Johnson, A Ivan

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Ivan Johnson


A. Ivan Johnson June 3, 1919 (Madison, Nebraska, USA) - August 31, 2011 (Arvada, Colorado, USA).


Ivan was a Civil Engineer by education, receiving a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1949 from the University of Nebraska. He had previously studied at Doane College and at the University of Omaha but his education was interrupted by the Second World War in which Ivan served in the Seebees, the construction arm of the U. S. Navy.

Following his military service, he went to work for the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 1946 and remained with USGS until his retirement from federal service in 1979. Most his time with USGS was spent in Denver, Colorado where he served with great distinction as Chief of the National Water Resources Division (WRD) Training Center. He also spent time at USGS Headquarters in Reston, VA where he was Assistant Chief of the Office of Water Data Coordination.

After his retirement, Ivan established AIJ Consulting, Inc., and was a one man hurricane of activity. He mostly worked in Africa and the near East, serving as a consultant in Turkey, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, and Mexico. He was honored in 1995 by the University of Turkey with a Ph.D. He semi-retired from AIJ in 1999 but remained active in the water resources field for the rest of his life.

I first met Ivan in 1969 when as a relatively new USGS employee, I attended a class at the WRD Training Center. At the time, the training center consisted of one classroom in Building 25 of the Denver Federal Center and Ivan had just assumed the position of Chief of the Training Center. In a few short years, he built the WRD Training Center into a world class facility, in Building 53, capable of running at least four classes concurrently, 52 weeks a year. My estimate is that during Ivan’s tenure as Chief, several thousand individuals from USGS, other federal agencies, cooperating agencies and from foreign countries studied under Ivan’s leadership. Ivan was a hands-on leader. He made the effort to meet every student. His influence on young water resources professionals was outstanding and far reaching.

Ivan was President of AWRA in 1972, its eighth year of existence and following his presidency continued his involvement with AWRA. In 2006, as a means of honoring his work with young water resources professionals, AWRA renamed its award honoring young professionals, the A. Ivan Johnson Young Professional Award. It is the only AWRA award that, at the time, was named for a living person. Ivan was present at the 2006 AWRA Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD, and at age 87, had the honor of presenting the award bearing his name to Rafael Frias. It was a proud moment for Ivan and for AWRA.

Ivan was active in many other organizations including the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) who in 1988 honored him with the first William T. Cavenaugh Award for Standard Eminence (their highest award). In 1997, the USGS honored Ivan with the John Wesley Powell Award for Citizen’s Achievement.

Richard A. Engberg Technical Director, AWRA

Hydrological Achievements

Important in training USGS hydrologists as Chief of the Denver Water Resources Division Training Centre. An international expert on aquifer properties, Karst Hydrology, land subsidence, and climate impacts on water resource systems. Served as First Vice President of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) from 1975 to 1979 and appointed as IAHS Honarary President at Vancouver in 1987. He may be the only person ever to hold the presidencies of 2 IAHS Commissions, namely ICGW (1971-1975) and ICRS (1983-1987).

Reference Material

AWRA Obituaries by Michael Campana and Richard Engberg.

Major Publications

Lamb, H.H. and Johnson, A.I., 1959. Climatic variation and observed changes in the general circulation. Geografiska Annaler, 41(2/3), pp.94-134.

Johnson, A.I. and Furter, W.F., 1960. Salt effect in vapor‐liquid equilibrium, part II. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 38(3), pp.78-87.

Bowman, C.W., Ward, D.M., Johnson, A.I. and Trass, O., 1961. Mass transfer from fluid and solid spheres at low Reynolds numbers. The Canadian journal of chemical engineering, 39(1), pp.9-13.

Hamielec, A.E. and Johnson, A.I., 1962. Viscous flow around fluid spheres at intermediate Reynolds numbers. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 40(2), pp.41-45.

Johnson, A.I., 1962. Methods of measuring soil moisture in the field. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Palmquist, W.N. and Johnson, A.I., 1962. Vadose flow in layered and nonlayered materials. Geological Survey Research, 119, pp.c142-143.

Johnson, A.I., 1963. A field method for measurement of infiltration. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Johnson, A.I., Prill, R.C. and Morris, D.A., 1963. Specific yield - Column drainage and centrifuge moisture content USGS Professional Paper No. 1662-A, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Prill, R.C., Johnson, A.I. and Morris, D.A., 1965. Specific yield - laboratory experiments showing the effect of time on column drainage, USGS Professional Paper No. 1662-B, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Holzer, T.L. and Johnson, A.I., 1985. Land subsidence caused by ground water withdrawal in urban areas. GeoJournal, 11(3), pp.245-255.

Johnson, A.I., 1967. Specific yield: compilation of specific yields for various materials. US Government Printing Office: Washington, DC

Morris, D.A. and Johnson, A.I., 1967. Summary of hydrologic and physical properties of rock and soil materials, as analyzed by the hydrologic laboratory of the US Geological Survey, 1948-60 (No. 1839-D). US Govt. Print. Office: Washington, DC.

A. I. Johnson, Laura Carbognin & L. Ubertini, eds., 1986. Land subsidence. International Association of Hydrological Sciences Publication No. 151: Wallingford UK.

Johnson, A.I., Moston, R.P. and Morris, D.A., 1968. Physical and hydrologic properties of water-bearing deposits in subsiding areas in central California, USGS Professional Paper No. 497-A, Washington, DC.

Johnson, A.I., 1996. Limnology, climatology and paleoclimatology of the East African lakes. CRC Press.