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Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

University History Series 

Robert L. Wiegel 

With Introductions by 
Rodney J. Sobey 

Orville Magoon 

An Interview Conducted by 

Eleanor Swent 

in 1997 

Underwritten by 
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 

Copyright 1997 by the Regents' of the University of California 

Since 1954 the Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading 
participants in or well-placed witnesses to major events in the development of 
Northern California, the West, and the Nation. Oral history is a method of 
collecting historical information through tape-recorded interviews between a 
narrator with firsthand knowledge of historically significant events and a well- 
informed interviewer, with the goal of preserving substantive additions to the 
historical record. The tape recording is transcribed, lightly edited for 
continuity and clarity, and reviewed by the interviewee. The corrected 
manuscript is indexed, bound with photographs and illustrative materials, and 
placed in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 
other research collections for scholarly use. Because it is primary material, 
oral history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete 
narrative of events. It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in 
response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved, 
and irreplaceable. 


All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal agreement 
between The Regents of the University of California and Robert L. 
Wiegel dated January 8, 1997. The manuscript is thereby made 
available for research purposes. All literary rights in the 
manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to The 
Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. No part 
of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written 
permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library of the University 
of California, Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be 
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library, 
University of California, Berkeley 94720, and should include 
identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated 
use of the passages, and identification of the user. The legal 
agreement with Robert L. Wiegel requires that he be notified of the 
request and allowed thirty days in which to respond. 

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: 

Robert L. Wiegel, "Coastal Engineering: 
Research, Consulting, and Teaching, 1946- 
1997," an oral history conducted in 1997 
by Eleanor Swent, Regional Oral History 
Office, The Bancroft Library, University 
of California, Berkeley, 1997. 

Copy no. 

Robert L. Wiegel, 1976. 

Cataloguing information 

Wiegel, Robert L. (b. 1922) Civil engineer 

Coastal Engineering: Research, Consulting, and Teaching, 1946-1997, 
1997, ix, 327 pp. 

Oakland childhood, UC Berkeley, 1940-1943; ROTC experience, Army 
Ordnance officer, England, France; graduate studies in coastal and ocean 
engineering at UCB: wave and beach research, tsunamis, risk analysis, 
turbulent motion; thoughts on synergy of sharing ideas, value of 
publication, advising and mentoring graduate students; UC Berkeley 
College of Engineering teaching and governance, 1957-1987: acting dean, 
1972-1973, work with State Coordinating Council for Higher Education, 
State Technical Services Program from 1965 to 1968, and technology 
transfer; consulting and public service: Namibian diamond project, Hilo 
tsunami protection, Alaska beach nourishment, Nile Delta, Papua New 
Guinea port construction, Sines (Portugal) breakwater, Strait of Hormuz, 
Mica Dam, oil platforms in North Sea and Gulf of Mexico, pipelines in 
Patagonia and Alaska, Manfredonia (Italy) breakwater; contribution to 
California Advisory Commission on Marine and Coastal Resources, Office 
of Naval Research Natural Hazards Review Board, Coastal Engineering 
Research Board. 

Introductions by Rodney J. Sobey, Professor of Civil and 
Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley; Orville Magoon, Vice 
Chairman, Coastal Engineering Research Council of the American 
Society of Civil Engineers, and President, Coastal Zone 

Interviewed 1997 by Eleanor Swent for University History series. 
The Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University 
of California, Berkeley. 



INTRODUCTION by Rodney J. Sobey iii 

INTRODUCTION by Orville Magoon iv 



I EARLY YEARS, 1922 TO 1940 1 
The Wiegel Family 1 
The Decker/Carothers Family, in California Since 1868 2 
Father, Stanford 1906, and the Ocean Shore Railroad 4 
Good Schools in Oakland 8 
A Summer in Hawaii, 1930 11 

Before World War II 17 
ROTC and Accelerated Studies in Wartime 20 
Mechanical Engineering Professors Boelter, O'Brien, Folsom 23 
Senior Laboratory: Terribly Difficult in One Semester 24 

Motor Vehicle Repair and Leadership Training 27 
Ordnance Service near Cheltenham and in Paris 28 

Full-time Research Employee 33 
The Bikini Test: Would Operation Crossroads Cause a Tsunami? 34 
Wave and Beach Research for the Bureau of Ships 42 
Security Clearance 43 
Beach Traf f icability, Liquefaction, Surf Forecasting 44 
Harry Seed and Others: The Synergy of Sharing Ideas at the 

University 45 

College Avenue Pool a Hydraulic Model Basin 48 

Field Work and Theory; Engineering and Science 49 

Improving Risk Analysis and Probabilistic Models 50 

Project Engineer for Wave Research with the Marine Corps 52 

Operation MIKI /Manual of Amphibious Oceanography 54 

Pioneering Research on Seakeeping Capability of Ships 54 

Curtis Crooke, Later of Global Marine 55 

Development of The Morison Equation 55 

Rapid Deployment Concepts for the Navy 56 

Calculating Behavior of Moored Ships: Six Degrees of Freedom 59 
Project Engineer to Study Drag and Inertia in the Ocean for 

Signal Oil and Gas 60 

The Value of Publication in Journals to Disseminate Knowledge 62 

Research on Portable Breakwaters Leads to Studies of Mixing 

Processes 64 

Observations on Peak Load Anticipate Science by Thirty-Five 

Years 65 

Analyzing Turbulent Motion; "We Don't Understand the Simplest 

Things" 65 

The Caldwell Equation 69 

TEACHING AT CAL, 1957 TO 1987 75 

Irrigation 117 at the University of California at Davis 75 
The Benefits and Effects of Consulting to Test Professional 

Engineering Ability 76 

Consulting on a Breakwater Project at Subic Bay in the 1950s 77 

Advising Bechtel and GE on a Power Plant in India 79 
Professors Wiegel and Johnson Did Not Neglect Their Classes for 

Consulting Work 81 
Committees for Engineering Education; Saving the Program at 

Irvine 82 

The Importance of Faculty Socializing 84 

Changing Academic Schedules from Semester to Quarter System 86 

Teaching in the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory at Berkeley 87 

The Pelton Wheel: Materials Change, but Principles Do Not 88 

Full Professor of Civil Engineering, 1963 90 
Environmental Engineering: Quantitative Treatment, Costs, and 

Tradeoffs 90 

The Junior Course in Fluid Mechanics: Small Lecture Sections 92 

Laboratory Sessions Were Also Essential 93 

Outstanding Students Condit, Beebe, Prins, et al. 95 

The Master of Engineering Degree with a Non-Scientific Minor 96 
The Alumni Network of Worldwide Importance for International 

Understanding 97 
Teaching Coastal Engineering at the National University of 

Mexico 98 

The Successful Work-Study Program 101 

Grade Inflation Did Not Mean Lower Quality Students 103 
Berkeley's Successful Extension Program for Continuing Education 104 

The First-Ever Short Course in Earthquake Engineering 105 

The Resulting Textbook: Another Aspect of Teaching 106 

Chair of the University-Wide Extension Program 108 
Member and Chairman of Chancellor's Advisory Committee on 

Education of Military Officers (ROTC) 110 
The Importance of Having Well-Trained Civilians in the Military 111 

Advising Graduate Students: Matching Talents and Problems 112 
A Practical Problem with Pumps in India Leads to Research 

Projects 113 

Pioneering Research on Mixing of a Surface Buoyant Jet 116 

Some Special Graduate Students from Egypt 118 

The Richmond Field Station 122 

Development of Pioneering Wave Generators 123 

Pre-Feasibility Studies for the Polaris Missile 124 

Graduate Students and Surfing 126 

Teaching Students to Write and Speak Persuasively 126 

Teaching the Use of a Specialized Library 128 
Inventing the Term Oceanographical Engineering and Authoring 

the Book 128 

Director of the State Technical Services Program, 1965-1968 131 
Attending Meetings of the California Coordinating Council 

for Higher Education 136 

University Organization More Like a Symphony Than a Business 138 

The Engineering Advisory Council Develops a Master Plan, 1965 139 
Member of the Institute of Marine Resources Executive 

Committee, 1966-1972 141 

Service on Coordinating Boards and Academic Senate Committees 145 

The Most Difficult Year: Acting Dean, 1972-1973 153 

More About the State Technical Service Program 158 

The Challenge of the Information Age and Data Management 163 

Wave Sensor; Example of Technology Transfer 165 
Introducing Television Instruction through University Extension 171 

Publication Resulting from Conferences and Workshops 173 
Sponsoring Technical Assessment to Correct Public 

Misinformation/Perceptions 179 

Some International Conferences on Coastal Engineering/Councils 185 

An Innovative Sand Breakwater at a Namibian Diamond Project 193 

California Advisory Commission on Marine and Coastal Resources 197 

Office of Naval Research Natural Hazards Review Board 201 

Engineering Committee on Ocean Resources 202 

More on the Use of TV in the College of Engineering at Cal 206 

Hindcasting Wave Conditions 209 

Civilian Member on the Coastal Engineering Research Board 213 

Photographs 220 
Technical Advisory Council for Tsunami Protection for Hilo, 

Hawaii 223 

Nature's Always Responding to the Last Major Event 227 

Advising on the Coastal Construction Control Line in Florida 228 
Evaluating Orange County, California, Reports and 

Recommendations 229 

Beach Nourishment Advisor in Barrow, Alaska 230 

Examining the Nile Delta 231 

Advising on a Port for Papua New Guinea 232 
Study of Sines, Portugal, Breakwater Disaster Led to Watershed 

Changes 233 

The 0' Shaughnessy Seawall: A Lesson in Good Engineering 237 
Adjudicating a Dispute over a Breakwater in the Strait of Hormuz 240 

Kittimat, Canada: Local Tsunami 242 
On the Board of Engineers of the Mica Dam, World's Second 

Biggest Earthfill Dam 242 

Designing Steel Platforms in the Forties Field, North Sea 244 

Helping to Design the Cognac Platform in the Gulf of Mexico 245 

A Tension-Leg Platform, a New Technique 246 

Pipelines: Patagonia/Alaskan North Slope 247 

A Breakwater for Manfredonia, Italy 247 

You Absolutely Have to Read: the Importance of Archives 248 

The Southern Swell 251 


Match a Problem with a Student, Encourage, and Wrap It Up 254 

Thoughts on the Political Aspects of Coastal Engineering 256 

More on the California Coastal Commission 258 

A Particularly Interesting Trip to Russia in 1971 261 

The Coastal Engineering Research Center 264 

Final Thoughts on Balancing Coastal Uses 269 



A Guest Editorial, "The Coast and Professor Robert L. 

Wiegel," Thomas R. Kendall, Shore and Beach. 

July 1994. 272 
B "Keynote Address," Ben C. Gerwick, Jr., Shore and 

Beach. July 1994. 274 
C "Professor Wiegel' s Legacy," Choule J. Sonu, Shore 

and Beach. July 1994. 276 

D Robert L. Wiegel, Curriculum Vitae. 279 

E Robert L. Wiegel, Publications, as of 31 December 1996. 287 

F University History Series List. 299 

INDEX 310 


When President Robert Gordon Sproul proposed that the Regents of the 
University of California establish a Regional Oral History Office, he was 
eager to have the office document both the University's history and its 
impact on the state. The Regents established the office in 1954, "to 
tape record the memoirs of persons who have contributed significantly to 
the history of California and the West," thus embracing President 
Sproul 's vision and expanding its scope. 

Administratively, the new program at Berkeley was placed within the 
library, but the budget line was direct to the Office of the President. 
An Academic Senate committee served as executive. In the four decades 
that have followed, the program has grown in scope and personnel, and the 
office has taken its place as a division of The Bancroft Library, the 
University's manuscript and rare books library. The essential purpose of 
the Regional Oral History Office, however, remains the same: to document 
the movers and shakers of California and the West, and to give special 
attention to those who have strong and continuing links to the University 
of California. 

The Regional Oral History Office at Berkeley is the oldest oral 
history program within the University system, and the University History 
Series is the Regional Oral History Office's longest established and most 
diverse series of memoirs. This series documents the institutional 
history of the University, through memoirs with leading professors and 
administrators. At the same time, by tracing the contributions of 
graduates, faculty members, officers, and staff to a broad array of 
economic, social, and political institutions, it provides a record of the 
impact of the University on the wider community of state and nation. 

The oral history approach captures the flavor of incidents, events, 
and personalities and provides details that formal records cannot reach. 
For faculty, staff, and alumni, these memoirs serve as reminders of the 
work of predecessors and foster a sense of responsibility toward those 
who will join the University in years to come. Thus, they bind together 
University participants from many of eras and specialties, reminding them 
of interests in common. For those who are interviewed, the memoirs 
present a chance to express perceptions about the University, its role 
and lasting influences, and to offer their own legacy of memories to the 
University itself. 

The University History Series over the years has enjoyed financial 
support from a variety of sources. These include alumni groups and 
individuals, campus departments, administrative units, and special groups 
as well as grants and private gifts. For instance, the Women's Faculty 
Club supported a series on the club and its members in order to preserve 
insights into the role of women on campus. The Alumni Association 
supported a number of interviews, including those with Ida Sproul, wife 
of the President, and athletic coaches Clint Evans and Brutus Hamilton. 


Their own academic units, often supplemented with contributions from 
colleagues, have contributed for memoirs with Dean Ewald T. Grether, 
Business Administration; Professor Garff Wilson, Public Ceremonies; Deans 
Morrough P. O'Brien and John Whinnery, Engineering; and Dean Milton 
Stern, UC Extension. The Office of the Berkeley Chancellor has supported 
oral history memoirs with Chancellors Edward W. Strong and Albert H. 
Bowker . 

To illustrate the University/community connection, many memoirs of 
important University figures have in turn inspired, enriched, or grown 
out of broader series documenting a variety of significant California 
issues. For example, the Water Resources Center-sponsored interviews of 
Professors Percy H. McGaughey, Sidney T. Harding, and Wilfred Langelier 
have led to an ongoing series of oral histories on California water 
issues. The California Wine Industry Series originated with an interview 
of University enologist William V. Cruess and now has grown to a fifty- 
nine-interview series of California's premier winemakers. California 
Democratic Committeewoman Elinor Heller was interviewed in a series on 
California Women Political Leaders, with support from the National 
Endowment for the Humanities; her oral history was expanded to include an 
extensive discussion of her years as a Regent of the University through 
interviews funded by her family's gift to The Bancroft Library. 

To further the documentation of the University's impact on state and 
nation, Berkeley's Class of 1931, as their class gift on the occasion of 
their fiftieth anniversary, endowed an oral history series titled "The 
University of California, Source of Community Leaders." The series 
reflects President Sproul's vision by recording the contributions of the 
University's alumni, faculty members and administrators. The first oral 
history focused on President Sproul himself. Interviews with thirty-four 
key individuals dealt with his career from student years in the early 
1900s through his term as the University's eleventh President, from 1930- 

Gifts such as these allow the Regional Oral History Office to 
continue to document the life of the University and its link with its 
community. Through these oral history interviews, the University keeps 
its own history alive, along with the flavor of irreplaceable personal 
memories, experiences, and perceptions. A full list of completed memoirs 
and those in process in the series is included following the index of 
this volume. 

