leader the hydraulics lab needs.

1945 Gas diffusion studies examine how poison gas might move through a model village. Rouse and Shop Manager Dale Harris work late into the night on classified research after others had left for the day.

As the war ends, IIHR refocuses on fundamental research. Rouse believes that applied, practical research (such as the plumbing studies that had seen IIHR through the Great Depression) are not fitting for a university laboratory. He feels strongly that a university lab should focus on fundamental research, and he will keep the lab on that course through his two-plus decades as director. Wi nte r 2 0 1 9 – 2 0 • 2 3

Rouse Re Fluid-Me Teachin

Hunter Rouse, recognized by many as the “father of modern hydraulics,” develops a new curriculum at the University of Iowa that emphasizes scientific principles rather than manipulating equipment. Rouse initiates the first formal fluid mechanics teaching lab at Iowa, designing, constructing, and testing innovative new teaching instrumentation. His designs and methods spread to institutions around the world. Rouse is a demanding teacher, but many students say he taught them more than any other instructor. Photo by F.W. Kent 2 4 • IIHR Cu rr ents

evolutionizes echanics ng Methods

1940s Rouse says that while there is nothing wrong with teaching the use of gauges, calibration of flow meters, measurement of head loss in a pipe, and the like, “the error lies in disregarding the fact that [the engineer] needs to know a great deal more.” (photo: H-Rouse Teaching Cavitation Tunnel) Rouse initiates the first formal fluid mechanics teaching laboratories at the University of Iowa. He designs, constructs, and tests teaching instrumentation at IIHR. For example, in the early 1940s, Rouse designs and builds a complex pipe system to determine resistance to flow through smooth and rough pipes. For decades, this experiment occupies part of the first floor in the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Lab. A refurbished version is still in use today in the new Fluids Lab. (photo: H-Rouse Fluids Mechanics Teaching Lab; and H-Pipe Experiment) Rouse is a demanding teacher, but many of his students would later say he taught them more than any other instructor. Noted Iowa photographer F.W. Kent shot these photos in the IIHR Fluids Lab. (photos: H-Fluids Lab FW Kent photo 2; and H-Fluids Lab FW Kent photo; plus your choice of the others in this folder to fill the spread)

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The U.S. population exceeds 150 million. The Korean War begins.

The United Nations meets for the first time.

1946 Generous, open-ended federal funding continues. Rouse and his team study fundamental questions of cavitation and turbulence in wind tunnels, the fluid mechanics of water flowing through pipes, and bridge scour, just to name a few. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) funds all these projects — no proposal required!

2 6 • IIHR Cu rr ents

1948 Many compare IIHR to a family, which gathers for informal social events like this picnic. In the photo below, John McNown is on the left with his son, and Joe Howe has his arms folded (center).

1950 IIHR researchers begin to convert mechanical research equipment into electronic instruments. IIHR’s Philip Hubbard invents and patents the hot-wire anemometer to measure fluid flow. Hubbard holds many “firsts” — first African American faculty member at the University of Iowa; first African American administrator at any Iowa university; and first African American vice president at a Big 10 university.

U.S. ice skater Dick Button performs the first successful triple jump in figure skating history at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. World War II General Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected to the U.S. presidency.


IIHR studies the effectiveness of woven wire “rock sausages” to protect stream banks from floodwaters.

Longtime Shop Manager Dale Harris (foreground) works under Rouse and later Kennedy, becoming an integral part of IIHR’s many successful model studies.

On warm days, inhabitants of the hydraulics lab can enjoy fresh air by opening the windows! Note the West Annex building at the far left.

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British scientists describe the double helix DNA molecule. The first color TVs appear in stores.


Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin begins hearings on alleged Communist influence in the U.S. Army. Army defense attorney Joseph Welch asks McCarthy on live TV, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” The moment elicits a rapid decline in McCarthy’s popularity, and later that year, the U.S. Congress condemns him for his conduct.


