Dooge, JCI (Jim)

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Jim Dooge


James Clement Ignacius (Jim) Dooge. 1922 (Birkenhead Cheshire) - 2010 (Monkstown County, Eire)


Professor JCI (Jim) Dooge passed away on Friday, 20th August 2010 at the age of 88.

Jim Dooge, friend and colleague of so many scientists, was a giant of a man. His truly outstanding achievements were accomplished with a sense of the highest integrity and yet with compassion and sensitivity for the feelings of those with whom he worked.

Professor Dooge graduated in Science and in Civil Engineering from University College, Dublin in 1942 and in the same year was awarded the Pierce Malone Scholarship in Theory of Structures and Strength of Materials. In 1943 he was appointed assistant engineer on the survey and design of major river improvement schemes in the arterial drainage section of the Irish Office of Public Works. He joined the Electricity Supply Board in 1946, carrying out hydrological and hydraulic studies as a basis for the planning. of hydroelectric schemes. It was at this time that a lifelong interest in hydrology had its beginnings. Jim took this interest in hydrology to the highest scientific level. His careful and thorough study of hydrological systems resulted in seminal contributions to the mathematical modelling of such systems. With time, his interest expanded to cover meteorology and climate.

In 1954 Professor Dooge took leave of absence for two years to become Research Associate and Instructor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Iowa, USA. This period in Iowa added an international dimension to his career which was to grow progressively in subsequent decades alongside his immersion in engineering and public service at home. In 1956, he returned to Ireland to work on the planning and design of a multi- purpose project on the River Shannon, as well as other special projects. Dooge submitted his ME Thesis on Unsteady flow in open channels to the Dublin University College in 1952 and his MS Thesis on Synthetic unit hydrographs based on triangular inflow in 1956 to the University of Iowa.

A new chapter opened for Professor Dooge in 1958 when he was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering at University College Cork. This was to be the beginning of an influential academic career and he was to remain at University College Cork for the next 12 years, moving to University College Dublin in 1970. In tandem with this, the international scope of his work also grew. Since the mid-sixties until recent years, he worked as an expert consultant to a wide range of specialised United Nations agencies including UNESCO, WMO, UNEP, and the FAO. He also acted in an expert consultancy role to DGXII (research) of the Commission of the European Union.

In the sixties, Professor Dooge was active in developing an international network of hydrology scientists and engineers that stretched from the USA to the then USSR. "These contacts were very beneficial, enabling research taking place from all over the world to link up in meaningful ways and, in a sense, helping establish an international hydrological community. Initially, we were an informal group of six. This grew to the point where we had a committee of 12”. Eventually this led to the establishment of the International Commission on Water Resource Systems within the International Association for Hydrological Sciences (IAHS). Jim later served as President of IAHS from 1975 to 1979; subsequently he became Secretary General of the International Council for Science (ICSU) from 1980 to 1982 and President of ICSU from 1993 to 1996.

Typically, Professor Dooge was involved in some of the earliest work done to identify the causes of climate change. He was heavily involved in the discussions within WMO in 1978 that eventually led to the first World Climate Conference being held in Geneva in 1979. He witnessed first-hand the phenomenal growth in climate change awareness: "At that first conference the attendance was almost exclusively made up of scientists and engineers whereas, when the second World Climate Conference took place in 1990, the scientists and engineers were joined by a strong contingent of politicians, a sign that interest in the issues had broadened considerably."

He served the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, Dublin (fellow, 1957; president, 1968–1969), the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin (member, 1973; president, 1987–1990), the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (president, 1975– 1979), the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (member of the executive bureau, 1979–1987), the International Council of Scientific Unions (president, 1993– 1996), and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)/United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) World Climate Program. He was a member and then chairman of the organizing committees of the WMO World Climate Conferences (1979 and 1990) and chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the World Climate Impact Studies Programme of UNEP.

Jim was elected an honorary member of the European Geophysical Society (1993; now the European Geosciences Union), AMS (1994), and the British Hydrological Society (1996). In 1997, the American Society of Civil Engineers awarded him the Ven Te Chow Award for pioneering concepts and theories in hydrology and for leadership in national and international research, consultation, and education. Professor Dooge was awarded the IAHS International Hydrology Prize in 1983 and WMO awarded him its highest prize in 1999, the IMO Prize (which originates from WMO’s predecessor, the International Meteorological Organization). In 2005, Jim received the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering’s Prince Philip Medal from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which recognized him as an outstanding figure in the field of hydrology. In 2005, the Royal Irish Academy awarded him its gold medal “for a life that has been marked by extraordinarily distinguished public service and by scholarship of the highest quality and originality.” Jim received honorary degrees from the universities of Birmingham, United King- dom (1985); Cracow, Poland (2000), Dublin, Ireland (1998); Heriot Watt, UK (2000); Lund, Sweden (1980); and Wageningen, Netherlands (1978). He is one of only 7 hydrologists who have received the Bowie Medal, the most prestigious award of the American Geophysical Union. He was the very first awardee of the John Dalton Medal of the European Geophysical Union.