September 1994 Harriet Nathan, Series Director 

Regional Oral History Office University History Series 
University of California 

Berkeley, California Willa K. Baum, Division Head 

Regional Oral History Office 


INTRODUCTION by Rodney J. Sobey 

Robert Wiegel's international reputation as a pioneering 
researcher and prime mover in coastal engineering has been well 
established since the 1960s. It would have been very easy for him to 
live off this reputation for the balance of his career. But that is not 
Robert Wiegel. 

He has always taken his commitments to his family, to his 
profession, and to his university very completely and very seriously. 
Much of this is public record. More still is compellingly documented in 
this oral history. Parts are known only to those privileged to know him 

Robert Wiegel's interests are catholic in the extreme, and belie 
the popular image of an engineering professor. He has always been 
concerned with the entire spectrum of engineeringresearch, 
instruction, investigation, environmental interaction, design, 
construction, and communication. 

Bob always recognized the importance of the written word. 
Beginning in the 1950s, he developed and personally maintained a 
library, the "Wiegel Ocean Engineering Archive." It is housed in the 
Water Resources Center Archives on the Berkeley campus with the status 
of a reserve collection. It is a unique collection with a very Robert 
Wiegel personality. It has a wealth of historical documents from the 
early years of coastal engineering, together with numerous extracts from 
the quality press and the scientific press on aspects of coastal and 
ocean engineering. It also includes a lot of the gray literature, 
unpublished reports with limited distribution lists. 

Bob has always been an avid consumer of quality newspapers, from 
all over the country. His particular interest is in the reporting of 
aspects of coastal engineering and natural hazards, but his concerns 
have never been restricted to just coastal engineering. He has been an 
equally avid reader of the scientific press. He is very well read on 
the "pre-history" of coastal engineering, with particular interest in 
Mediterranean harbors in biblical and Roman times. 

His legacy to his students is considerable and largely untold. To 
his students, he was always patient and encouraging. He was always 
available and his open door has been legendary in O'Brien Hall. It has 
continued to this day, a decade after his "official" retirement. His 
teaching was committed and enthusiastic. He has continued to contribute 
to coastal engineering graduate classes, giving today's students a 
glimpse of his magic. The place of a focused discussion in the entire 


spectrum of engineering is always a secondary theme in his classes. He 
communicates much of this through his stories and through commentaries 
drawn from the current press. During his active teaching, his passion 
for the written word and the value of library research were central 
themes in his graduate teaching. His insistence on written term papers 
on a focused topic was and still is unusual in engineering. He 
recognized writing and library research skills as perennial weaknesses 
of engineering education. 

His legacy to close academic colleagues is an issue to which I can 
personally relate. I came to Berkeley because of Robert Wiegel. His 
international reputation was established and intimidating when I first 
met him. Robert Wiegel as a mentor and a colleague has been a joy. He 
has set an example of academic commitment that I have always viewed as 
the goal. Students were always his first concern. Canceling class or 
office hours was never an option. His busy schedule of national 
academic and professional committee assignments was always scheduled 
around his classes. Overnight "red-eye" flights to and from the East 
Coast were a standard practice. His insatiable reading has been a 
continuing source of inspiration, support, and encouragement. Despite a 
ballooning literature, he has remained exceptionally well informed. A 
week does not pass without at least one item of "compulsory reading" in 
my campus mail box from Bob Wiegel. He has been a consistent source of 
calm rational advice, encouragement, and moral support. He has always 
been there for me. Thank you, Bob. 

In my travels, it has always been a pleasure to be identified as a 
colleague of Bob Wiegel. The genuine admiration and affection for the 
man who has gone before me has been a continuing source of pleasure. 
Apart from his expertise in coastal engineering, the message I hear 
every time is of Robert Wiegel, the gentleman. 

I would like to acknowledge my co-conspirators in making this oral 
history happen. The planning was initiated together with Linda Vida 
(Librarian, Water Resources Center Archives, Berkeley). Financial 
support was provided through Robert Whalin (Director, Waterways 
Experiment Station, Vicksburg) . Steven Hughes guided the project 
through the Vicksburg bureaucracy. Mabel Iwamoto and Orville Magoon 
assisted with background information. The interviews were planned, 
completed, and edited by Eleanor Swent (Regional Oral History Office, 
Berkeley) with considerable assistance from Bob Wiegel. 

Rodney J. Sobey 

Professor of Civil and Environmental 
Engineering, University of 
California, Berkeley 
September, 1997 
Berkeley, California 

INTRODUCTION by Orville Magoon 

Bob Wiegel epitomizes inspiration, professionalism, technical 
insight, encouragement, and the highest degree of colleague relations 
and loyalty. Bob's oral history is a testimony to these and many more 
facets illuminating his brilliant career. Unquestionably, Bob Wiegel 
has had an enormous impact on my life. 

In 1951, while I was a graduate student at Stanford, I found the 
proceedings of the First Conference on Coastal Engineering, held in Long 
Beach, California. After ordering my own volume from the Council on 
Waves Research at UC Berkeley, I went personally to the Berkeley campus 
to discuss my interests in the coast. When I arrived at O'Brien Hall, I 
walked to the appointed room to find Bob Wiegel, Joe W. Johnson and Dean 
M. P. O'Brien, a constellation of mind and inspiration I shall never 
forget. After I explained that I was having trouble understanding 
breakwaters, Bob not only encouraged my questions and prompted my study 
of concrete armor units, but he soon asked me to lecture on the same 
subject to one of his classes at the university. Bob always answered a 
question with a challenge of his own. 

Perhaps the most difficult coastal project I have ever tackled was 
the repair to the seaward heads of the Humboldt jetties. In my now 
annual visits and lectures for Bob at Berkeley, I discuss the concepts 
that formulated the triumph of coastal engineering over the forces of 
the ocean waves at those jetties. Those concepts, which became the 
foundation of my philosophy on coastal engineering, were woven 
successfully from the threads of inspiration engendered by Bob's 
academic encouragement at that first meeting back in 1951. 

From the start, Bob taught me with questions that made me 
determined to find my own answers. In this way, he encouraged a 
professional attitude of personal responsibility that provided a solid 
ground for my own career. I had to discover for myself how to solve the 
problems we confront in an ever-changing coastline defining an ever- 
changing world. Because of Bob, I was well equipped for the challenges 
that would confront me in the years ahead. 

Today, I am deeply grateful, not only for Bob's professional 
leadership, time, and encouragement, but, above all, for the friendship 
of a great man. 

Orville Magoon, Vice Chairman 

Coastal Engineering Research Council of 

the American Society of Civil Engineers 
and President, Coastal Zone Foundation 

Middletown, California 
December 1997 



Robert Wiegel 's pioneering contributions to coastal engineering, 
his five decades of world-recognized research in coastal wave and beach 
processes and earthquake-generated tsunamis, and the practical 
application of his work for government and industry gave impetus to his 
oral history. His textbook Oceanographical Engineering established the 
discipline. His role in fostering research, mentoring several 
generations of students in civil engineering, and serving the College of 
Engineering at Berkeley and the University of California at large, as 
well as the national and international professional community, made him 
an ideal candidate for an oral history memoir. 

I was asked in the fall of 1996 to work with Professor Wiegel to 
document his career in a field only slightly related to my experience as 
a research interviewer of mining engineers. Fortuitously, I had just 
returned from a holiday at Cape May, New Jersey, where I spent many 
hours walking and driving along the waterfront and observing its 
historic works of coastal engineering, although at the time those words 
were not yet in my vocabulary. I did not feel totally unqualified to 
interview Professor Wiegel, and any trepidation I felt diminished when I 
first spoke with him by telephone; as a first-rate teacher, he is very 
willing to impart information to an eager listener. In this first 
conversation, we established an additional basis for rapport: my husband 
served in the amphibious forces of the U.S. Navy, and much of Wiegel 's 
research was generated by that branch of the service; at that point we 
became Bob and Lee. 

As preparation, I conducted informational interviews with his 
Civil Engineering Department colleagues Professor Rodney Sobey and Mabel 
Iwamoto at the University of California at Berkeley, and Orville Magoon, 
past president of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, 
in Middletown, California. Apart from the useful information acquired 
about his work, I gained a strong sense of the very deep affection and 
admiration which Wiegel 's associates have for him. I was also supplied, 
by Wiegel and others, with abundant references and materials on the 
history of the Beach Erosion Board, the Coastal Engineering Research 
Council, and the various organizations which have evolved since 
protecting the fashionable beaches of Cape May first became a 
governmental priority in the nineteenth century. 

We held a planning session in his office on the fourth floor of 
O'Brien Hall on 2 December, 1996, and then we recessed while he and his 
wife spent their customary vacation in Hawaii. Seven interviews were 
conducted in the same office on 8 January; 4, 12, and 19 February; and 
10, 12, and 31 March, 1997. 


The Wiegel office is crowded with well-organized reference 
materials and up-to-date equipment. When I arrived, Bob was usually 
working at his new 100-megabyte computer. At our first meeting, he 
explained his physical limitations: he is totally deaf in one ear as a 
result of surgery for an acoustic neuroma. The consequent nerve damage 
has also moderately impaired his speech. He preferred to be interviewed 
in the morning before he tired. He presented this information 
cheerfully; in the same practical way, he showed me where the materials 
relevant to the interviews were stored in his drawer, so I would know, 
"just in case something happens." His memory seems unimpaired and his 
travel schedule is still one that might daunt someone much younger. He 
prepared carefully for each interview, with notes and references at 
hand. He returned telephone messages promptly and kept interruptions to 
a minimum. 

While the tapes were being transcribed, the Wiegels went off to 
England and Paris. The transcript was sent to him on 1 July and was 
returned less than two weeks later, meticulously reviewed, with 
corrections and additions for accuracy and clarity but no substantial 
changes. After these corrections were made, Bob requested a second 
review which resulted in only a few very minor corrections. He selected 
a number of photos to accompany the text. I prepared a skeleton index 
which he enlarged. 

Thanks are due to Professor Rodney Sobey for suggesting this oral 
history and arranging for the funding which made it possible. He and 
Orville Magoon also contributed introductions. Mabel Iwamoto, 
administrative assistant for thirty-seven years with the Sanitary, 
Environmental, Coastal, and Hydraulic Engineering Division of the Civil 
Engineering Department, indicated to me how much Bob Wiegel cared for 
those he worked with and for his students. Linda Vida-Sunnen of the 
Water Resources Center Archives also made me feel that it was an 
uncommon privilege to work with Bob Wiegel, and indeed I came to agree. 
As an editor of professional publications with many years of experience, 
he understands the detailed process of putting together a document. 
This awareness, together with his personal kindness, facilitated to an 
exceptional degree both the interviewing and the editing. 

Researchers in the history of coastal engineering may also want to 
consult the oral history of Morrough P. O'Brien, Dean of the College of 
Engineering, Pioneer in Coastal Engineering, and Consultant to General 
Electric, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, 
Berkeley, 1988. For more information on the history of the University 
of California, consult the University History series list which is 
included in the appendix of this volume. 

The tapes of the Wiegel interviews are deposited in The Bancroft 
Library and are available for study. The Regional Oral History Office 
was established in 1954 to record the lives of persons who have 


contributed significantly to the history of California and the West. 
The office is a division of The Bancroft Library and is under the 
direction of Willa K. Baum. 

Eleanor Swent, Research Interviewer /Editor 
Regional Oral History Office 

October, 1997 

University of California, Berkeley 


Regional Oral History Office University of California 

Room 486 The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 94720 

(Please write clearly. Use black ink.) 

Your full name Robert Louis Wiegel 

Date of birth 17 October 1922 Birthplace San Francisco, CA, USA 

Father's full name Louis Henry Wiegel 

Occupation Engineer Birthplace Irwin, Westmorland County, PA 

Mother's full name Antoinette (nettie) Lavern Decker 

Occupation Housewife Birthplace Kelsey (near) , El Doerado County, CA 

Your spouse A" 116 Pearce 

Occupation Birthplace Ebbw Vale, U.K. 

Your children ,T n hn MansfiplH <"arol Elizabeth Diana Louisa 

Where did you grow up ? Oakland, California 

Present community Berkeley, California 

Education B - s - mechanical engineering, 1943; M.S. in mechanical engineering, 1949 
University of California, Berkeley, CA 

Occupation(s) Professor of Civil Engineering, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 
Consultant in coastal and offshore engineering 

Areas of expertise Coastal and ocean engineering (mostly civil engineering) 

Other interests or activities Extensive participation on professional society 

Organizations in which you are active American Society of Civil Engineering. 
American Shore & Beach Preservation Association. Engineering Committee nn 
Resources, National Research Council committees 

I EARLY YEARS, 1922 TO 1940 
[Interview 1: January 8, 1997] II 1 

The Wiegel Family 

Swent: We'll begin at the beginning and you can tell where and when you 
were born, and we'll talk a little bit about your family 

Wiegel: I was born in San Francisco in 1922 on the seventeenth of October, 
and about two weeks later, the family moved to Oakland, 
California. I was raised in Oakland; went through the Oakland 
school system, all the way through, and then the University of 

Swent: How long had your family been in California? 

Wiegel: My father came out in the early 1900s from a small town [Irwin] 

near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to go to Stanford. In those days, 
Stanford was not expensive. 

Swent: It was free at one time, wasn't it? 

Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: But you had to be a very good student to get in. 

Wiegel: He had to work, and then school, work and school. 

Swent: All the way from Pittsburgh? 

l tt This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has begun 
or ended. A guide to the tapes follows the transcript. 

Wiegel: Yes. He started in a college up in Pennsylvania: Bucknell 

College. He worked for the railroads for a couple of years as a 
surveyor both on the Northern Pacific Railroad up in North Dakota, 
and then the Western Pacific Railroad in Nevada and across the 
Sierra Nevada. I guess in his first year he had had surveying in 
college. So that was about the turn of the century. I know he 
started Stanford in 1902, and was in the class of 1906. 

My mother was born in California, in Kelsey, which is near 
Placerville in the gold country. Her mother had come out from 
Ohio with her family via the Isthmus of Panama in 1868. So on my 
mother's side, we've been in California since 1868. 

The Decker/Carothers Family, in California Since 1868 

Swent: Was there a train across the Isthmus by then? 

Wiegel: I believe so. I don't know. All I know is that the family 
records said she came out via the Isthmus in 1868. 

Swent: That was a heroic thing to do. 

Wiegel: They lived in San Jose, farmed, but then moved up to the gold 

Swent: What did they do there? 

Wiegel: I'm not completely sure. I know her brother owned one-third of 

one of the gold mines and mills in the hills up there between 1879 
and 1883. It was the Rising Sun Mine. 

Swent: They had wonderful names for those old mines, didn't they? 
Wiegel: Yes. This information is lost. 

Swent: No, it's not lost, we're preserving it. What was your mother's 
family name? 