The Iowa Hawkeyes defeat Oregon State at the Rose Bowl, 35–19.


John McNown (right) heads up cavitation studies after the war and takes a major role in turbulence research.

Lou Landweber arrives at IIHR and jumpstarts ship hydrodynamics research at the hydraulics lab. Landweber comes from the navy’s David Taylor Model Basin in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Navy funds the conversion of the channel in the hydraulics lab basement to a towing tank. Pictured here (left to right): Dale Harris, Bob Miller, Lou Landweber, and Kent Tongshyan Tzou.


Rouse, a dynamic man with vast energy and vision, travels the world evangelizing about IIHR and his vision for fundamental fluids engineering education. Rouse puts IIHR on the map and makes the institute a destination for students from around the world. He also develops a series of educational films on fluid mechanics, still in use today, that sets the standard for such motion pictures. 2 8 • IIHR Cu rr ents

Medicare becomes the law of the land, providing medical care for Americans over age 65.

Four North Carolina students begin a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter, initiating a campaign of civil rights sit-ins across the nation.


1966 New Director John F. Kennedy arrives, also from CalTech, at age 33. A vibrant leader, Kennedy believes in a mix of fundamental and applied research. Kennedy welcomes contract funding back to IIHR and facilitates growth in staff and the diversification of research.

IIHR hosts many legendary holiday parties.

Hunter Rouse retires.

The water that we drink and the air that we breathe are vital to life itself, hence they are subjects of widespread study, as is the very blood that flows in our veins.


—Hunter Rouse

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Iowa lawmakers select the geode as Iowa’s official state rock.

1967 IIHR acquires its first in-house computer, funded in part by the U.S. Navy. Kennedy recognizes the impact computers will have on IIHR research. Researchers here go on to conduct some of the earliest computer-based studies on hydrology and hydraulic engineering, including a study of sediment deposition in the Missouri River using a computer to collect data from a physical model. The image at right is a computer simulation of air moving around a baseball.

Enzo Macagno (left) uses the university’s mainframe computer to solve NavierStokes equations, laying the groundwork for future computational fluid dynamics (CFD) work. Meanwhile, Lou Landweber (right) uses computational methods to find solutions to ship wave resistance problems.

3 0 • IIHR Cu rr ents


Iowa adopts state slogan, “Iowa: A Place to Grow.”

1970 Kennedy shows an uncanny ability to predict future directions in research funding and positions IIHR at the forefront of these developments. A few of these new research areas include ice research (IIHR builds the first university-based ice lab); power plants (study of dissipation of heat pollution); flow of water in pipes (including dropshafts and stormwater systems for major cities); and river studies (i.e., Jacob Odgaard’s “Iowa vane” to prevent bank erosion).

An amendment to the constitution lowers the voting age from 21 to 18.

1971 V.C. Patel, an aeronautical engineer, arrives at IIHR. Patel establishes computational fluid dynamics (CFD) as a major IIHR research field and tool. He is also recognized for his teaching skills and for his research on boundary-layer theory, turbulent shear flows, ship hydrodynamics, and more.


Native Iowan Norman Borlaug wins the Nobel Prize for developing disease-resistant wheat.

Until we find a substitute for water or invent a way of preventing extreme weather events that cause flooding, there will be a big demand for hydraulic engineers.

—John F. Kennedy

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Pope John Paul II of Poland becomes the head of the Catholic Church.


Iowa returns to the Rose Bowl but loses to Washington 28–0.

1982 IIHR resumes the fish passage work first taken up in the 1930s when researchers receive a contract to develop techniques for safely passing fish through hydroelectric dams. The Priest Rapids Dam (pictured) is one of the first of IIHR’s many multimillion-dollar fish passage studies for hydroelectric companies in the Pacific Northwest, led by Jacob Odgaard and later Larry Weber (pictured, below and left).

IIHR carries out sediment transport studies throughout its history. Environmental concerns in the 1970s revitalize these efforts.


