riparian rap

Scientist, Steven Vogel has died.

Scientist Steven Vogel died today.

In early 2007 I called Steven Vogel out of the blue — we’d never met — expecting a short, maybe even hostile response from such an important man.

We talked for over an hour that first time, and that hour profoundly influenced me and Little River Research.  I knew there was a need for a small turnkey teaching flume and hoped to answer it; he mentioned “swim tunnels” in his papers.

He sent me a stack of notes, and many digital files and said “build it, the world needs it!  I’ll help any way I can.”  He never mentioned money or credit.

With amazing scientific and technical skill, and all the math and physics down to basic theory, Dr. Vogel figured out that a ducted propeller (not a noisy, heavy inefficient centrifugal pump) was the way to go with small flumes.  So we used that.

Vogel’s 2007 drawing of a “flow tunnel,” unpublished.
Vogel’s realization of his theoretical best, emailed to me. He said “I’m not good with construction.”

Steven Vogel is a hero to me, an amazing cross-disciplinary scientist, educator, researcher, and communicator.  He could do jaw-dropping technical work; his writing was unparalleled; he got away with wry humor in even his journal articles.  His books are marvelous that way.

He cared about educating people, about exposing as many people as he could to the beauty of biomechanics and, as the title of one of my all-time favorite academic books reads, “Life in Moving Fluids.”

I never met him face to face, but I see his aims in everything he produced.  He funded much of his research personally.

Thank you, Steven Vogel.  We shot this video just a couple of weeks ago, for a major launch of our model; and I intended to tell you that this week.

Emflume1 two-minute overview from Little River Research on Vimeo.