Wiegel: My mother's name was Decker and her mother is Sarah Elizabeth 
Carothers. Her father was William Decker and he was born in 
Wisconsin Territory in 1845. He moved to California, we believe, 
in 1868. 

Swent: The same time as the mother. 

Wiegel: But we've no idea how he got to California. We were long-time 
Calif ornians. 

Swent: Yes, indeed; lots of strong people there. 

Wiegel: My mother lived in San Francisco at the time of the 1906 

earthquake. They lived in a tent for two weeks in Golden Gate 
Park in San Francisco. 

Swent: How old was she at that time? 
Wiegel: My mother was born in 1885. 

Swent: So she was about twenty years old, twenty-one- -would have a very 
clear memory of it. She was not married yet? 

Wiegel: No. She got married in 1907. I think it's of interest that both 
my grandfathers were in the Union army in the Civil War. 

Swent: From California? 

Wiegel: No. My grandfather on my mother's side was from Wisconsin, and my 
grandfather on my father's side was from Pennsylvania. My 
grandfather on my father's side is John Wiegel, and he lived until 
he was ninety-nine. The interesting thing is he attended the 
Seventy-Fifth Encampment at Gettysburg. 

Swent: Oh, my. What a powerful experience that must have been. 

Wiegel: I know. We have a photograph of him up at the Seventy-Fifth 

Swent: Did you know him? 

Wiegel: I met him twice. My mother's father died before I was born; just 
a year before I was born. But my father's grandfather I did meet 
on a couple of occasions. 

Swent: Did he talk to you about-- 

Wiegel: Oh yes. The Civil War? Yes. He didn't remember much by the time 
he saw me, of course, because he was an old man; a very old man. 

Swent: But that had been important in his life. 

Wiegel: Yes, it was. 

Swent : Of course it was . How did your parents meet each other? 

Wiegel: One of my mother's cousins, Bob Hudson, was an engineering student 
(also, class of 1906) at Stanford, and that's how they met. 
Incidentally, he was co-founder of the firm, Hunter and Hudson, in 
San Francisco; an engineering firm which is still in existence, I 
believe. I don't know for sure. 

Father. Stanford 1906. and the Ocean Shore Railroad 

Swent: What kind of engineering did your father 

Wiegel: My father started--! think it was mechanical and civilbut then 

at the end, he went into law. When the earthquake hit, I think--! 
don't knowthere were jobs available. He was up in Oregon, and 
we don't know exactly whatbut from the little records, I suspect 
he was working on a railroad up there. But when he come back to 

Swent: So he was actually not here at the time of the earthquake? 
Wiegel: I think he was at Stanford, I'm not sure. 

Swent: Yes, spring of 1906, he would probably have been still at 

Wiegel: We assume he was working on railroads, but then he came back and 
went to work for a company called the Ocean Shore Railroad, which 
was putting a railroad from San Francisco south along the coast to 
Half Moon Bay and then it was to continue all the way to Santa 
Cruz, but never did. Construction was started in September 1905. 
One of the real problems was that the right-of-way was across what 
is known now, and was known then as the Devil's Slide. It was as 
difficult for the railroad as it is for the highways. [laughs] 

Swent: It hasn't changed. That is south of Pacifica 

Wiegel: He was the engineer in charge of the construction. 

Swent: Was this railroad a private enterprise? 

Wiegel: Yes, those things were all private. 

Swent: Subscription, I suppose? 

Wiegel: I don't know the names, but they were big San Francisco people; 

the money people. They called themselves capitalists. They were 

honest capitalists. One was J. Downey Harvey, who became 
president of Ocean Shore Railway. 

Swent: Yes, they accumulated capital-- 

Wiegel: --and they invested it. But they also developed property, and of 
course the reason for putting the railroad in was so they could 
sell property in the Half Moon Bay area and all the way down. The 
fact is several little towns were started by those people: Half 
Moon Bay, El Granada', Princeton, Moss Beach. There were several 
other ones; all the ones south of Pacifica were really started by 
those people. For several years, my father was also resident 
manager of the property development. 

Swent: As well as the railroad? 

Wiegel: That was finished by then, as far as they were going to go. The 

first train ran to El Granada on 21 June 1908. They decided not 

to continue south of--I don't know if they ever went south of Half 
Moon Bay; I can't tell you. 

Swent: But it did go as far as Half Moon Bay? 

Wiegel: Yes. It went as far south as Tunitas Glen, where work stopped in 
December 1908. The railroad had been constructed from Santa Cruz 
north to Swanton, but my father did not work on this section. 

Swent: Over Devil's Slide? Or through, I guess. 

Wiegel: Yes. On it? [laughter] 

Swent: Did it have tunnels? 

Wiegel: I think there were a few tunnels. 

Swent: Were there? 

Wiegel: Well, if they were, they were little, tiny short ones. Nothing 

like the one they're proposing for the highway now. It would have 
been maybe a hundred yards long or so, through San Pedro Point. 
There was a saddle cut on Montara Mountain. 

'Incidentally, El Granada was originally named just "Granada," the 
name in the tract map and on the rairoad station. The U.S. Post Office 
changed it for some reason in January 1909. -R.W. 

Swent: I wonder if there are any remnants of that roadbed? 

Wiegel: I believe there are. Highway 1 inherited parts of the roadbed. 
I've read the track was removed in 1920. 

Swent: Very interesting. 

Wiegel: So the next stage in this: he started to buy up some property. 

They owned a fair amount of property there; they also owned a half 
interest in a farm in the San Jose area. 

Swent: This was through his wife's family, perhaps? 

Wiegel: I'm not sure. I really can't tell you; I don't know. The farm, I 
suspect, was joint with his wife's familyI'm not positive. He 
died in 1940, so I was just-- 

Swent: You were a youngster. 

Wiegel: I had just graduated from high school and was going to start Cal. 

Swent: You said your parents were married in 1907, soon after he left 
Stanford. Did they live in San Francisco? 

Wiegel: They first lived in a little town: San Juan Bautista. 
Swent: Lovely place. 

Wiegel: But that was just for a short time, and then they moved to San 

Francisco. Actually, they had a home, they lived--my brother and 
older two sisters, when they were young, were raised in El 
Granada, because they had a home down there and my father would 
commute to San Francisco. Then they moved to San Francisco. 

Swent: He commuted by train? 

Wiegel: At the start, but it never really worked well, [laughter] That 

train was a financial failure. One reason was, I think, because 
of the cost of maintaining the road beds and rails in the area. 
Also because of relatively poor service, buyers of property were 
letting it go. 

Swent: You have two brothers and a sister? 

Wiegel: Three sisters and one brother. My brother was the oldest; he was 
born in 1908, and then my eldest sister was born in 1911 and a 
second sister in 1912, and I was born in 1922, and my youngest 
sister was born in 1925. 

Swent: Almost two families. 

Wiegel: Almost two families, yes. 

Swent: Were there other children in between who died? 

Wiegel: No. In the previous generation, of course, children died. My 

mother's brother died when he was a young man, and another one of 
her brothers died when he was an infant. That was what life was 
like back in those days. But by the time my family came along, 
they had decent medical-- 

Swent: I was wondering about the flu. The Spanish flu came in that 

Wiegel: No. I think my mother's brother died of scarlet fever, or 

something like that. Which, again, was not uncommon in those 

Swent: No, it wasn't at all. Why did your family move from San Francisco 
to Oakland? 

Wiegel: My guess is to get more sun. 

Swent: Where was their home in San Francisco? 

Wiegel: They had several homes out near what they call the panhandle of 

Golden Gate Park, between there and Pacific Heights, in that area. 

Swent: Where there was fog? 

Wiegel: Yes. Of course, they had the ferryboat system, so when they moved 
to Oakland, it was easy to take what they called the commute train 
which then went from Piedmont Avenue to the ferryboat. It was not 
a bad commute. 

Swent: I think it was easier then than now. 

Wiegel: I remember when the San Francisco Bay Bridge opened up, it was 
marvelous there for a while. It was very easy. Then they'd 
catch the commute train at Piedmont Avenue and go straight to 
downtown San Francisco. So that worked really well. 

Swent: Where was your home in Oakland? 

Wiegel: It was very near the Oakland Rose Garden; what is now the Rose 
Garden. Not too far from Lake Merritt. 


Swent: Lovely area. 
Wiegel: Very nice area. 

Good Schools in Oakland 

Swent: What schools did you go to? 

Wiegel: I went to Lakeview, the grammar school, then Westlake Junior High 
School, and then Oakland High School and then to Cal. All five of 
us went to Cal, which is what we called it then. We didn't call 
it UC Berkeley or Berkeley. 

Swent: No, it was just Cal. 

Wiegel: We called it Cal. My brother graduated in 1929 in Economics, and 
then from Boalt Hall in 1932, and then passed the State Bar exam. 

Swent: What was your brother's name? 

Wiegel: John Mason--he went by his middle name of Mason. He was a lawyer, 
but he also started a law publishing firm, which published The 
Weekly Law Digest, and he was editor and publisher of it for his 
whole professional life. Then my two older sisters both graduated 
in 1933 from Cal. 

Swent: Were they twins? 

Wiegel: No. My elder sister, Marion, had pneumonia, and had to drop out a 
semester, and in those days, you graduated once a year, so she 
graduated the following year because she had to make up a 
semester's work. Then my youngest sister, who started Cal during 
World War II, didn't finish. She became an airline stewardess 
instead, and then met a young graduate of Annapolis, George 
Dickey, and got married. She died years ago of cancer. 

Swent: And your other sisters you said were teachers? 

Wiegel: No, not teachers. They're both still living. One's married name 
is Morris, and the other's married name is Christopher. 

Swent: Do you have any recollections of your school that were 

particularly important that you would like to mention? Teachers 
who were influential? 

Wiegel: You mean grade school? 

Swent: Any school. Were there outstanding teachers that influenced you? 

Wiegel: We had very good teachers, very good. We had good science 
courses . 

Swent: When did your science courses begin? 

Wiegel: We had something in junior high school; it wasn't just biology. 
In high school I had the chemistry and the physics and all the 
mathematics courses. I did have very good teachers in chemistry, 
physics, mathematics, but I also had an excellent teacher in 
English that drummed into us how to write. 

Swent: I gather you think that was pretty important? 

Wiegel: I think that is very important. There's been an oral history of 
Morrough P. O'Brien, 1 and I worked for him directly here for quite 
a few years, and I remember him once saying after he had been 
listening to a student trying to present his researchbecause he 
had read what the student had writtenand I remember him saying 
once, "If you can't write clearly, you can't think clearly." I 
think this connection of thinking, writing, speaking, reading, is 
absolutely vital. As you know, reading the newspapers, we don't 
have as much emphasis on doing this as there used to be. 

Swent : No . 

Wiegel: There were no excuses; you did it. My mother taught me to read 
before I started school. I can still remember that. But there 
was no nonsense. You studied. 

Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: And I've always enjoyed studying. So I can remember having good 
teachers, and very supportive teachers. 

Swent: What about your science training in high school? Were there 
laboratory courses as well as lectures? 

1 Morrough P. O'Brien, Dean of the College of Engineering. Pioneer in 
Coastal Engineering, and Consultant to General Electric. Regional Oral 
History Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1988. 


Wiegel: Yes. Chemistry certainly was laboratory. There wasn't much in 

biology; I think it was mostly lecture. But chemistry and physics 
were both laboratory. But also I took machine shop and wood shop. 

Swent: Were these required? 

Wiegel: No, I had the time so I took them and I'm glad I did because I've 
done most of my own repairs ever since. 

Swent: That's helpful. 

Wiegel: I think we had a good school system; a well-rounded school system. 

Swent: Where did your interest in the ocean and coasts begin? Was that 
an earlier track or not? 

Wiegel: We had a summer home at Capitola which is on Monterey Bay about 

five miles southeast of Santa Cruz, and my mother owned the house- 
-after my father died, of course for quite a few years so even 
when our childrenand we have three childrenwere small, we 
would go down there and spend a couple of weeks at the ocean and 
so forth. But also when I was in high school and junior high, we 
used to go up to Yosemite and camp. That's why I got interested 
in geology. 

I was interested in geology, and I was going to become a 
geologist when I came to the university because my middle sister 
worked for Shell Oil Company and at that time there were jobs in 
oil companies, and I liked geology, and oil companies used 
geologists so I thought, "I'll become a geologist." But during 
the stimmer, I met a person who was a Cal student in mechanical 
engineering, and he said, "If you want a job, there are more jobs 
in mechanical engineering in the oil company." So when I came, I 
wrote down I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, and I was. I 
didn't even know what mechanical engineering was. So it was just 
by happenstance, and I got my degree in mechanical engineering, 
and after the war a master's degree. 

Swent: Let's not jump up to that quite yet. 
Wiegel: We won't jump into how I got into the ocean. 
Swent: Your father died when you were very young. 

Wiegel: I was eighteen, maybe seventeen, but it was the summer just before 
I started Cal. He died of a heart attack in Yosemite. 


A Summer in Hawaii. 1930 

Swent: That's too bad. How did the Depression affect your family? 

Wiegel: Definitely. We had owned a fair amount of property, and most of 
it had to be sold off during the Depression. I do remember we 
went to Hawaii in 1930 and spent the summer in Hawaii. 

Swent: That was a bit unusual, wasn't it? 

Wiegel: It took you five days to go over by boat and five days to get 

back, and we had rented a cottage on Waikiki Beach, and I remember 
my brother running into a record that showed it cost twenty- seven 
dollars a month. 

Swent: And you stayed there for the summer? 

Wiegel: For the summer, and that's where I learned to swim. I was seven 
years old. 

Swent: Was your father working there at that time? 

Wiegel: No, he wasn't. He went over with us, and came back to California 
after a few weeks. When I say we were over there--my mother, my 
three sisters and myself. My older brother was not there because 
he was, at that time, he was a cadet for the summer for the Dollar 
Steam Ship Company, and he had an opportunity, so he was sailing 
around the world at that time. 

Swent: Wonderful. What ships did you take over to Hawaii? 

Wiegel: I think it was called the Matsonia. 

Swent: The Matson Line. That must have been a wonderful time. 

Wiegel: I've loved Hawaii ever since. 

Swent: And you still spend time there? 

Wiegel: I think I've been out more than fifty times. 

Swent: But that was the first time, in 1930? 

Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: Had your mother been there before? 


Wiegel: No. 

Swent: That was a new experience for all of you. 

Wiegel: My mother had some relative that had moved out there. She was a 
school teacher, I believe. Again, this is pretty hazy. 

Swent: Perhaps it influenced you? 

Wiegel: It could have, but I've loved it ever since. 

Swent: Of course you have. We've mentioned the Depression, but it didn't 
devastate your family, I gather? 

Wiegel: No. I know it was severe because I know my father had to sell 

quite a bit of property at that time. Bits and pieces and things 
of that sort. I think that this is true: that anyone raised 
during the Depression time became quite frugal and learned to 

Swent: It was a formative experience. 

Wiegel: To this day I've never, ever, bought anything on the installment 
plan with the exception of a home. Even an automobile--! saved 
the money ahead of time. I'm sure that was the result of the 
influence of the Depression and how it affected people. 