He was never hard to find. the group that was laughin involved in the most spirit walking the fastest or bein young engineers, who were

3 2 • IIHR Cu rr ents

—Longtime Administrative Assistant Marle

A shooting incident on the University of Iowa campus leaves five dead.

Apple releases the first Macintosh computer.



IIHR researcher Subhash Jain (on ladder below) studies a model of his innovative dropshaft design. IIHR’s dropshafts have modernized combined sanitary and storm sewers in cities around the world.

The Soviet Union collapses.

1991 IIHR Director John F. Kennedy dies of cancer, leaving behind a thriving institute and a rich, diverse, and prolific mix of applied and fundamental research. Associate Director Rob Ettema steps in to serve as interim director.

IIHR’s close, family-like culture expresses itself in numerous parties and social events, like this retirement party for Dale Harris (above, far left) in 1984. Also pictured: Lou Landweber (second from left) and Mrs. Ella Harris (right).

He was the one in the center of ng most heartily; or the one ted debate. He was the one ng approached most often by never slighted by him.


ene Janssen (left), speaking about Kennedy

Wi nte r 2 0 1 9 – 2 0 • 3 3

Nelson Mandela is elected president of South Africa in the first post-Apartheid election.

Flooding in Iowa causes $2 billion in damages.


1994 V.C. Patel is appointed the next director of IIHR.

In July, Iowans watch floodwaters rise in what many think would be the biggest flood of their lifetimes. For the first time, water goes over the emergency spillway at the Coralville Dam. Des Moines Water Works floods, leaving 250,000 people without water. President Bill Clinton declares the entire state a federal disaster area.

Fred Stern (far left) leads the IIHR ship hydrodynamics program, developing CFD codes such as CFDShip-Iowa, which is widely used by the Office of Naval Research and industry. Also pictured: Joe Longo (next to Stern) and Eric Paterson (center).

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Below, IIHR researcher Forrest Holly works with students.

The Simpsons becomes the longest running primetime cartoon television series in history.



Erv Miller is just one of the many experts in the IIHR shop whose dedication and precision make an important contribution to IIHR research.



Thirty-six years after he was the first American to orbit the Earth, astronaut John Glenn returns to space on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

He was a real sweetheart. He was always a very helpful and kind fellow, from a different era.

—Fred Stern, remembering his friend Lou Landweber Lou Landweber (left, center) dies. Always soft-spoken and helpful, he ushered more than 50 graduate students through their studies. They remember his integrity, warmth, support, and humor, which rivaled even his technical achievements. Landweber is pictured here at one of many IIHR picnics with his wife Mae and V.C. Patel. Patel and Subhash Jain lead the first International Perspectives studyabroad course to India. Now the India Winterim study-abroad program, this course continues to attract students eager to learn about the application of water resource practices in a variety of circumstances.

IIHR’s Connie Mutel (pictured here with collaborator, former faculty member, and IIHR researcher Rob Ettema) publishes Flowing Through Time: A History of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, telling the story of the hydraulics lab’s first 78 years. Wi nte r 2 0 1 9 – 2 0 • 3 5

Tiger Woods wins all four major golf titles. Terrorists hijack four U.S. airliners and fly them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York City, killing nearly 3,000.

Retail giant Montgomery Ward goes out of business.

2000 The hydraulics lab receives a Water Landmark Award from the American Water Works Association.

2001 The institute changes its name to IIHR— Hydroscience & Engineering to better represent its broadening research, and at the same time introduces a new logo.

Patel begins a complete renovation of the hydraulics lab, which is renamed in honor of C. Maxwell Stanley (a 1926 graduate of the UI and IIHR). 3 6 • IIHR Cu rr ents

The War in Iraq begins. Mailbox bombs injure six Iowans, including four mail carriers.


The Space Shuttle Columbia explodes, killing all seven astronauts on board.

