Anton Kruger: How Stuff Works
As a boy, Anton Kruger couldn’t resist dismantling his toys to find out how they worked.
“Nothing was safe when I was around,” he admits. “My mom used to buy us these little wind-up toys. It wasn’t 10 minutes before I would open them and break them to see all the gears and such.”
Kruger still likes to find out how things work. “I sometimes feel like a nerd,” he says. “The same stuff that interested me as a kid, still interests me. I love engineering. I just want to know how this stuff works.”
A native of South Africa, Kruger came to The University of Iowa for a PhD in engineering. After completing his degree in 1992, he accepted a position as a programmer at IIHR. Kruger didn’t know much about the institute when he took the job. “I would wander the hallways, and I would run into these people, and I would have no idea that they’re really famous in their field,” he admits. “I was just clueless.”
No longer clueless, Kruger is now a research engineer, working primarily with the water and air resources group, but also on instrumentation for a variety of IIHR projects. “For me as an electrical engineer, it’s a great vehicle,” he says.
About five years ago, Kruger was named a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. When asked which aspects of his job interest him most, Kruger responds without hesitation. “To be honest, I enjoy working with the students. That’s what I really enjoy.”
He believes the students at Iowa are exceptional. “I would have to say they’re outstanding—very bright, hardworking. They keep me on my toes.”
Kruger gives students the credit for much of what he’s achieved at IIHR, including a recent Iowa Flood Center project to develop cost-efficient stream stage sensors installed on Iowa bridges. “Lots of students were involved—it was a big team effort,” he says.
All in all, Kruger says, IIHR has been a good home for him. “Folks say water and electricity doesn’t mix, but in my case it actually works out pretty well.”