Swent: It was a watershed. 

Wiegel: It was a watershed, and nobody had anything. There was no problem 
because you couldn't compare anything; nobody had any money. 


Swent: Did your father have a car? 

Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: What kind of car did he drive? 

Wiegel: The ones I can remember were on two occasions he bought a Nash, 
but before I was born--and I know this from a photograph--! think 
it was back in 1918, he bought a car, and it was an open car. I 
think it was called a Vielie. All I know is there was this 
photograph, and it was an open car, and I can remember my brother 
saying that my father bought the car, and the driving lesson 
consisted of the salesman getting in the car with him, driving 
around the block, and that was it. It's your car; you're a 


Swent : 

Swent : 


Swent : 
Wiegel ; 

Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 
Swent : 
Swent : 

driver. He was living in El Granada at that time, and he drove it 
down overat that time it was a mountain road, dirt road, from 
Redwood City over the mountain and down. I'm surprised that I had 
a father, [laughter] 

When you lived in Oakland and he commuted to San Francisco, how 
did he get to the train? 

I think he drove to the train and parked it. The train then went 
to the ferryboat, which crossed the bay. That's my remembrance. 

Did your mother drive? 

No, she never drove. 1 understood she started to drive once, and 
had a bad experience and decided she didn't want to. 

That was rather typical. 

Our home in Oakland was only two blocks from a very nice shopping 
area which is called Grand Avenue, so there was never any problem. 
Of course, in the early days, when I was a boy, I can remember a 
truck would come along with the person that sold vegetables and 
eggs--eggs were delivered, milk was delivered, ice was delivered. 
But this person sold from this truck all your vegetables. 

What kind of person was it? 

Was he Italian or Chinese? Do you 

Yes. I remember calling him Tony, so-- 

A number of those vegetable people were Italian. 

Of course in El Granada, the farmers there were all Italian, and 
of course they were very wealthy. My father worked closely with 
Dianda, who was a close friend of Giannini, and he was the big 
artichoke farmer there. The farmers were almost all Italian and 
very successful. I always say I grew up with an Italian stomach. 

That's good. 

I still like Italian food. 

Do you have any recollection of the Long Beach earthquake? 


It wasn't even noticed here, I suppose? 


Wiegel: No. The reason I'm familiar with it is because it was a landmark 
in the state of California. It's what triggered our earthquake 
codes, the first codes, and also the structural engineer license 
that didn't exist before then. When I got interested in 
earthquake engineering, then I became very familiar with the Long 
Beach earthquake. 

Swent: But when it happened 

Wiegel: But nothing personal. 

Swent: What about the general strike on the waterfront in San Francisco? 

Wiegel: All I can remember was that it existed. I can remember all the 
headlines in the newspaper. This is the one in San Francisco on 
the waterfront. 

Swent: There was one also in Oakland. 

Wiegel: The one I'm familiar with--I think is the general strikewas the 
waterfront one in San Francisco. 

Swent: That was San Francisco in '34, I think. 

Wiegel: Remember I was twelve, and when you're twelve you don't pay that 
much attention. 

Swent: What kind of clothes did you wear in school? 

Wiegel: When I was in high school, it was just slacks. It wasn't jeans. 

Swent : Not j eans , no . 

Wiegel: Slacks and what we call sports shirt now, and a sweater. 

Swent: What kind of shoes? 

Wiegel: I don't know. [laughs] A pair of shoes. They certainly were 

not tennis shoes we wore during the summertime. I don't remember 
wearing tennis shoes to school. 

Swent: I don't think so. 

Wiegel: During the summer, I think we wore tennis shoes. Of course, when 
I went to Yosemite and so forth, we always wore boots up there. 

Swent: Did your mother have household help to do the washing or cleaning? 


Wiegel: When I was very young, yes. But that ceased. I can only remember 
Mrs. Kraevish--! can remember her namebut that must have only 
been for the first couple of years. 

Swent: So your mother did the washing and the cooking? 
Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: Maybe sent laundry out? As a boy, maybe you didn't even know that 
this has happened. 

Wiegel: I know we had a washing machine downstairs because I remember the 

Swent: But in those days the boys didn't mess with that, I guess. 

Wiegel: I don't think so. 

Swent: Times have changed a lot. 

Wiegel: Times have changed. That's rather hazy, but I know we had a 
washing machine and a clothes drying line. 

Swent: Did you help at all with any household things? 

Wiegel: Gardening; I've always liked gardening. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 
We had a nice garden, and I always liked it. No, I studied. 

Swent: That was your job. 
Wiegel: That was my job. 

Swent: I noticed in one of the other oral histories--! think you wrote an 
introduction--! think it was in thatthere was talk about the 
importance of good math background early, a good foundation in 
math. I gather that you feel you got that in your schooling. 

Wiegel: I remember when I started engineering- -and later on, people say 

the sameit is so important to have a good background in math and 
physics and chemistry. Then you were flexible. I got into 
mechanical engineering not even knowing what it was. Later on, I 
could understand: if you had this good background, you can shift. 
This is what permitted me to get into the physical oceanography 
and so forth was a decent background in those three subjects. 

Swent: What was the level of math, let's say in high school? Did you get 


Wiegel: No, no one got calculus then in high school. We went through 
Swent : Algebra? 

Wiegel: Trigonometry, solid geometry- -we didn't get into spherical 

trigonometry--! don't think I got spherical trigonometry until I 
got to college. Then that's where I got calculus and-- 

Swent: And chemistry and physics--at that time they were separate 
courses. A lot of blanks in the atomic chart in chemistry. 

Wiegel: Oh, yes. When I took physics in college, it was just the start of 
nuclear physics. Engineering students didn't have any of the 
nuclear physics. 

Swent: What did you have in high school physics? 

Wiegel: Just mechanics and electrical circuits, maybe a little bit of 

electromagnetic radiationa little bit of that. It wouldn't have 
been too much. 

Swent: Did you get good grades in school? 

Wiegel: Yes. I was always a good student and a hard worker. 


Before World War II 

Swent: Going to Cal--what sort of admission application procedures were 

Wiegel: I think it was based on your high school grades. I think I signed 
up, and then I remember having to take a Subject A exam, which 1 
passed because of that very good teacher I had in high school 
in English that really drummed it in. 1 can remember her saying, 
"Write simple sentences. If you write complex sentences you'll 
trip yourself up." When you took the Subject A exam, and part of 
it was the written part--I kept it simple and I passed it. I 
still remember that. 

Swent: So this exempted you from-- 

Wiegel: It exempted me from taking whatever they call thatSubject A, I 
guess they call it. Maybe they still do. 

Swent: Perhaps they do. 

Wiegel: I've always read a lot too. Again, everyone in the family read. 
Books, magazines, everything. I think that's very important. 

Swent: Yes. Did you live at home when you came to Cal? 

Wiegel: I lived at home. There were three friends going to Cal that lived 
close to each other, so we would take turns driving. 

Swent: Again, what kind of car did you drive? 

Wiegel: It was my brother's--! guess I drove once a week, I think that is 
what it was, and one of the others drove twice a week. It was a 


Swent: Your family car, or was it your own? 

Wiegel: Oh no, in those days almost no person that age had a car. When I 
was at Cal there were a couple of students that had cars, but 
that's all. Just a couple. Nobody else had cars. 

Swent: You could borrow the family car for a day? 

Wiegel: Yes. There was an arrangement. Coming by bus took a long time. 
I did it a few times, but I would have to walk like ten blocks to 
catch a bus. 

Swent: And you could park here? 

Wiegel: Yes. There was an old dirt lot; I guess it's about where the new 
business school is, and that was just a big open dirt lot there. 
You just parked; there were no fees or anything like that. Almost 
nobody had a car, so there was no difficulty. I remember--! think 
this is kind of importantit was in high schoolyou talk about 
peers; you read it all the timepeer pressure and so forth. 
There were five or six of us that were good friends, and after 
school in high school, we very often played basketball not teams 
or anything, I don't know what you'd call it, but we'd just break 
up three on a side and play. Two of them became medical 
doctors, one clinical professor at Stanford, one a clinical 
professor at UC San Francisco, one got a ph.D. in physics, and the 
other got a ph.D. in chemistry, and another became a dentist. So 
it was kind of interesting. 

My guess is that we were about the only ones that did this 
sort of thing. 

Swent: Did so well. 

Wiegel: I guess it was because we were all into chemistry and into physics 
and that must be it because those were small classes. Not many 
students really took them; looking back I realize that that was 
probably the connection. 

Swent: These were high school friends? 

Wiegel: Those were in high school; we all went to Cal. 

Swent: Would you like to give their names? 

Wiegel: One was Charles Miles. He became a clinical professor at 

Stanford; I remember him well because his brother, who was a 
little older, John, went to Caltech. He is a retired professor at 


UC San Diego and was vice chancellor for a while. Smith was the 
other one who was a clinical professor at San Francisco- -Ed Smith. 
Doug Pingree became the dentist. There was another one, Mort 
Sarver, who became an optometrist and a clinical professoror 
whatever they call them at Berkeley in optometry. He did a lot of 
work on the contact lens sort of thing. Bill Eustis, got his 
Ph.D. in chemistry under Professor Calvin. His brother became a 
professor of French literature here at Cal. I guess what it was: 
these were academically oriented families or something. 

Swent: You all helped each other? 

Wiegel: I think so. A couple of those names I haven't thought of in a 
long time. 

Swent: So when you started Cal-- 

Wiegel: 1940. 

Swent: You graduated from high school in '40-- 

Wiegel: --and then started Cal in fall. My father died that summer. Then 
in 1941, of course, was Pearl Harbor. 

Swent: Your first year and a half was before the war then? 
Wiegel: The first year was before the war. 

Swent: Were there intimations of the warthat you were sensitive about 

Wiegel: Not that I can remember. In those days we all took ROTC for the 
first two years. It was mandatory for men. Every male had to 
take ROTC for the first two years. 

Swent: How did you feel about that? 

Wiegel: I didn't feel one way or another; you had to take it; you took it. 
At that time. Then, when the war came, I could see the advantage 
of becoming an officer and so I asked to get into the upper 
division ROTC; you needed a minimum of B grades or something like 
that. In those days, a B was a good grade; you had to have a 
minimum of a B average. So I applied, and because I was in 
mechanical engineering they accepted me in army ordinance. 

Swent: You had the two years of basic ROTC and then you applied for 


Wiegel: Then you applied, and I was accepted. I'm not completely sure, 
because things got a little hazy as to how the military treated 
you. Remember it was a war, people were being drafted; you had to 
go to the draft board. When I started upper divisionthat would 
have been my junior yearwe were cadets and into the military. 
In my military service [record] it says that the starting date of 
service is something in the middle of 1942. This was not good 
planning on my partit just was very fortunate. 

I and a number of others wanted to be sure we got through 
and got our degrees, so we went during the summer. At some stage, 
we were actually put into uniform and moved into one of the 
fraternity houses--it served as a barracks, or whatever you want 
to call it- -and went through another summer. I started Cal in 
September or the end of August in 1940, and I graduated in 
engineering in early October 1943. That was hard. 

Swent: So you accelerated your college? 

Wiegel: Yes. In engineering you had to take quite a few more courses than 
what you had to in L&S that is, Letters and Science. We had to 
take many more units. We had to satisfy all our engineering 
requirements with the ROTC in addition, so you did nothing but 
study, period. You didn't do anything else except study. It was 
no pleasure, but it's just one of those things. Like people say, 

so you did it. 

ROTC and Accelerated Studies in Wartime 

Swent: Can you be more specific as to what changes the war brought to you 
as a student on the campus? 

Wiegel: You mean when I was a student? 

Swent: Yes, before Pearl Harbor and the bomb. 

Wiegel: In the first place, your friends all started to disappear into the 
military! It was only if you were like myself, that is, in upper 
division ROTC and in engineering where the military wanted you to 
get that degree because they wanted engineers. So those of us 
that were leftagain, we just worked. There was all the 
difference in the world. There were no social activities. You 
look at these movies at what people did in college; there's not 
any resemblance whatsoever to my remembrance of going to college. 
You worked all the time. But I always appreciated ROTC because I 
think it was vital; I could see it even then. 


Many of the previous ROTC people had been called in- -young 
officersprior to Pearl Harbor. Obviously, there was a lot of 
planning going on because my cousin was pulled in; a couple of 
other ones were pulled in. My brother- -well, he didn't go in 
immediately. He wasn't in upper division ROTC in the late 1920s. 
After the war started, he became a member of the Judge Advocate 
General's department, which is the legal section of the army. 
There was just a day-and-night difference. The student population 
amongst the males just dropped way down. Is that what you asked? 

Swent: Yes; I was wondering what changes the war brought to your studies. 
Wiegel: Just a day-and-night difference. 
Swent: Classes were much smaller? 

Wiegel: We went right straight through. I'll say this: because some of 

the professors they knew what pressure we were under, this going 
continuouslysome of them, especially Professor Everett Howe I 
remember him. He was so kind to those of us still here, knowing 
the circumstances that we were studying under and working under. 
But then some of our professors like when I was a senior I had a 
course from O'Brien in fluid mechanics and he was gone most of the 
time. Later on, after I came back and got to know him, I realized 
what he was doing: all this amphibious and undersea warfare 
research type of thing, so there was good reason for him to be 

Swent: But you didn't know this at that time? 

Wiegel: No, we hadn't a clue. It was all classified. Then our last year- 
-I think this is kind of interesting- -when we graduated this 
small groupseveral of them disappeared. The rest of us were 
going to officers candidate schools. At that time we didn't get 
commissioned at graduation because they didn't have the time to 
have the summer camp and things like that. So you didn't get 
commissioned directly; you were sent to officer's candidate school 
directly, and then you got your commission. But several of the 
people disappeared, and we didn't know what had happened to them. 
I think it was three or four, and they were ones that were in what 
we called metallurgy. After the war we found out they had all 
been sent down to Los Alamos. At that time all we knew is one day 
they were gone. 

Swent: Very secret. 

Wiegel: So that was after the war and in hindsight was kind of 


Swent: Do you have any recollection of the Port Chicago explosion? 

Wiegel: That there were sirens for hours. 

Swent: Did you feel it here? 

Wiegel: No; but the sirens I guess there were a lot of casualties. 

Swent: Were you informed at all about it? 

Wiegel: Only that it had occurred. 1 would have been interested, so 
obviously there couldn't have been much. 

Swent: It must have been kept rather quiet. 

Wiegel: It must have been, but I do remember the sirens going. 

Swent: There were black-outs of course? 

Wiegel: Yes, there were black-outs. I don't think it bothered us. There 
was gas rationing, which meant that things became very difficult, 
but on the other hand, when we were pulled on active duty and 
housed by the military on campus, there was no problem. We didn't 
have to worry about commuting or anything, you were just here. 

Swent: You were no longer commuting then? 

Wiegel: No. 

Swent: This began-- 

Wiegel: Living with the military in one of the fraternities that they took 

Swent: This is when you began the upper division ROTC? 