2003 Nakato helps reintroduce endangered Higgins Eye mussels to the river. The station encourages study of inland rivers and aquatic ecology. Cutting-edge river research from a variety of academic disciplines thrives at LACMRERS, which continues to expand and diversify.

Stanley Hydraulics Lab reopens, offering comfortable and modern office, classroom, and meeting space while retaining its original wet-laboratory character. Tatsuaki Nakato’s vision of a research station on the Mississippi River begins to take shape. A grant from the Carver Charitable Trust allows IIHR to establish the Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (LACMRERS), the first university-owned research facility on the Mississippi.

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The Mars Rover Opportunity confirms that water once existed on the red planet.

Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast, devastating New Orleans. Civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, dies.

A major earthquake and tsunami strike an area from Sri Lanka to Indonesia, killing 290,000.


2005 V.C. Patel retires as director of IIHR.

Larry Weber, an Iowa native and alumnus of IIHR and the University of Iowa, assumes the directorship of the institute. Weber will become known for his statewide leadership on flooding and water-quality issues, as well as his work on fish passage, river hydraulics, watershed processes, and more. The American Society of Civil Engineers recognizes the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Lab as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, citing IIHR’s status as the oldest university-based hydraulics laboratory in the nation continuously focused on research and education in hydraulic engineering.

IIHR hosts the U.S. Geological Survey’s celebration of a century of streamflow monitoring at the Iowa River gauging station just south of Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory. 3 8 • IIHR Cu rr ents

Fred Stern, Pablo Carrica, and others continue to refine and develop CFDShip-Iowa for the Office of Naval Research. This sophisticated numerical code computes ship resistance, analyzes the boundary layer, and measures the ship’s response to resistance and waves.

April tornado strikes Iowa City.

Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change.



Witold Krajewski focuses his research on radar and satellite remote sensing of rainfall, including field data collection with the goal of characterizing small-scale rainfall variability. IIHR’s Clear Creek Observatory hosts several research projects, including the use of tracers to link eroding soils to specific agricultural land uses, water-quality studies, and new cyberinfrastructure frameworks.

The University of Iowa receives a major grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for the Iowa Superfund Research Program, which studies public health problems associated with Superfund chemicals, especially polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). IIHR’s Keri Hornbuckle will become the program’s director in 2018.

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come H High Water 4 0 • IIHR Cu rr ents


In 2008, Iowans learn through hard experience that flooding is Iowa’s new normal.

Iowans learn through hard experience that flooding is Iowa’s new normal.

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U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps wins eight gold medals at the Beijing Summer Olympics.

Powerful Memorial Day weekend storms — including an EF5 tornado in Parkersburg, Iowa — sweep Minnesota and Iowa, leaving seven dead.


Floodwaters overtop the emergency spillway at the Coralville Dam eight miles upstream from Iowa City.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

University officials evacuate all university buildings near the river, including Stanley Hydraulics Lab. IIHR faculty, staff, and students rush to remove computers and other vital research equipment.

The University of Iowa campus near the Iowa River disappears under a muddy, swirling onslaught of floodwater. University of Iowa photos

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June brings record flooding to eastern Iowa, engulfing downtown Cedar Rapids and causing about $750 million in damages to the University of Iowa campus. Repeated rainstorms in June force Eastern Iowa rivers out of their banks, creating an epic flood. This Federal Emergency Management Agency photo shows floodwaters in the small central Iowa town of Colfax.

Barack Obama becomes the first African American to serve as president of the United States. The Swine Flu virus causes global pandemic.

2009 Pumps outside Stanley Hydraulics Lab run 24 hours a day to keep computer and towing tank equipment in the basement from being submerged. The main structure of the building stands firm.

