Odgaard Wins H.A. Einstein Award

May 23, 2019
IIHR's Jacob Odgaard poses in a student study area of the Seamans Center for Engineering

IIHR’s Jacob Odgaard recently received the H.A. Einstein Award for his professional accomplishments.

IIHR’s A. Jacob Odgaard recently received the prestigious Hans Albert Einstein Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for his leadership and tireless effort in the field of sediment transport and river erosion control. Odgaard accepted the award at the ASCE’s 2019 World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in Pittsburgh.

Odgaard’s career has taken him from the Technical University of Denmark (his native land) to a position with the United Nations, and later, a postdoc at Cambridge, U.K. Next came a job at the Danish Hydraulic Institute, which took him to nearly all corners of the world.

When he came to IIHR 1977, Odgaard worked on an astonishing number of research projects, including some of the institute’s most influential work.

Odgaard’s expertise includes environmental fluid mechanics, river mechanics, hydraulic structures, and hydraulic modeling. Among his recent accomplishments are the design and patent of a double-curved sediment control structure for rivers; development of techniques for stabilizing rivers and mitigating stream bank erosion (the famous “Iowa vanes”); development of alternative fish diversion schemes for hydropower projects; and design optimization of drop structures for transfer of storm and wastewater to deep underground tunnels.

Odgaard’s many honors include the following ASCE awards: Hydraulic Structures Model in recognition of his innovations in experimental and engineering design; Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize; and appointment as editor of the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. In 2009, Odgaard received the University of Iowa College of Engineering Award for Exceptional Service, and in 2012 he was presented with the EWRI/ASCE Lifetime Achievement Award.

One of Odgaard’s most recent publications is River Training and Sediment Management with Submerged Vanes, a book published by the ASCE Press in 2009. He is a fellow of ASCE and a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Iowa. His consulting activities span the globe. Odgaard is also an avid pilot who serves as a flying instructor.

JAcob Odgaard and one of his flying students pose on the tarmac with a plane.

Odgaard is an avid pilot who enjoys instructing new pilots.

Odgaard continues to serve his profession as dean of the School of Architecture and Design at Southwest Jiatong University in China, where he is involved with the development and implementation of an internationalization strategy.

The Hans Albert Einstein Award is given to a member who has made a significant contribution to the engineering profession in the area of erosion control, sedimentation, and/or waterway development in teaching, research, planning, design, or management.