Most individuals would have been satisfied with such a distinguished scientific and academic career. However, Jim had an equally brilliant political career. Professor Dooge became involved in politics at an early age and was elected to Dublin County Council in 1948. He was twice elected chairman of the Council. He was first elected to the Irish Senate in 1961 and continued to serve in the Upper House until 1987. He was Chair of the Senate from 1973 to 1977 and in 1981 became Minister for Foreign Affairs. Prof Dooge was widely regarded as an inspired choice for the post but his appointment was relatively short-lived because the government lasted only 18 months. He was not reappointed to the cabinet but he was given a significant role in the development of the European Union during the Irish Presidency of 1984. He chaired what became known as the Dooge Committee which drew up a report to the European Council on the framework for institutional reforms. This was a crucial step on the road towards agreement on the Single European Act which led to agreement among the members of the European Economic Community to form the European Union.

Dooge was excellently sketched in a Profile presented in the July/August 1981 Issue of the British journal New Civil Engineer International. It states that ‘The remarkable thing about the man is that he has held down two separate, full time successful careers, politics and civil engineering. He is not an engineer who has turned to politics in later life: Both careers have run in parallel’

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

In 1959, Jim published his paper “A general theory of the unit hydrograph” in the Journal of Geophysical Research (64(2), 241) and received the AGU Horton Medal “for a paper of outstanding excellence in the field of hydrology.” Both the publication and the award brought him international recognition.

In August 1967, at the invitation of Heggie Holtan, director of the Hydrograph Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agricul- ture (USDA), Beltsville, Md., Jim delivered a course of lectures at the Department of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Maryland (Beltsville) entitled “Linear Theory of Hydrologic Systems.” The lectures, published 6 years later as USDA Technical Bulletin No. 1468, became a classic and demonstrated Jim’s method of working: a presumption in favor of simplicity using a small number of parameters, enabling a complete and rigorous analysis.

Jim cultivated research contacts and exchange agreements with academies of science and with universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Italy, Eastern Europe, and China. His lectures and seminars were an inspiration, stimulating dialogue and cooperation, especially among internationally minded scientists facing each other during the years of the Cold War. For example, in Poland, with Jarosław Napiórkowski and colleagues, Jim gen- eralized his linearized channel response for flood propagation in rivers, justifying the flood-routing models of engineering hydrology.

In 1990, WMO launched the idea of an International Conference on Water and Climate that would be held as a preparatory meeting for the famous Rio Summit on the environment and development. It was Jim who arranged for the Conference to be held in Dublin in January 1992. References are still being made at international gatherings to the “Dublin Conference” as the most influential international conference in the field of water. Jim accepted to chair the meeting, skilfully steering the adoption of the "Dublin Principles" that have been influential in shaping water management policy over the last 20 years.

Reference Material[edit]

Arthur Askew obituary

Willi Hager IAHR obituary

Philip O'Kane and Enda O'Connell obituary in EoS (pdf)

Advances in Theoretical Hydrology: A tribute to James Dooge, J. Philip O'Kane (Ed.), Elsevier, 1992, 254pp. (contains a list of publications to 1992)

Major Publications[edit]

Dooge, J. C. (1959). A general theory of the unit hydrograph. Journal of geophysical research, 64(2), 241-256.

Dooge, J. C. (1986). Looking for hydrologic laws. Water Resources Research, 22(9S).

Dooge, J. C., Strupczewski, W. G., & Napiórkowski, J. J. (1982). Hydrodynamic derivation of storage parameters of the Muskingum model. Journal of Hydrology, 54(4), 371-387.

Dooge, JCI. "Hydrology in perspective." Hydrological Sciences Journal 33, no. 1 (1988): 61-85.

Dooge, JCI. "The hydrologic cycle as a closed system." Hydrological Sciences Journal 13, no. 1 (1968): 58-68.

Dooge, J. C., & O'Kane, P. (2003). Deterministic Methods in Systems Hydrology: IHE Delft Lecture Note Series. CRC Press.


AGU Virtual Hydrologist Site with full publication list and link to film interview

Jim Dooge video interview with Dave Dawdy at the AGU History of Hydrology film interviews on YouTube