Oct. 14, 2005--The following tribute was presented by Michael Chajes, professor of civil and environmental engineering, at the General Faculty Meeting on Oct. 10.
|Ib A. Svendsen
Ib Arne Svendsen, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ocean Engineering, died on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2004.
Prof. Svendsen earned his M.Sc. degree in civil engineering in1960 and his Ph.D. in wave mechanics in 1974, both at the Technical University of Denmark. He came to the United States during the 1982-83 academic year as a visiting professor here at the University of Delaware, and he returned in 1987, when he was hired to chair the Department of Civil Engineering, a position that he held until 1996.
Prof. Svendsen, who held joint appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the College of Marine Studies, is credited with making significant contributions to the advancement of coastal engineering. The author of more than 120 papers in scientific journals and referred conference proceedings, he also contributed to eight books as a co-author or chapter author. Just a week before his death, he completed work on a book-length manuscript, Introduction to Nearshore Hydrodynamics, which he submitted to World Scientific. The book is based on his decades of teaching and research.
Prof. Svendsen was the first researcher to show the importance of a roller at the steep front of a breaking wave in the prediction of undertow currents that cause offshore sediment transport. The roller concept is now widely adopted by other researchers in their nearshore circulation models.
He is also one of a few pioneering researchers who demonstrated the existence of wave-induced three-dimensional currents in surf zones. His theoretical analysis solved the puzzle of lateral mixing for regular waves, and his work also shed light on the turbulence induced by breaking waves. Prof. Svendsens other research contributions include the development of a comprehensive numerical model, called SHORECIRC, for the prediction of nearshore currents.
During his academic career, Prof. Svendsen supervised numerous masters degree students and 16 Ph.D. students. He also taught a wide range of courses in the area of coastal engineering, including port and harbor design, water wave mechanics, offshore design, mathematical methods of structural and ocean engineering, hydrodynamics and coastal engineering design.
It would be easy for me to continue talking about Prof. Svendsens professional contributions, including the many committees he served on and the scientific societies he was involved with, but rather than just listing his civil engineering credentials, I want to try to portray Ib as the many-faceted person he was.
He was not only a dedicated researcher and teacher but also a devoted husband, father and grandfather. In 1994, he was predeceased by his wife of almost 30 years, Alice, with whom he had two children, Kim and Anne-Marie. In 1996, he married Karin Orngreen and gained an extended family of two more children, Jesper and Rikke.
Prof. Svendsen was a man with many passions. He loved to travel. According to his wife Karin, he liked the challenge of learning about other cultures and seeing new places. Together, they enjoyed hiking and walking in the various places that they visited throughout the world.
He also loved art and music, but he was not content to be just a spectatorhe also painted and played the piano himself. He enjoyed visiting art museums, and he and Karin subscribed to Opera Delaware and the Delaware Symphony. They also attended concerts in the various cities that they visited in their travels, especially Copenhagen.
His love of music was limited primarily to the classical genre, although Karin reportedly had some luck in luring him to listen to the Beatles, whose music he enjoyed when it was adapted to a classical format. Other than the Beatles, however, Ib felt that most pop music just doesnt go anywhere.
Similarly, he not only enjoyed visiting botanical gardens, but also loved gardening. This passion was part of his overall love for the outdoors. Neither the heat of summer nor the chill of winter deterred him from spending time on his deck or working in his yard. He loved to bike and play with his grandchildren on the beach.
Ib was also drawn to ships and trains. Once interested in being a shipbuilder, he kept his interest in this subject alive by choosing books on battleships as his bedtime reading. Karin said she often knew that Ib had fallen asleep when she heard the thud of his heavy book as it slid to the floor.
But Prof. Svendsens greatest interest was probably people. Social relationships were very important to him, and he loved holding dinner partiesespecially if Karin was cookingand attending such gatherings at other peoples homes. The couple had an extensive network of friends, and being with other people was a highlight of Ibs life. Talking and debating were among his favorite activities. According to Karin, Ib was Danish to the corecoming from a consensus culture, he listened to people because they had something to say, not because they had a high-ranking title.
Ib Svendsen was only 67 when he died, and like many people who die when thy are still active and vital, he left behind not only a loving family and lots of friends but also many unfulfilled plans. One of the things he missed out on was seeing the new Danish Opera House, which was built on the waterfront of Holmen, an island in Copenhagens harbor, and opened less than a month after his death. He ran out of time to savor the completion of his book and to devote more time to the things he loved like painting, and playing the piano.
On a personal note, as a fellow chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, I feel a special bond with Ib. Hiring of new faculty is one of the most important functions of a department, and a chair leads that process. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a faculty that Ib helped mold. One-half of our current faculty members (10 in all) were hired by him, and I am one of those people (he certainly had great instincts in hiring). And how have those faculty done you might ask? Linda Flamer, the assistant to the chair both then and now, recalls that the departments research funds have grown from less than $1 million when Ib began his chairmanship, to over $7 million this past year. (I guess the faculty he hired have done quite well.)