Cedar Rapids residents endure previously unimaginable flooding that forces thousands out of their homes and businesses and inundates more than nine square miles in the city’s downtown. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

University of Iowa photo

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Iowa Flood Ce Helping Iowans Become More Flood-Resilient 4 4 • IIHR Cu rr ents


After the catastrophic flood of 2008, the Iowa Legislature creates the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), as proposed by IIHR’s Witold Krajewski and Larry Weber. Krajewski is the first director of the IFC, which provides Iowans with accurate, scientific information to help them better understand and prepare for their flood risks with improved flood monitoring and prediction. Through collaborations with communities, individuals, government agencies, and decision-makers, IFC brings engineering and scientific expertise to flood-related issues. In 2011, the IFC launches the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), which puts data directly in the hands of the people who need it — emergency managers, public safety personnel, and the general public. With this information, Iowans can make better decisions to protect their property, their families, and their livelihoods.


It was the opportunity to have a team, to set a technical vision for the center, and then get people on board—experts, faculty, researchers, engineers, to work toward the vision.


That’s just beautiful. —Witold Krajewski, director of the Iowa Flood Center

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A BP oil platform explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 and spilling over 130 million gallons of oil.


The final space shuttle lands safely at Kennedy Space Center.


IIHR’s Wave Basin opens.

Research engineers use the 40x20x3meter wave basin to test captive or radiocontrolled model-scale navy ships under a variety of real-life conditions created by the basin’s six wavemakers. IIHR’s wave basin is the first to include local flow measurement capabilities, critical for continued development of simulationbased design tools.

IIHR Currents is born.

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Iowa releases its Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

The Scream, a painting by Edwin Munch, sells at auction for $120 million.


A terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon kills three and injures hundreds.

2013 Faculty members affiliated with the Water Sustainability Initiative join IIHR, bringing together diverse areas of study including chemistry, public health, geography, journalism, and more. This diversity helps encourage new and productive multidisciplinary research collaborations on water-related issues.

IIHR researchers, including student Brice Stafne, LACMRERS Director Doug Schnoebelen, and Stafne’s advisor Larry Weber work to restore habitat and ecosystems in the once-quiet backwaters of the Mississippi River that were lost after the creation of the river’s current lock and dam system. IIHR’s first director, Floyd Nagler, was instrumental in developing this nine-foot deep navigational channel on the Mississippi—a boon to interstate commerce, but with unexpected environmental consequences.

Gabriele Villarini’s climate change– related research with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers helps create climateinformed engineering design.

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Iowa Geological

Expanding IIHR’s Expertise Below Ground 4 8 • IIHR Cu rr ents


The Iowa Geological Survey (IGS) begins a promising new partnership with IIHR. IGS has a long and storied history in Iowa dating back to 1855, when it was created by the Iowa Legislature. IGS scientists bring new capabilities to IIHR, including the mapping of Iowa’s earth and mineral resources, innovative geophysics skills, groundwater modeling, and more. These capabilities, in collaboration with IIHR’s expertise in fluids-related research, contribute to new research advances in hydrological and surface water processes, including river mechanics and watershed processes. This new partnership creates an organization with expertise that covers all aspects of Iowa’s hydrologic cycle — precipitation, evaporation and evapotranspiration, surface flow, infiltration, and groundwater flow. As water becomes an evermore-precious commodity, many Iowa cities, industries, and livestock producers turn to the IGS for expertise on modeling and management of water resources.

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American Pharaoh wins the Triple Crown, horse racing’s most celebrated title. Fire destroys Younkers in downtown Des Moines


Pope Francis visits the United States.


American Idol ends its 15-year run on American TV. The Chicago Cubs win baseball’s World Series for the first time since 1908. Photo by Arturo Pardavila III, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

2016 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards nearly $97M to the state of Iowa for the “Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA) for Urban and Rural Resilience.” This statewide watershed improvement program slows down water moving through the landscape by building farm ponds, wetlands, and other conservation practices in the watershed. IWA restores some of Iowa’s natural resiliency to heavy rainfall, while also improving water quality, adding natural beauty to the landscape, creating wildlife habitat, and restoring ecosystem services.

