Preissmann, A

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photo required for Alexandre Preissmann


Alexandre Preissmann 1916 (Neuchâtel, Switzerland) - 1990 (Grenoble, France)


Alexandre Preissmann was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland and studied for a degree in mathematics at ETH, Zurich, graduating in 1938. In 1942 he obtained his PhD for a study of the mathematics of Riemann spaces. From 1946-1958 he worked at the ETH Versuchsanstalt für Wasserbau directed by Eugen Meyer-Peter (1883-1969). Preissmann then moved to Grenoble to pursue science rather than engineering and came under the influence of Francis Biesel (1920-1993) who was a hydraulic engineer developing computer methods. Pressman then formulated an implicit scheme for the solution of the shallow water equations which now bears his name. He went on to join SOGREAH, a company formed in 1955 from a group of design and testing laboratories that turbine manufacturer Neyrpic had operated in Grenoble since the early 20th century. Sogreah already had nearly a half-century’s experience in the design of hydraulic development schemes, hydropower facilities in particular. Pressmen, together with colleagues such as Jean Cunge was involved in many overseas hydraulic modelling projects, including modelling the flow of the Mekong river, a major undertaking given the computing resources at the time.

In the 1970s SOGREAH was one of the original partners of the European Commission funded Système Hydrologique European (SHE) hydrological modelling project, together with the Danish Hydraulic Institute and the UK Institute of Hydrology at Wallingford. The SOGREAH team was led by Alexandre Preissmann and Jean Cunge and had responsibility for the overland and channel routing components of the SHE model.

Pressmen retired from SOGREAH in 1981. He was awarded the Société Hydrotechnique de France prize in 1971, and on his retirement the volume "Engineering Applications of Computational Hydraulics: a homage to Alexandre Preissmann" was produced for him.

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

Originated the Preissman implicit solution scheme widely used for the solution of the St. Venant equations in hydraulic and hydrologic models.

Led the development of the first 2D St. Tenant equation solver for the Mekong River forecasting system.

Led the SOGREAH participation in the SHE modelling project.

Reference Material[edit]

Source: Hager, W., 2003, Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000, CRC Press.

Source: Félix Raemy, 1991, A la mémoire d'Alexandre Preissmann, Ingénieurs et architectes suisses, 117(11), 15 mai 1991

Cunge, J, 1990, Alexandre Preissmann, IAHR Bulletin, 7(3): 29-30.

Cunge, J.A. and Hager, W.H., 2015. Alexandre Preissmann: his scheme and his career. Journal of Hydraulic research, 53(4), pp.413-422.

Major Publications[edit]

  • Preissmann, A and Gilg, B, 1955, Sur l'écartement des flancs d'une vallée sous la pression de l'eau contenue dans un réservoir, 5 ICOLD Congress, Paris, Q18(R38):1-10
  • Preissmann, A, Brepson, R and Clément M L, 1961, Ecoulement en milieu poreux de profondeur finie sous un radier protégé à l'amont et à l'aval pas des écrans d'étanchéité, 9 IAHR Congress, Dubrovnik, 317-323
  • Preissman A and Cunge, J, 1961, Calcul du mascaret sur machine électronique, La Houille Blanche 16(5): 589-596
  • Preissmann, A., 1961, Propagation des intumescences dans les canaux et les rivières, 1 Congrès de l'Association Française de calcul, Grenoble, 433-442
  • Preissmann, A. and Cunge, J A, 1967, Le ressaut ondulé de faible amplitude dans les canaux trapèzoidaux, J. Hydraulic Research 5(4): 263-279
  • Preissmann, A., 1971, Modèles pour le calcul de la propagation des crues, La Houille Blanche 26(3): 219-223
  • Preissmann, A, and Cunge, J A., 1989, Etudes de la stabilité de la régulation de débit dans les canaux d'irrigation, Schweicz Ingenieur und Architekt, 106(6): 161-162
  • Preissmann, A and M B Abbott (eds.), 1982, Engineering applications of computional hydraulic. vol 1, Homage of Alexandre Preissman, Pitman Advanced Publishing Program: Boston