One memory of Prof. Svendsen that I will always carry with me is a quote of his that I saw in the UD student newspaper, The Review, shortly after I was hired. Upon being asked the question, What do you wish for this holiday season? Ib responded an extra hour in every day. As a young assistant professor with no children, I was somewhat puzzled by his response. However, as a department chair with two children, I now understand it perfectly. Even without that extra hour, as you will undoubtedly hear from the speakers that follow me, Ib did a tremendous job balancing his administrative duties, his scholarly activities, and his family life.
Ib Svendsen will be deeply missed by all who knew him, but we can take some solace in knowing that he lived life to the fullest while he was with us.
Dec. 21, 2004--Ib A. Svendsen, 67, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ocean Engineering at UD, died Dec. 19.
A native of Copenhagen, Dr. Svendsen earned his master's degree in civil engineering and his doctorate in wave mechanics at Technical University in Denmark in 1960 and 1974, respectively. He completed postgraduate work in fluid mechanics at Colorado State University.
Dr. Svendsen held joint appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the College of Marine Studies until his retirement on Aug. 31, 2004. Upon retirement, he was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus.
He is credited with making significant contributions to the advancement of coastal engineering, Nobu Kobayashi, director of UDs Center for Applied Coastal Research, said.
He joined the UD faculty in 1987 and served as chairperson of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering until 1996, when he was named Distinguished Professor of Ocean Engineering. In 1994, he was a visiting professor at Delft University of Technology.
Previously, he was affiliated with the Institute of Hydrodynamics and Hydraulic Engineering at Technical University in Lyngby, Denmark, from 1971-87 and was a visiting associate professor at UD in 1982-83. From 1964-71, he was assistant professor in the Coastal Engineering Laboratory at Technical University in Copenhagen, and he was a research engineer in the Coastal Engineering Laboratory of what is now the Danish Hydraulic Institute.
Dr. Svendsen's research interests included the mechanics of nearshore processes, in particular, wave breaking, wave-induced currents, sediment transport and coastal stability. He also studied computational methods for analysis of 2- and 3-dimensional wave motion in offshore regions and laboratory wave generation.
He was the first researcher to show the importance of a roller at the steep front of a breaking wave in the prediction of undertow (offshore) currents that cause offshort sediment transport. Kobayashi said. The roller concept is now widely adopted by other researchers in their nearshore circulation models.
Dr. Svendsen also was one of a few pioneering researchers who demonstrated the existence of wave-induced 3-dimensional currents in surf zones. His theoretical analysis solved the puzzle of lateral mixing for regular waves, and his work also shed light on the turbulence induced by breaking waves. Dr, Svendsens other research contributions include the development of a comprehensive numerical model, called SHORECIRC, for the prediction of nearshore currents, he said.
The author of more than 120 papers in scientific journals and refereed conference proceedings, Dr. Svendsen also contributed to eight books as a co-author or chapter author. Just a week before his death, he completed work on a book-length manuscript, Introduction to Nearshore Hydrodynamics, which he submitted to World Scientific. The book is based on his decades of teaching and research.
During his academic career, Dr. Svendsen supervised numerous masters degree students and 16 Ph.D. students, who are now making their own significant contributions to the advancement of coastal engineering. He also taught a wide range of courses in the area of coastal engineering, including port and harbor design, water wave mechanics, offshore design, mathematical methods of structural and ocean engineering, hydrodynamics, and coastal engineering design, Kobayashi said.
He served on numerous committees for international scientific conferences and for the Danish government and was a member of several professional and honor societies, including the Danish Institution of Civil Engineers, the Danish Center for Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, the International Association for Hydraulic Research, the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Geophysical Union, the American Society of Civil Engineers and Tau Beta Pi (Eminent Engineer).
In 1991, he was elected a member of the Danish Research Academy's International Faculty, and in 1992, he was elected a foreign member of the Danish Center for Applied Mathematics and Mechanics.
Dr. Svendsen was preceded in death by his first wife, Alice. He is survived by their two children, Ann Marie and Kim; his second wife, Karin Orngreen; two stepchildren, Rikke and Jesper; and two grandchildren.
The family suggests that contributions be made to the Ib A. Svendsen Endowment, c/o Deirdre Smith, 101H DuPont Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716. Checks should be made payable to the University of Delaware, with the memo line indicating that the donation is for the Ib A. Svendsen Endowment. This endowment will be used to support international travel for civil engineering graduate students.
A memorial service for Dr. Svendsen will be held at 3 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 26, in Mitchell Hall.