The Iowa Geological Survey affiliates with IIHR at the University of Iowa.

IIHR’s Ching-Long Lin develops a multi-level model of the human lung, part of a multidisciplinary research effort to improve our understanding of lung function and structure, with the goal of making a difference for patients with lung disease.

IIHR’s Connie Mutel publishes a new book, A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland, that artfully weaves together two threads — her personal life story and the emerging global climate crisis. 5 0 • IIHR Cu rr ents

Hurricane Harvey stalls over Houston, dumping 30–60 inches of rain on the area.

2017 The IWA enhances the ability of communities to respond to and recover from flooding. Residents of the Bee Branch Creek Watershed in Dubuque, battered by multiple flood events, get support and resources to help repair their homes and make them more flood resilient.

IIHR’s oxbow restorations offer an affordable way to re-establish ecological function of the system while also processing nutrients and providing habitat for fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

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Iowa lands the number one spot in U.S. News’ Best States rankings. Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano erupts. Great Britain’s Prince Harry marries American Meghan Markle.


Larry Weber steps down as director. but continues his teaching and research at IIHR, including leadership of the Iowa Watershed Approach



I think it’s a deep-rooted passion and commitment to the state of Iowa. It’s a sense of justice, if you will, a sense of what I believe is right.

—Larry Weber, on why he feels a continuing responsibility to address Iowa’s water resources problems

Troy Lyons and his team take IIHR’s Engineering Services division to new levels of modeling expertise—both physical and computational. They work with a wide range of industries around the world, including energy (hydroelectric dams and wind energy) and municipal water systems (sewer and stormwater conveyance).


IIHR and UI alumnus Gabriele Villarini becomes director of IIHR.

Hunter Rouse would be proud to see IIHR once again taking the lead in efforts to modernize hands-on fluids education. With leadership from IIHR’s James Buchholz and support from the Carver Trust, IIHR shop staff, and many others, the new Fluids Lab opens in the Seamans Center. Rouse’s original pipe flow experiment from the 1940s — moved and updated for the new lab — is one of the focal points (left).

I took this position with joy and enthusiasm, but also with a great sense of responsibility because I recognize the impact of the decisions I make as director. —Gabriele Villarini 5 2 • IIHR Cu rr ents

The Washington Nationals win the World Series for the first time since 1924.


2020 IIHR celebrates 100 years of fluids research with a centennial celebration and The Big Splash!—organized with partners including Hancher Auditorium, the UI College of Engineering, and the City of Iowa City—the biggest party the Iowa River has ever seen!

IIHR’s ship hydrodynamics research program continues to be a world leader. The towing tank in the basement of Stanley Hydraulics Lab, built in the 1950s for Lou Landweber’s research, remains a key part of this work.

A delegation from North Carolina travels to Iowa to share information and learn about Iowa Watershed Approach.

IWA PI Larry Weber’s passion for seeking out ice cream shops around the state achieves legendary status.

IIHR’s Wave Basin expands into new research territory with the construction of a beach and studies of amphibious vehicles and the surf zone. Grad student Andrew Arnold tests the model for his faculty advisor, Casey Harwood. Wi nte r 2 0 1 9 – 2 0 • 5 3

A Year of Ce

Photo by Ching-Long Lin

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The year 2020 marks IIHR’s 100th birthday, to be celebrated with special alumni reunion events, a gala birthday party, tours, an important international flood conference, and The Big Splash!, an outdoor extravaganza of music, dance, circus arts, and spectacle. Wi nte r 2 0 1 9 – 2 0 • 5 5

We Are 1923





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e IIHR 1940




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iihr Currents is published annually by IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering The University of Iowa 100 C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1585 319-335-5237 www.iihr.uiowa.edu

The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs, and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The university also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to university facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, the University of Iowa, 202 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, ia 52242-1316, 319335-0705 (voice), 319-335-0697 (tdd), diversity@uiowa.edu.