Wiegel: Not immediately. Sometime in between I can't remember. We were 
all pulled in and sent down to the Presidio at Monterey to process 
us. But we were only there for about two days and brought back up 
here and moved into one of the fraternities. The fraternities- 
there wasn't anybody there so the houses were available and the 
military leased them. We ate there; they had cooks that prepared 
the food, so it was a regular military type of living there, which 
was lucky . 

Swent: And lots of studying. 
Wiegel: And lots of studying. 


Mechanical Engineering Professors Boelter. O'Brien, Folsom 

Swent: Who were your teachers that you especially remember? 

Wiegel: Well, Boelter. He became the first dean of engineering at UCLA 
after the war, and he was in heat transfer. Then, of course 
O'Brien at Cal. Even though I didn't see much of him, he was 
impressive and I liked the subject. And Folsom; Richard Folsom. 
They were all three professors in mechanical engineering. And 
Howe, who I mentioned earlier. But those are the four that I 
remember. I remember Professor Buck in mathematics. 


Swent: You were just saying that your professor Folsom became very-- 

Wiegel: He was my advisor when I was a junior and senior. In those days, 
you had to have a major area within mechanical engineering, and 
mine was fluid mechanics and heat transfer, and I took several 
courses from Folsom. I took one course in pumping machinery, but 
then I did what was known as ME 199--that was the research 
available for undergraduates and I did that with Professor Folsom. 
Then when I came back after the war, when I was interested in 
going to graduate school, I went to see him because he had been my 
advisor. I was still on active duty. I was a first lieutenant 
and you accumulated leave because you couldn't take it during the 
war. But anyway, he's the one that then got me started after the 

Swent: Let's go back a bit. 
Wiegel: But that was the importance. 

Swent: Was it a major decision to concentrate on fluid mechanics? Did 
you have to actually declare this? 

Wiegel: Yes. I think what it wasduring the junior year, that was the 

course that interested me the most. Also, it was important in the 
oil industry. So then in the senior year, I concentrated on it. 

Swent: What was the status of that discipline at that time? 

Wiegel: Not very advanced. [laughs] But fortunately, I had three people 
who, in hindsight, I can see were developing these fields, and so 
I was fortunate that I had three very interesting people. 

Swent: These were? 


Wiegel: Boelter, O'Brien, and Folsom. It was them, obviously, that got my 
interest aroused in fluid mechanics and heat transfer. 
Incidentally, that's the area that our present chancellor, Chang- 
Lin Tien--his field was fluid mechanics and heat transfer. 

Senior Laboratory; Terribly Difficult in One Semester 

Swent: Yes. What sorts of things did you study at that time? What sorts 
of things did you do your research or your laboratory work in at 
that time in fluid mechanics? 

Wiegel: There wasn't any particular thing in fluid mechanics. At that 

time they had a senior mechanical engineering laboratory and every 
student had to take it, and in the semester system it was four 
units plus four units, and then three units plus three units of 
lectures that went with it. But because of those of us going 
through, we had to lump it altogether in one semester. The 
professors said they didn't want to do it; it would kill us. When 
we finished we said, "You were right." 

Twice a week we would do experimental work that would last 
all afternoon or in the evening, and we'd have to write it up and 
get the reports in and come back within a couple of days for the 
second experiment of the week. 

Swent: What sorts of experiments were you doing? 

Wiegel: All types: mechanical, internal combustion engines, steam engines, 
wind tunnels, pumps, all kinds of mechanical equipment, air 
compressors; you do experiments with all of them. Study the 
theory, do the experiments, compare results with theory and so 
forth. There wasn't anything specifically hard in the laboratory, 
but it was a terribly difficult thing to do because of this time 
constraint. But when you finished, you really thought you knew 
something about engineering because you could really sit down, 
read something, and do something. Of course they knew that. This 
was designed by people that knew what they were doing even though 
it almost killed us. 

We learned a lot. That was more general in mechanical 
engineering. We had to write these reports, and you had a senior 
course that you had to write something up and make an oral 
presentation, and it was graded both from the written and the oral 
standpoint. That, I thought, was very useful too. 


Swent: Yes, to learn to present your ideas. 

Wiegel: To learn to present your ideas, because for the rest of your life 
--of course, I've been in teaching, but even those who are not in 
teaching are going to have to present their ideas to the boss or 
the owner, or somebody. You're always having to present ideas. 

Swent: Was there a graduation ceremony and all that sort of thing? 

Wiegel: These presentations were both in mechanical engineering, and 

electrical engineering, and maybe in civil--! don't know. But I 
do know they were in electrical and mechanical because they were 
given by the chair of the department. 

Swent: It was a serious matter. 

Wiegel: In mechanical engineering, it was O'Brien who, at that time, was 
not yet dean; he became dean the following year. Because of 
having to take the ROTC at certain times, I wasn't able to take it 
from him, so I took it from the person who was the chair of 
electrical engineering--! remember that. But it didn't make any 
difference because these people were broad, and you could choose 
your subjects and so forth. There is one other thing I should 
say: because of the ROTC thing, which had to be fit in, there was 
one senior course that I had to take in civil engineering that I 
couldn't go to any lectures because it was given at exactly the 
same time. So I got permission of the professor, who was Harmer 
Davis, and I should give him credit; Harmer Davis said, "Okay." 

So I did the homework, and then the military would allow me 
to take the mid-term. So I wasn't able to go to any lecture, but 
Harmer Davis was fortunately an understanding person. So I passed 
the course; it sure wasn't with the highest grade, but I passed it 
without being able to go to any lectures. 

Swent: But you did the work? 

Wiegel: I did all the work, yes. But it wasn't easy; that interval. I 
don't look back upon it with fondness; going to college. 

Swent: Lots of fun and games. No. 

Wiegel: Graduation. Yes, there was a graduation, and about the only 

people in engineering who attended it were those in ROTC because 
we were ordered to do it and march to it because the rest of them 
were all- -there weren't many. As soon as the last exam was taken, 
they would be leaving. Nobody would be around, you see. They 
either got a job or they were going into the military or something 


like that. So about the only ones that attended the graduation 
were those of us in uniform. So I don't remember much more about 
it than the fact that we marched to the graduation exercise in the 
football stadium. 

Swent: There must have still been women students. 

Wiegel: Yes, but in mechanical engineering of course the graduation 
ceremony was for the whole university at that time. I can't 
remember anything about it except for the fact that we were 
ordered to attend and we marched up, took our seats, and that was 
it. Yes, there were women. 

Swent: You were too busy even to notice the girls. 
Wiegel: We might have noticed them but-- [laughter] 
Swent: [laughter] --didn't have time to do much about it. 

Wiegel: You didn't have much time, no. Of course, in engineering- -women 

just didn't go into engineering in those days; that's all there is 
to it. They would be like my sisters were political science 
majors. English, of course, was the most popular major. I guess 
it still is probably. Now, of course, we get women whose fathers 
were engineers. It's just a whole new world now because they are 
encouraged to go into these subjects. Especially the 
environmental aspects got quite popular. 



Motor Vehicle Repair and Leadership Training 

Swent: So then after you graduated, did you go into active service? 

Wiegel: Immediately within one day, or two days or something like that, we 
went by train back to the officer's candidate school. 

Swent: Where? 

Wiegel: In my case, this was ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in 

Swent: What about that? 

Wiegel: Well, it was very rigorous, but I remember that compared with my 
last year at college, I thought I was on vacation almost. You're 
up at 5:30 in the morning, and went to class, class, class, and 
you studied until 10:00 at nightthis was easy! You had to be 
on, but compared with that last year in engineering at Cal, it was 
very simple and well done. They were trying to pick up on the 
leadership aspects: administration, how you get people to do 
something. No place in engineer ing- -or, as far as I know, 
anything else on campuswere you ever exposed to how to get 
somebody to do something. So it was the leadership thing that was 

Then, after you got your second lieutenant's bar, they sent 
you to specialty school, and because I was in mechanical 
engineering, I went to the one on motor vehicles. Some would go 
into armaments; they pushed me into motor vehicles because I'd had 
a course in internal combustion engines. Then I went overseas to 

Swent: Where was the motor vehicle duty? 


Wiegel: The same place. 

Swent: At Aberdeen? And then you were shipped over to England? 

Wiegel: Shipped over to England. 

Swent: How did you get there? 

Wiegel: By ship. It was one of those- -we had our own bunks. Some of them 
there were three people in each bunk. In other words, each person 
got eight hours. It was that bad. But I was on a smaller boat, 
and I can't remember too much details about it, but I know each 
had his own bunk. 

Swent: When was this? 

Wiegel: It was "44. 

Swent: It was still a pretty dangerous trip across. 

Wiegel: Oh, yes, it was all convoys. 

Swent: There were a lot of submarines still. 

Wiegel: Oh yes, it was all convoys. I know we landed at Liverpool, I 
remember that. Then, from Liverpool, we went into what they 
called a replacement depot and then different units would say, 
We're short a person, and they would match your specialty. I 
think I was there for two or three weeks, and I was shipped into 
an ordnance battalion which was in England. 

Ordnance Service near Cheltenham and in Paris 

Swent: Where? 

Wiegel: Near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. Cheltenham is about halfway 
between Oxford and Birmingham. It's in what they call the 
Cotswolds Country. It's beautiful; Cotswolds is a beautiful 
country. I was in an ordnance battalion, and it was completely 
rebuilding engines and power plants and things like that. It was 
a shop that was set up by General Motors to completely redo 
vehicles because they got worn out with two and half ton trucks 
and things like thatthe wear on them was tremendous. So that's 
what we did. 


Swent: Was there bombing in that area? 

Wiegel: Not while I was there. There had been. My wifeI met her at 

that time. We didn't get married until after the war, but I did 
meet her at that time. She's from Cheltenham. She can remember 
that. Incidentally, she had two brothers, both who were in the 
R.A.F. One was a pilot, and he was killed in October of '44; his 
plane went down. Her other brother was a navigator. They weren't 
together. But her other brother survived and became a teacher; he 
taught English for years. 

So then, about Christmas of '44, our unit went over to 
France, and it was a pretty cold winter. That was a very cold 
winter over there, just like this year is a cold winter in Europe. 
We ended up with another big factory outside of Paris. I was in 
heavy ordnance. I ran into my brother, because my brother was an 
officer in the Judge Advocate General's Office, and he was 
stationed there. Not in the factory. His group was stationed in 
Paris. So we would see each other very often on Sunday; Sunday we 
had off. 

Swent: I'm trying to think of when Paris was liberated. 

Wiegel: He was there. Not when it was liberated, but he was there when 
Churchill came through. They moved in very shortly after the 
troops moved through. He can remember seeing Mr. Churchill 
marching up the Champs Elysee, very impressive and moving. I 
forget when that was . 

Swent: That was before you got there? 

Wiegel: I didn't see it, I know that. Oh yes, he was over before I was. 

Swent: What was your wife's name? 

Wiegel: Anne Pearce. She was born in Wales, in Ebbw Vale. But she was 
raised in Gloucester and then Cheltenham. 

Swent: How did you meet? 

Wiegel: At a dance. The military had a dance. Her father was manager of 
the local bus company and both her brothers were in the R.A.F. 
Everyone in England was involved. There was no alternative in 
England. Most people were here too, but not as much. There, 
everyone was . 

Swent: What was your experience in Paris? 



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I never liked Paris until many years later. There was nothing 
wrong . 

But you weren't seeing the glamor. 

No, they had been through war; everything was in bad repair. It 
was beautiful. I must be careful in describing it. Museums 
weren't open, restaurantsnone of the things that people 
associate with Paris existed except the scenery. I can still 
remember the cathedral, and I can remember going out to Orleans 
Cathedral but the stained glass had all been removed to put it in 
safety, so you didn't see what you see today. But still it was 
impressive; the buildings were certainly impressive. 

In Christmas of '44 you were there? 

Yes, that's when we moved over; in Christmas of '44. 

How long were you there? 

In the summer- - 

The war ended there in May. 

The war ended there in May. 

Of course I can remember that very 

What are your memories of that? 

Just that everybody was shouting and running aroundit's France. 
Obviously they were absolutely thrilled that it was over. That's 
about all I can remember. But as I hadn't been in the military 
that long, I volunteered to serve in the Pacific theater. First 
they asked for volunteers; then they used the army system to say, 
"You volunteered." First they ask, and there were several of us 
that decided to volunteer to serve in the Pacific theater. We 
were sent down to Marseilles to ship out. We were on a troop ship 
heading for the Philippines, because by that time, the military 
had secured the Philippines and they were building up for the 
invasion of Okinawa. We were out for a couple of days when there 
was this flash about the atomic bomb going off, and then a few 
days later there was a flash that the war was over. 

Where were you? 

I don't know, 

We were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean 


Swent : 
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I'm trying to think how you were going from Marseilles. 

It would have gone through the Panama Canal. 


It wasn't going the other way--we weren't going down around 
Africa. We weren't going through the Suez. 

Through Gibraltar. 

Yes, I can remember Gibraltar. So when you said, "Where were 
you," we were someplace in the Atlantic. They got orders to move 
to the Atlantic coast and unload us. So I was back in the States, 
and I had another year to serve. I didn't know how long I had to 
serve; as it turned out, it was another year. So, first, because 
I came from California, they just gave me orders to go home and 
then to-- 

Where did you disembark? 

It's just down below Washington, D.C., in Virginia. Hampton 
Roads, I think it was. Then, on a train, I got back. 

Were you married yet? 


So you took the train all the way across the country? 

Yes. I don't know whether it was a train--! remember arriving out 
here. It might have been air on a stand-by basis. It must have 
been air on a stand-by basis because it was too quick. Then they 
put me in an army camp that had a whole bunch of German P.O.W. 's 
[Prisoners of War] in the Stockton areaall prisoners of war that 
were all working with sugar beets and in the potato fields, 
harvesting them. I was there for a few months and then they 
shipped me back to Fort Dix, New Jersey, which was a big base. 

What were you doing with the P.O.W. 's? 

Army of ficer--somebody had to be in chargewe had soldiers as 
guards for them. They worked on the farms; they were farm 

You were a supervisor? 

I had seven hundred in my group-- 


Swent: Nothing to do with your training? 

Wiegel: Absolutely nothing except that you were a lieutenant and a 

lieutenant was supposed to work through a couple of sergeants, and 
it works. It does work. Then I was shipped back to New Jersey- - 
Fort Dix--and there I got back into ordnance again. I had the 
motor vehicles on Fort Dix. Then I got sick and ended up in a 
recuperation hospital in Florida for a month. It was hepatitis. 
Every time you turned around in the army you get an injection, and 
they were pretty surebecause there were several casesthey 
thought it must havein those days nobody knew much about it, so 
the treatment was just you took it easy, no fatty food or 
anything like that. 

After the recuperation hospital, I received my separation 
from service. I had a couple of months of accrued leave, so I was 
still on active duty, but detached until you served out the length 
of time that you had coming to you from accrued leave. But they 
just said, goodbye, and that was it. I came back here, and that's 
when I went to visit Professor Folsom here on campus to see about 
going to graduate school. 

Swent: You came back to live with your mother? 

Wiegel: Yes; came back home. 

Swent: And came over here to talk to Folsom? 

Wiegel: So that would have been June; I know I started to work on June 20, 
1946. That was the interesting thing too, because I was on 
terminal leave, but I got a job at the university it was a 
strange thing, the military said, goodbye. They gave me a check 
up until the end of my leave. 

Swent: You were free to do whatever? 

Wiegel: Whatever I wanted to do. At that time, everybody wanted to come 
back to college. Most of them wanted to finish. I had gotten my 
Bachelor's degree, but I wanted to go to graduate school, and 
that's why I saw my former advisor, Professor Folsom. 



Full-time Research Employee 

Swent: Why did you want to go on to graduate school? 

Wiegel: I don't really know; I just decided I wanted to go to graduate 

school. I actually was thinking about what nowadays we call the 
M.B.A.--they didn't call it that. But it was called the School of 
Commerce, and I was actually thinking of doing that, but my 
sister--the middle sister, Wilma, who was a secretary at Shell 
Oil--and her boss was the head of manufacturing at Shell; that is 
all of the refineries. At that time it was Monroe Spaght. 


Wiegel: He said it would be better to get an M.S. in mechanical 

engineering. He had a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford. He was 
from Eureka. He eventually became managing director of the entire 
worldwide Shell Oil complex in London. So I got good advice from 
the person who obviously knew. [laughter] 

Swent: Yes, indeed. 

Wiegel: It was just one of those fortunate things. So when I came on 

campus, I came to see my advisor in mechanical engineering, and he 
said, "What are you doing?" 

And I said, "I'm on terminal leave." 

He said, "Would you like a job for two weeks?" 

I said, "Yes." It was a classified job on the Bikini test, 
and I've been here ever since. I started the 20th of June, 1946, 
and I'm still here on campus in 1997. I was hired fifty years ago 
last summer. 


Swent: Last June. And it wasn't anything you intended, it just 

Wiegel: Nothing was planned. I cannot tell you why I decided I wanted to 
go to graduate school; I have no idea. 

Swent: But it turned out to be fortunate. 

Wiegel: I'm very pleased that I did. It's been a very interesting and 
pleasant life. 

Swent: And Folsom was still here, and had been one of your favorite 

Wiegel: He was a tough person. 
Swent: Was he? 

Wiegel: Yes. But he left a little later, and went to [University of] 

Michigan as the head of engineering research, and then he became 
president of Renselaer. 

Swent: Renselaer Polytechnic? 

Wiegel: Yes, Renselaer Poly; he was president of it. Incidentally, the 

library there is named after him now, I understand. He died last 
year. I kept up with him all these years. We've been good 
friends all these years. 

The Bikini Test; Would Operation Crossroads Cause a Tsunami? 

Swent: So the Bikini job--I think we have time; would you like to talk 
about that research project? Your first one. 

Wiegel: It is interesting. Several of the people involved in the Bikini 
Test from Berkeley and from Scripps Institute of Oceanography 
which is a part of the University- -were on Oahu as a part of the 
staging for the tests because it took months to get everything 
down there and installed. 

On April 1, 1946, there was an earthquake up in the 
Aleutians, whichnow we knowtriggered a massive underwater 
landslidetriggered what we call a tsunami, popularly called 
tidal waves, and it caused a lot of damage and loss of life in the 
Hawaiian Islands. Remember this was in the Aleutians that it was 
triggered. The tsunami waves also caused damage along the north 


coast of California. They were worried that a nuclear explosion 
might well trigger an underwater landslide on the ocean side of 
the atoll which would generate a tsunami, which might cause 

Let me back up: about ten years ago, I was having lunch in 
southern California with Roger Revelle. Roger was largely 
responsible for the start of UC San Diego. Roger was also the 
person that most people give credit for as thinking about the 
problem with carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect. He's the 
one that is generally given credit for that. But he was a navy 
commander during the war, and he was the contact with the people 
and this is an area we'll get into much detail laterat Scripps 
and Berkeley on the amphibious research, but he also headed up the 
oceanographic segment of the science thing for the Bikini test. 

He was talking with O'Brien at Bikini, and was worried about 
this. O'Brien said, "I'll send a cablegram back and we'll get a 
test done, because I know that we can do something in the 
laboratory." That's when I happened to walk into Folsom's office. 
He had just got this cablegram from Bikini, and O'Brien was the 
dean of engineering here at the time, but he was at Bikini for the 
test. I walked in the door, and I did the job 

Swent: So this was a rush job? 

Wiegel: I had two weeks to do the whole thing: figure out what to do, set 
it up, run the experiments, analyze the results, say whether it 
looked like it was going to be dangerous or not dangerous . 

Swent: What a responsibility! 

Wiegel: For reasons that it took years to find out, what I did was right, 

Swent: Fortunate. 

Wiegel: But O'Brien knew it probably would be, because he had the 
background to realize it. 

Swent: So you had to know all the structure of the atoll and so on, 
didn't you? 

Wiegel: No, nobody knew very much of anything about that. I just made an 
equivalent of something like fractured rock, and put it in an 
unstable situation, triggered it so it went downit was in the 
waterit moved under the water, and it generated water waves as 
it went out, and I could measure them and then scale up to the 


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prototype. Of course, now it's very clear, but it was not at all 
clear in those days, that it wouldn't be very important, because 
you had to have something with much larger length than the water 
depth in order to generate waves that would be of ocean-wide 
importance; it would only have local importance. 

So you decided it was okay? 

I said, "It scales up small." 

I see. 

They decided it was okay. 

So it was just a complete accident that I was employed at Cal. (I 
was, however, a reader for one semester when an undergraduate.) I 
don't know whythey had me on the payrollthey had other work to 
do, so I just did it. In other words, it was just for two weeks, 
but once I was on the payroll, there were other things. It was 
all classified in those days. It was all very interesting. 
Because of this, I didn't go back to school as such. They had a 
deal that a university employee could take a course for credit 
each term if he or she was accepted, and I had been accepted. So 
I worked full-time and then took a course, and then another 
course, and then another course. 

So I never came back as a student as such, I simply took one 
course at a time. Then at the end, I was sent away before the 
last semester ended, but I finished my Master's. That's why I 
didn't get a Ph.D., because I was sent by Dean O'Brien to do 
something else for the Marine Corps, and I spent two years. By 
then, I wasn't even interested in any more advanced work. 

What sorts of experimentsafter the Bikini one then were you 
doing research? 

I did field measurements, and measured waves, worked on the design 
of wave recorders. I was also loaned for an interval to Professor 
Harold Johnson, who was doing work in high speed aerodynamics of 
what we call rockets now in the atmosphere on the heating and I 
worked with him. I did some of the first tests and calculations 
on that. But then I went back into oceanography, but I did do 
some of the earliest work on the aerodynamic heating of rockets- 
re-entry vehicles- -whatever you want to call them. 

In those days we were worried about getting them out because 
it wasn't anything to do with manned flight; it was straight 
military applications. So that's how I did it, and eventually I 


did get a Master's degree, but then I was sent to head up this 
research project on amphibious oceanography. 

Swent: That was down the road a ways. 

Wiegel: That was in December "48. Anne came over to visit in 1948, and we 
got married. 

Swent: But you started here in '46? 

Wiegel: In two years, I was working full-time, but I managed to take 

enough courses to get my master's degree. I've always been a hard 

Swent: Were you instructing students as well? 

Wiegel: Not then. 

Swent: You were just doing research? 

Wiegel: I had no intention to go into teaching; never entered my mind. 

Swent: Oh, really? 

Wiegel: No. That all came by complete accident at a later date. 

Swent: You were doing research and experiments? 

Wiegel: And a lot of field work. A certain amount of field work. Then, 
when I went down to Camp Pendleton with the Marine Corps , it 
became all work in the field, which is very important because-- 
this was the real thing. 

Swent: That's the real thing. 

Wiegel: That's one part of the real world, yes. That was very important, 
because that has always given me a different way of looking at 
research, both laboratory and theoretical. I'm very pleased that 
it went that way. 

Swent: We might expand just a little bit more on Bikini. This was 

research that was done by the government and the university in 

Wiegel: Operation Crossroads. It was the big nuclear device in Bikini 

Lagoon, and they had many, many naval ships and craft: LSTs, LVTs, 
aircraft carriers. They were in the lagoon, and they exploded the 
device and studied what happened to them. We were interested in 


the size of the waves; the base surge that generated waves that 
moved out, and how it impacted the ships, and then how it overran 

It's a huge amount of water, and it moves out. It turns out 
mathematically that it's in many ways similar to the generation of 
tsunamis, so there was a classified segment of stuff that always 
went with this kind of thing for quite a few years. 

Swent: I was interested too in the collaboration between the university 
and- -was it the army or the navy? 

Wiegel: That was navy. The Bureau of Ships at that time the university's 
connection was with the Navy Bureau of Ships . That was the 
nuclear device test, Operation Crossroads. 

Swent: Because I think this was sort of the beginning of such 
collaborations, wasn't it? 

Wiegel: It started during the war. 

Swent: Before the war, universities didn't do military research, did 

Wiegel: MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] might have. Somebody 
must have been working on the radar and stuff. Somebody must have 
been doing that; my guess is that it was MIT. Berkeleyit was 
during the war, and it was before this; this goes back to the 
amphibious work and the generation of waves by winds; the 
prediction of surf; how high will it be in a landing? 

Swent: --for planning invasions. 

Wiegel: --for invasion, and what will be the effect on landing craft? The 
effect on landing craft--a good deal of that was done at Berkeley. 
We had a little model towing tank here at Berkeley. But also, 
they were out measuring wavesmeasuring surf, surveying profiles 
through the surf zone because nobody knew anything about this. 
Landing craft would come in, and suddenly would hit bottom and 
would be inundated by if you turn around, and look at the wall, 
you'll see two photographs: at the top is a Marine Corps 
amphibious tractor that has been waterproofed. That's an 
amphibious tractor coming in through the surf. Down at the 
bottom, you see what they call a DUKW, which was a two-and-a-half- 
ton truck by General Motors but a boat, also. 

By amphibious, it can work in the water or on land, and can 
move between the two. That's the sort of stuff that was being 


done at Berkeley- -how were these things behaving and why, and I 
spent quite a while working on this. Berkeley hadthere were 
only four schools of naval architecture and marine engineering in 
the United States, and one of them was at Berkeley, one at MIT, 
one at Michigan, and a private one on Long Island. So we had a 
little bit of background here at Berkeley in the naval 
architecture stuff. 

Swent: So when were you working on this? 

Wiegel: That was 

Swent: When you were an undergraduate? 

Wiegel: No, that's when people like O'Brien and Folsom 

Swent: But these were developed 

Wiegel: This was afterwards. 1 worked on them after the war. 

Swent: Because they were used in the war. 

Wiegel: Oh, yes. The Marine Corps wanted to know much more about how they 

Swent: They were used, but they didn't know what some of their 
characteristics were, and how to improve them. 

Wiegel: They lost a lot of people; and they were killed not by the enemy 

gun firethere were a lot of people killed by enemy gun fire but 
a lot of people were killed by straight accident of these 
operations, turning over in the surf and were drowned. 

Swent: By what kind of accidents? 

Wiegel: Just accidents; capsized, and they would be trapped and drowned. 
That's what the Marine Corps wanted to find out after the war. 

Swent: Why that was happening. 

Wiegel: Why it was happening, how they could design better techniques, 
better equipment. This then got into the development of 
helicopters; maybe the best thing is not to go through the surf, 
but to fly over the top. That's a whole other phase; that's after 
the war. During the war, some people at Berkeley like O'Brien and 
Folsom and Joe Johnson (who was working on underwater explosions) 
were working on and another name, John Isaacs he was older, came 
back to school and went through in three years in civil 


engineer ing- -but he's the one that developed most of these 
techniques for measuring things in the actual surf. He had been a 
commercial fisherman as a part of his younger career. 

But that was the war stuff. After the war, the Marine Corps 
wanted to find out much more about it. But that we'll get into 
later, because ultimately I was the project engineer writing a 
seventeen-hundred-page manual on amphibious oceanography for the 
Pentagon. We've kind of gone ahead now, this was done after the 
field work for the Marine Corps, after we had returned to campus. 
I never intended to teach; it never entered my mind. It came 
about at a later date. 

Swent: Serendipity. 

Wiegel: So I was doing all this between '46 and '48, and that's when Anne 
came over to visit my mother. Then we got married- -about a week 
later, Dean O'Brien sent me out to head up the project for the 
Marine Corps. That's when the semester system- -you finished 
lectures before Christmas, but then came back after Christmas for 
examinations. I was sent before Christmas--! know I never took a 
written examination in the last course; I think the professor must 
have just examined me orally or something. It's hazy. Anyhow, I 
finished; I got my master's degree. 

Swent: This might be a good place for us to stop, although I do have more 
tape if there's anymore. 

Wiegel: This seems to be a reasonable place to stop. 

Swent: Let's just talk about your children for a few minutes. 

Wiegel: Yes. We have three children, and they all graduated from Cal. 

Swent: So that's two generations of 100 percent Golden Bears. 

Wiegel: Right. I want to be sure that's in there. 

Swent: Let's get your children's names. 

Wiegel: The oldest is John Mansfield; he graduated--! can't remember the 
dates. He's just forty-one this year; he graduated in chemical 
engineering. My eldest daughter, Carol, graduated in forestry, 
and she's thirty-eight this year. My youngest daughter, Diana, 
graduated in economics, and she's thirty-five. Then later on, she 
went and got an M.B.A. at UCLA [University of California at Los 
Angeles]. Anyhow, all three were Cal grads. 

Swent: That's wonderful. John Wiegel: he would be the third? 

Wiegel: No, because there were different middle names. Our son is John 
Mansfield, after my wife's older brother. 

Swent: John was your grandfather's name also, and your father's. 

Wiegel: No, my brother's name is John, but he was always known by his 
middle name, Mason. 

Swent: So you've continued that tradition? And he's also an engineer? 
Wiegel: Chemical engineer. 

Swent: That's wonderful. I think perhaps that's a good place for us to 
stop. You're going off for three weeks in Hawaii. 

Wiegel: Maui first, Kauai for a week, and then the Kona coast of Hawaii. 

Swent: And you've done this many times? 

Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: It's a tradition. 

Wiegel: It's a tradition; we've done it--I won't say every year since I've 
retired, because I was recuperating from open-heart surgery two 
years ago. Didn't go any place then. 

[Interview 2: February 4, 1997] it 

Swent: We're beginning the second interview, and you're recalling being 
at Berkeley beginning your research work. Perhaps you would like 
to talk about the Richmond Field Station. 

Wiegel: Well, the Richmond Field Station didn't come into existence until 
several years after the war. I think it's best to talk about it 
at the appropriate time, and start in what I did when I first came 

Swent: You were a graduate student at that time. 

Wiegel: I came here to apply for graduate school, and was offered a job to 
do for two weeksa rush job, which I mentioned earlier, and then 
I was asked to do something else, and then something else. I 
became a graduate student, but not in a normal sense. I was a 
full-time research employee, and at that timemaybe still a 
university employee can take one course at a time as long as he or 


she meets all the criteria, and that's what I did. So even though 
the G.I. Bill [Servicemen's Readjustment Act, 1944] was in effect, 
I made almost no use of it whatsoever because I was a full-time 
employee, and I believe the tuition at that time was only 
something like twenty-seven dollars a semester. So it was not 
really important. So I was working full-time. 

Swent: In reading Morrough O'Brien's oral historywhen he first started 
out, there was only one student in the graduate school, and then I 
believe there was a huge burgeoning after World War II, wasn't 

Wiegel: When I started to do the graduate studiesand it would have been 
in the fall of 1946 there were not many graduate students at that 
time because they had this big bulge a tremendous demand of 
returning veterans to finish their undergraduate degrees, or, 
because of the G.I. Bill, start with their undergraduate degrees. 
So there were very few graduate students . 

Swent: Still? 

Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: Do you recall how many there were? 

Wiegel: I can't remember. The college would have all those statistics. 

There were very few, that's all I can remember. I was a graduate 
student in mechanical engineering, and I believe I knew all of the 
other graduate students in mechanical engineering. I think there 
were only a few dozen; it's something that small. 

Wave and Beach Research for the Bureau of Ships 

Wiegel: I joined, then, this group that were doing the wave and beach 
observations: the study of landing craft performance for the 
United States Navy Bureau of Ships. This was a continuation of 
the war-time activities that was done in support of the amphibious 
landings in both the Pacific, North Africa, and across the channel 
into France. We were doing field work, so I would go out, and we 
were doing surveys of beaches and using the DUKWs, which is an 
amphibious truck. It was called WOBS (Wave Observations, Bureau 
of Ships); then the WAVES project. 

Swent: Where were you going? 



Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 

Well, the group had been doing studies in California, Oregon, 
Washington. The first one I worked on was surveys at Half Moon 
Bay in California. Then the university was asked to observe a 
major rehearsal at Camp Pendleton of the amphibious landings--it 
was a rehearsal or practice by the Navy Pacific Amphibious Command 
and the Marine Corps- -and so I participated in that and went down 
to Camp Pendleton with a group of engineers and others from 

We observed the observations and made measurements --more as 
an operations research activity. Some of the photographs that you 
see on the wall of these landing ships and things of that sort 
were taken of these rehearsals. 

You are an expert photographer, 
you start taking pictures? 

When did this begin? When did 

I'm not an expert photographer. I learned that if you take a lot 
of photographs, occasionally you get a good photograph, [laughter] 
There's a big difference. 

I've seen some very nice photographs that you took. 

That's because I took many, many photographs and occasionally got 
some very nice photos. 

There were some of Half Moon Bay that were in one of the 
publications that you had taken. 

Yes. Some of these you see on the wall I took; some, other people 
took. Willard Bascom (he was known as Bill then) took some of 
them, John Isaacs took some of them, Don Patrickmany people took 
different things. We had a very large collection of photographs 
which are still around. I'm afraid they'll get lost one of these 
days. Those things happen. 

Security Clearance 

Swent: We'll have to talk about your archive later. Maybe you'll keep 
them there. Did you have to get clearance for these things? 

Wiegel: I had clearance. Yes, it was a classified contract. We all had 

Swent: You went through a clearance procedure? 



Swent : 


Swent : 


Yes. I don't remember what the procedures were at that time, 
certainly we all had clearance. 


The reason I'm asking this particularly is because in John 
Whinnery's oral history, 1 the question was asked about the furor 
over the loyalty oath later, and he said it didn't affect these 
people because you had all clearance and gone through that anyway. 
It was a matter routine to-- 

We never even thought about it. Many of us had been in the 
military. We understood the necessity for confidential work for 
military sort of things . What we were doing eventually became 
generally useful worldwide for civil works, but we were doing it 
for military operations at that time. So every one of us were 
cleared. It was a routine check-up; I don't remember the details. 

Were you able to discuss what you were doing, 
you tell your wife where you were going? 

for instance? Did 

Yes. There are different levels of clearance. The fact that we 
were working on things was not classified. The details of some of 
some of these things were classified. But within, I would say, a 
couple of years at the most, they declassified most of them. It's 
only later on when I started to do some work on the preliminary 
studies of the Polaris missile launchings from submarines that it 
was very high classification. That you couldn't even talk about 
at that time. You couldn't even say you were doing anything. But 
that was a very special thing. 

Beach Trafficability, Liquefaction, Surf Forecasting 

Swent: We'll have to mention that in more detail later. At this time, 
the landing craft and the DUKWs--you were observing the waves? 

Wiegel: Waves --how they affected beaches, how the landing craft operated 
when they were coming in through the surf, how they operated on 
the beach face, how the vehicles behaved as they were coming off 
the landing craft and moving up over sand. In fact, it's rather 

1 John R. Whinnery, Researcher and Educator in Electromagnetics. 
Microwaves, and Optoelectronics. 1935-1995; Dean of the College of 
Engineering. UC Berkeley. 1959-1963. Regional Oral History Office, The 
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1996. 


interesting: historically, one portion of it developed into what 
is known as beach traf ficability. Too often a vehicle would 
unload from the landing craft and get stuck in the sand- -couldn't 
moveand they'd just clog up your beaches. After studying it for 
a while, it became evident that the problem was largely what we 
now call liquefaction. 

Harry Seed and Others; The Synergy of Sharing Ideas at the 

Wiegel: In the early 1950s, we had a special contract with the navy--not 
part of the broad studiesbut a special contract to look into 
this beach traf ficability. Professor Horonjeff was the principal 
investigator, and I was a member, and a young assistant professor 
of civil engineering by the name of Harry Seed was on it. Harry 
Seed went on to develop most of the theory which is used worldwide 
on liquefaction, which is a major problem of some earthquakes. 

Swent: Now this gets into geology and seismology. 

Wiegel: It gets into geology, seismology. I could get into that later, 
but Harry Seed is important because he eventually received the 
National Medal of Science for the work that he did in soil 
mechanics, earthquake loading, and especially liquefaction. It 
stemmed from these studies he made for this military problem. Now 
we can go back because that happened at a later date, but I wanted 
to be sure we get that in. 

I think I'd like to say in general that looking back, I've 
really been fortunate with the remarkable type of people that I 
have worked with, both with faculty, other engineers, and then the 
high quality students that we've always had. This all works 
together. This is synergy. You don't do these things by 
yourself; everybody talks to each other, you share ideas, you talk 
back and forth, and sometimes, you're never completely sure where 
something came from because each of you adds a little bit and 
piece and modify it and so forth. That's one of the reasons this 
university became great; there was this large group of people that 
were very, very good. Harry Seed, of course, being one of them. 

Swent: That's the beauty of the academy, isn't it? 

Wiegel: Yes. Of course, the problem is now we're getting to where many of 
them are deceased. Both Seed and Horonjeff died some years ago. 
Folsom, O'Brien, and Isaacs are also dead now. 


Swent: I thought that they laid out metal screening on the beaches? 

Wiegel: In some places, but it didn't work very well. They bent down and 
wound up and it didn't work very well. 

Swent: No. It was impractical. 

Wiegel: The other one I worked with at that time on these things in 

addition to 0'Brien--of course O'Brien was dean so I'd see him 
very, very rarely--but it was Professor Joe Johnson; John Isaacs-- 
who shortly afterward left and went down to Scripps Institution of 
Oceanography, which is a part of UC San Diego. Well, then there 
wasn't a UC San Diego; it was a part of the university. He spent 
the whole rest of his professional career at Scripps. Then 
Willard Bascom went on to do a lot of the early work on the deep 
sea drilling project, which is a very, very important scientific 
advancement . 

Swent: You mentioned at that time this was under contract with the Bureau 
of Ships-- 

Wiegel: Bureau of Ships, that's correct. 
Swent: So it was entirely a military-- 

Wiegel: It was all military at that time. It's just that almost all of 
the things that we learned turned out to be very useful for 
civilian applications and still are. Part of it was the study of 
how waves are generated by winds blowing over the ocean, how 
they're generated by ships moving across water, how they're 
generated by underwater explosions, how they're generated by 
underwater earthquakes and landslides and all of these things. So 
how waves are generated and how you can predict them was and is 
important for the militaryto be able to predict changes in wave 
conditions and not just the waves in the deep ocean, but the much 
more complicated as they come onto shore and form breakers --what 
we call surf. 

So it's surf forecasting that was an important part of it, 
and the characteristics of these waves: how they're generated, how 
to forecast them, and what are their characteristics. It became 
evident that one had to deal with statistical representations. So 
this got us into probabilistic theories and things of that sort. 

Swent: And this is fluid mechanics? 

Wiegel: It's applied to fluid mechanics, correct. We were fortunate at 
Berkeleyand it was a new professor who was an older person, 

Jerzy Neyman--one of those unbelievable Hungarians, I believe. He 
had formed what is now known as the statistics department in 
mathematics; it was separate. So one of his graduate students, 
Robert Putz, worked with us on these problems to really get into 
making use of the advanced work that was done during World War II 
in communication theory, and to use that background for the 
statistics of waves. So again, it was one of these fortunate 
things that these people were here. We could all talk to each 
other and work together. It was a wonderful time. Just like 
Professor Whinnery talked about in his field; what a good time it 
was to talk to everybody in related areas. 

Swent: So you were actually measuring or observing the waves-- 

Wiegel: Measuring them. I did some work on the design of wave instruments 
under Professor Folsom and John Isaacs. The person that did most 
of this was another young person--he was just out of the navy- 
Frank Snodgrass--who was doing a Master's degree in electrical 
engineering. He was the one who developed the advanced wave 
recorders and analysis equipment. But also working in conjunction 
with him was Neyman's graduate student, Robert Putz. So it was 
not just measuring waves; it was the analysis. 

We did much of that here at Berkeley, which then of course 
was taken over; other people did it and everybody adds to it both 
here and- -a lot of this was still being done in the UK in England 
by that group there. We knew each other; we would write back and 
forth and share all of our ideas. There wasn't competition for 
publication in those days. You shared ideas. You were trying to 
solve a problem. 

Swent: And this was a very new field, wasn't it? 

Wiegel: Yes, it was brand new in many ways. In other ways, it's a very, 
very old field. Read the Bible and St. Paul-- 

Swent : Shipwrecks . 

Wiegel: --and his travels in the Mediterranean, and you'll recognize many 
of these problems: trying to land a ship on shore under bad sea 
conditions. So it's a very old problem, but a very new way of 
trying to study it. [laughter] It's still fascinating. We did 
then, you see, field workfield measurements, and we worked in 
the laboratory. 

College Avenue Pool a Hydraulic Model Basin 

Swent: I wanted to ask about the College Avenue pool. Was that part of 

Wiegel: Yes. The College Avenue poolwhen we did field work, we worked 
in the hydraulic laboratory and we did theoretical studies as 
well, and the College Avenue pool was originally a swimming pool 
on the extension of College Avenue, which doesn't exist any more 
because that was then a part of campus -- that ' s gone. College 
Avenue- -you know where it stops now- -well, it continued. It 
jogged up and continued on to what is now part of campus. 

There was a swimming pool there, but sometime during the 
1930s--the Hearst swimming pool was built for women, and then 
there was one down in the men's gymnasium, so there was this 
earlier pool left. Fortunately nobody had bulldozed it; I guess 
there was no money to do anything like that, and so it was turned 
into a hydraulic model basin. Also, a small towing tank had been 
built there. This was during the war. I had nothing to do with 
that; it was prior to my coming. 

Swent: A towing tank? 

Wiegel: A towing tank, to tow ship models. So that's where some of the 

early studies of amphibious vehicles were made for the navy- -being 
developed by a company then known as Food Machinery Corporation. 
They were developing these amphibious vehicles; these tractors, 
one type of amphibious vehicles. They were studying the 
performance of various models in the towing tank which was right 
adjacent to College Avenue, next to the pool, and then some three- 
dimensional studies were made in the College Avenue pool. 

Swent: How valid was this? 

Wiegel: Well, many of these things were valid. Others had scale effects, 
but it was quite a while before we found out about scale effects, 
quantitatively. It wasn't until we had a full department of naval 
architecture and marine engineering at Berkeley, which was 
developed after World War II. The lead of that was a retired navy 
commodore, which is one star, and he was a naval architectHenry 
Schade, called "Packy". Then they built a big towing tank because 
they had just obtained Richmond field station at that time--I 
don't remember the date- -but that's jumping ahead. 

Swent: Were you working at the College Avenue pool at all? 

Wiegel: Just a little bit. 

Field Work and Theory; Engineering and Science 

Swent: Mostly you were doing the actual field work? 

Wiegel: Field, and things of that sort. Correct. So we did field 

studies, hydraulic laboratory work, and theory. We did research, 
but we also did practice. We were trying to develop better ways 
for these things to perform. So it was a combination. This is 
very important, I think- -that I had this opportunity to spend so 
much time doing field work, because during my whole career I've 
gone out in the field almost every opportunity that came to me. 
To see things as they actually are and work with full-scale things 
because many of the things in the laboratory do have what we call 
scale effects and I was able to observe some of these things. 
That's very important in engineering. Very important. 

I think I'd like right here to mentionbecause both O'Brien 
and Whinnery had mentioned about what similarities and what 
differences there are between engineering and science. Like John 
Whinnery said, "It's really a spectrum and at the two tails of the 
spectrum, they're very different. In other words, the real 
scientist scientists at one end, and a type of engineer that knows 
almost no science at the other. But most engineers and scientists 
are in the middle of the spectrum where you do both. You can't 
separate them." 

Swent: There's a good deal of overlap. 

Wiegel: Tremendous overlap. One of the things about engineering is that 
we so often have to deal with uncertainties. Somebody wants 
something done, and we know approximately what's going on, but 
there's all kinds of variabilities. So we're always dealing with 
these uncertainties, and we're trying to estimate: can I build 
something that will do something that is safe, and I'm not going 
to lose people and they're not going to be killed, it's not going 
to fall down. But what kind of safety factors? I think this is 
one of the main things in engineering, and of course a lot of 
scientists do this same thing; they're interested in the same 
thing . 

But another factor in engineering is the economics. If 
something costs too much, somebody's going to say, "Hey, wait, I 
don't have that kind of money. It's all very nice, but I can't 


afford it." So this is a difference in many cases, but on the 
other hand, many scientists have the same restraints. They'd like 
to perform a test, and somebody says, "Hey, wait, that costs too 
much money." So this is why I say there's many, many overlaps. 

There are two types of design in engineering: functional and 
structural. This is importanthow do you design something 
functionally, so that it can perform its function. As an example, 
the design and the layout of a harbor and the protection of the 
docks from waves so ships can be loaded and unloaded. 

Improving Risk Analysis and Probabilistic Models 

Swent: Then you mentioned the probabilityprobabilistic I think was the 
word you used 

Wiegel: Nowadays there are two terms that are used: risk analysis and 
probabilistic models. These are two pieces of the same thing. 

Swent: Now is this new wording for an old thing, or is this really kind 
of a new way of looking at things? 

Wiegel: It's an old, old thing, but it's much more quantitative now. In 
other words, when I say "we," I mean people that have this 
ability--! 'm using the very general term "we"--to be able to have 
really quantitative estimateswhat they call distribution 
functions of these occurrences. Like the distribution functions 
of floods, or the distribution function of wave heights, or the 
distribution functions of earthquakes. In other words, the 
probability of occurrence of these things. 

Then in the risk analysis, what you're doing, you're 
applying this to some other thing to see how this wave height and 
the uncertainties in the wave force equation what kind of a 
loading it's going to cause on a structure- -what load will a 
higher wave height exert on a structure. Then you come up with an 
analysis of the loading on the structure and the risk that it 
might fail. Under wave loading or earthquake loading, or wind 
loading. So the probabilistic information is in there, but then 
the risk analysis, in my opinion, is combining the probability of 
occurrence of different things with how it will affect a structure 
or an operation. So they're old, but we're doing much better now 
quantitatively and presumably will continue to improve our 
quantitative ability. 


Now to get back onto a schedule. In late December 1948: 
O'Brien asked me if I would go down to the US Marine Corps base at 
Camp Pendleton in southern California and take over as the project 
engineer on a new study that the university had contracted with 
the Office of Naval Research to do on amphibious oceanography. 
This was to work with Marine Corps personnel and equipment and run 
tests through the surf under different conditions and at different 
areas, and again, find out what was happening. 

Swent: Had you gotten your master's by now? 

Wiegel: No. 

Swent: You were still plugging along. 

Wiegel: Let me explain: At that time, we were on the semester system, but 
the semester continued after the Christmas break. I was sent down 
to Camp Pendleton, so I don't know--I had this one last course I 
was taking and whether or not the professor gave me on oral exam, 
I'm not quite sure, but at least I passed. You did a pretty 
detailed master's thesis then, and I handed my master's thesis in, 
and I did get a degree, a master's degree. 

Swent: What was the topic of your thesis? 

Wiegel: Waves in the laboratory- -and using a resistance type wave gage 
suggested to me by Professor Einstein, who had just come to 
Berkeley from Caltech--that ' s our professor Einstein, not his 

Wiegel: Einstein worked on sedimentation, and did what is generally 

considered to be the major theoretical advance in the transport of 
sediments: that's silt, sand, cobbles by rivers. This is used 
worldwide today. Then, when he came here, he started to apply 
some of his ideas to the transport of sand along beaches and 
things of that sort. 

Swent: Were you observing that as well as waves? 

Wiegel: Yes. Professor Johnson did most of the work on sedimentation. 

Einstein worked in it also. Then another person came- -he was an 
older personProfessor Trask, who was a geologist. He started 
what is known as geological engineering at the University of 
California at Berkeley. He was brought here by O'Brien especially 
to do that. He had done much work on sedimentation. His 
undergraduate degree was in mathematics, and he was, I think, 


either the first, or one of the first to apply statistical theory 
to the study of sediments. Again, that was an advantage. At a 
later date, I shared an office with him for a couple of years, 
which was great because I was able to learn from him how a 
geologist thought about these things. But that's jumping ahead. 

Project Engineer for Wave Research with the Marine Corps 

Swent: So you went to Camp Pendleton? 

Wiegel: Went to Camp Pendleton, and my wife- -Anne and I got married in 
early Decemberthen moved immediately to Camp Pendleton. As I 
said, I did somehow wrap up whatever I was doing and got my 
Master's degree, but that was the end of my graduate work. I had 
no intention of teaching; it never even entered my mind. I was 
going to continue working for a while on amphibious oceanography 
because it was interesting, and then go out in industry someplace. 

Swent: What opportunities would there have been in industry? 

Wiegel: Well, I was interested in the oil companies, and I would have 
applied to Shell Oil or Chevron then called Standard Oil of 

Swent: Were they doing drilling platforms and that sort of thing? 

Wiegel: Not then, that was shortly afterwards. A little later, 1 would 
have been able to work for any of the oil companies . 

Swent: At that time, I was wondering what might have been your options? 

Wiegel: Remember I was a mechanical engineer, so I was thinking in terms 

of refineries or things of that sort. But what I was doing was so 
interesting that I just forgot all about it, to be frank. I don't 
think I even thought about it until you asked the question, in all 
those years. [laughter] 

Swent: This would not have related directly to any oil occupation, would 

Wiegel: No. So I worked with the Marine Corps in landing craft. Captain 
Bill Lund was the Marine Corps captain we worked most closely 
with. But we had two navy officers: a Lieutenant (j.g.) D.A. 
Patrick of the Civil Engineer Corps was assigned to it, and then a 
Lieutenant Harold Kimberley, who was what the navy called an 


aerologist--today we'd call him a meteorologist. Again, we were 
doing surveying and wave forecasting. We had wave recorders, we 
were installing them and measuring with them. We were measuring 
landing craft performance by putting up two photographic survey 
towers, with cameras that were really photographic transits so we 
could get the information in three dimensions (by photogrammetry) 
on the performance of landing craft under different conditions. 

We started at Camp Pendleton, but then we moved up to 
Monterey Bay in a LSI [landing ship tank] the navy assigned to the 
project, and all of our equipment, the Marine Corps, and the 
amphibious vehicles were on it, and we were in Monterey Bay. We 
also had a Marine Corps aeroplane for use in taking aerial photos, 
which was flown up. In those days, you just did something, so we 
just landed and beached the LSI at Monterey Bay right near where 
now is the Naval Post-graduate School. 

Swent: It wasn't there then? 

Wiegel: It wasn't there then. It was still Del Monte, but the military 
had it because they used it during the warthe hotel. But we 
were on the beach, not the hotel. We were there near Fort Ord, 
and operated in Fort Ord, which is a very, very difficult beach 
and surf conditions to operate at. From there, we moved up to 
Oregon, at Clatsop Spit. That's immediately south of the mouth of 
the Columbia River. That was, you might say, the absolute 
opposite condition of Fort Ord. Fort Ord is a very steep beach 
and Clatsop Spit is a very, very flat beach. To give you an idea; 
the slope of the beach in Fort Ord may be one foot vertical and 
ten or fifteen horizontal; at Clatsop Spit it's something like one 
in 150. So there is a tremendous difference in the type of surf. 

But this is what we were studying: how would vehicles 
perform, what was the surf like under these different conditions. 
Again, it was this opportunity to study things in the field as 
they actually are. I've been very fortunate to have been able to 
do that. Then we came back to Berkeley-- just the two of us-- 
Lieutenant Patrick of the Civil Engineer Corps was put on detached 
service or whatever they call it, and he and I then did the next 
stage of trying to wrap up the reports on what we had done for the 
Marine Corps. . 


Operation MIKI /Manual of Amphibious Oceanography 

Wiegel: In October 1949, we participated as observers of a practice 
amphibious landing [Operation MIKI] on three beaches of Oahu 
[Territory of Hawaii then] , taking many photos to document the 
beaches, surf, and landing craft performance. It was a full 
operation with an army division (2nd Division, I believe). Rear 
Admiral Doyle was Commander of Amphibious Forces, Pacific at that 
time. Johnson, Bascom, Patrick, and I went on this study, and we 
prepared several detailed reports on it for the navy and marine 

The Marine Corps then wanted us to prepare what they called 
a manual of amphibious oceanography, and I was asked to be the 
project engineer and editor of it. This turned into a 1750-page 
manual which was printed by the Pentagon printing office. I think 
it was in 1952, and it was classified at that time, but then later 
they declassified it. 

Swent: That was a long three years or so. 

Wiegel: Something like that. Yes, there was a lot of work that went into 

Pioneering Research on Seakeeping Capability of Ships 

Wiegel: The navy, at the same time--! guess it was the Bureau of Ships- 
were funding a hydraulic model study at Berkeley of a landing 
craft in the surf --that is, waves breaking on a beach in a 
hydraulic model. Professor Harold Iversen was in charge of that 
project. So we then started, by design, not by accidentto 
compare what we had observed in the ocean with measurements and 
what he and a couple of graduate students had observed in the 
laboratory. We really made some pretty good advances and when 
Commodore Schade came to start the department of naval 
architecturehe came at the invitation of Dean 0'Brien--he said 
this is the first time that he had ever seen details of the naval 
architectural seakeeping capability of a ship. It was new; nobody 
had ever done it before. So those of us in mechanical 
[engineering] who shortly after became civil [engineers], were 
working very closely with this new group in naval architecture. 


Curtis Crooke, Later of Global Marine 

Wiegel: One of the graduate students that was doing this was a young 

person by the name of Curtis (R.C.) Crooke, and I mention his name 
in particular because after he had finished, he went to work for a 
small company that had formed in southern California to do off 
shore oil drilling. The name at that time was Continental, Union, 
Shell, and Superior: CUSS. But then they changed and became known 
as Global Marine, and Bob Bauer was chairman of the board of 
Global Marine. They developed into one of the two major off-shore 
drilling companies worldwide. I mention this in particular 
because at a later dateby then, Curtis Crooke was senior vice 
president for development. He was still pretty young. Everybody 
was young in this field; there wasn't anybody old. He was the one 
that was in charge of the very, very secret program that developed 
the Glomar Explorer, which was the--I have here a newspaper 
article--! pulled it out--"ships that came in from the cold"--you 
know, from the spy episode. That was the ship that either did or 
did not lift a Russian nuclear submarine off the bottom someplace 
near the Hawaiian Islands, and that was Curtis Crooke. 

He also, on a non-classified project, was largely 
responsible for the Glomar Challenger, which was the drill ship 
developed to take the deep-sea cores that have led to remarkable 
advances in plate tectonics and all of this stuffby taking these 
cores all over the world. It was a very interesting group of 
people that were working in this area. 

Development of The Morison Equation 

Swent: Yes. The results of all of that have been tremendous. 

Wiegel: At that time, there were other ones here: I mentioned Frank 
Snodgrass and Bob Putz--but there were also other graduate 
students, Bob Fuchs and Richard MacCamy in mathematics, did their 
Ph.D.s with Hans Levy in the math department. Then Thorndike 
Saville, Jr., who did his master's degree, and then Jack Morison-- 
one r, one s--and Jack was the one that did his work under O'Brien 
on the wave-induced forces on piles. I mention this because that 
equation is known as the Morison equation. It should be known as 
the O'Brien, because O'Brien wrote it down and said, "Here, test 
this." It should be known as the O'Brien-Morison-Johnson-Schaaf 
equation. We all agree that it should have those four people's 
names on it . 


Swent : 

But it's known as the Morison equation; it's still used 
worldwide. As far as we know, it has been used in the design of 
every single pile-supported--or what we call space frame 
[fabricated with steel tubes] off-shore oil structure in the 
world. I don't care whether it be Japanese, Korean, U.S., French, 
Norwegian, Britishbut every single one uses what is known as the 
Morison equation. 

What were the four names? O'Brien, Morison, Johnson- - 

O'Brien, Morison, Johnson, and Schaaf. Schaaf was a theoretician 
and did a lot of work in rarefied gas dynamics. That's what he 
became famous for at Berkeley. Schaaf became chairman of the 
department of mechanical engineering. So that was, again, an 
interesting group. 

Rapid Deployment Concepts for the Navy 

Wiegel: We also were doing a lot of work for the navy in concepts of 

breakwaters for rapid deployment. In other words, not these big, 
massive rubble-mound breakwaters that take two years to build, but 
something you could take to a site, and it's either floating or 
it's something you could drill or drive some piles inpneumatic 
breakwaters, compressed air--all sorts of ideas. It's the things 
that the navy could use to deploy rapidly. You see, getting 
across and getting your landing craft in, and securing the 
beachhead is just the first part; then you have got to bring 
supplies in. For that, you have to have some of sort of harbor. 

About this time in the early 1950s, there were other studies 
going on with the use of helicopters for landing, because it 
became clear that the best way for the Marines to do their 
landings, would be to come in and fly and land over the shore by 
helicopters and secure it. But you still have to have supplies. 
Now, I would like to just mention something else: this is a 
Science magazine-- 

Swent: We could just include that if you want. 

Wiegel: --3 January, 1997. A little note "Navigating the shrinking 

financial seas for Marine geo-science." It says the agency, ONR 
[Office of Naval Research], previously focused, "'on open ocean 
and anti-submarine warfare because of the Soviet threat, 1 says 
Thomas Kinder, a program manager in coastal dynamics at ONR. 'But 
now, because of things like Somalia and Desert Storm, the emphasis 


is on littoral--for emphasis, coastal warfareand getting landing 
craft safely onto hostile shores. 1 " 

Swent: Isn't that interesting? Fifty years later. 

Wiegel: Fifty years later, and I know they had a meeting with lots of 
people at the navy postgraduate school. 

Last year, there was a meeting at the Naval Post-graduate 
School in Montereyunclassified meetingof people of several of 
the services and so forth on what research should be done on 
coastal works, of coastal oceanography to work on this problem. I 
didn't attend, but I saw the note from the meeting, and there was 
no one at the meeting who seemed to have had any experience 
whatsoever in actual operations. They were all scientists, each 
one saying the work they were doing should be continued- -was 
important . 

So I think that the navy would be well advised to go back to 
some early reports and see what was known and what is known. This 
is fifty years later. 

Swent: Just give me a chance to ask a question that I had. This mentions 
the Office of Naval Research, and you were working at this time 
with the Marine Corps 

Wiegel: It was an Office of Naval research contract, but the Marine Corps 
was paying for it. 

Swent: ONR did exist at that time? 

Wiegel: It had just come into existence. 

Swent: Were there these other organizations like NOAA and-- 

Wiegel: No, NOAA didn't exist then. The other organization was the Beach 
Erosion Board of the Army Corps of Engineers. At that time that 
is in the early 1950s they started to fund some research. They 
did research themselves, but they started to fund some research. 
They did fund some work here at Berkeley, at Scripps Institution 
of Oceanography, and at New York University perhaps other places, 
but I happen to be familiar with work that was done at each of 
these three places. 

Swent: But you were not working with them yet? 


Wiegel: I was starting to work on some of these things. You didn't just 
work on one thing; very often you might be working on several 
things . 

Swent: I was just wondering when that connection came. 

Wiegel: In the early 1950s. I think, for the historyand of course 

you'll have it in more detail in O'Brien's oral history but he 
was doing work with the Beach Erosion Board in the 1930s. In 
fact, he shortly became a civilian member of the Beach Erosion 
Board, and because of the work he was doingand it was largely 
field measurements in New Jersey, Long Island, California- -it was 
largely because of thatI'd better back up also there were a few 
Army Corps of Engineer Officers in the 1930s and later on also-- 
that were sent to Berkeley to do work in civil engineering. They 
worked with O'Brien and did bachelor theses, several of them using 
hydraulic laboratory models of waves and beaches. So when World 
War II came, this was known, and this is why O'Brien then worked 
closely with these others to do all this military work. But 
that's all detailed in O'Brien's history. 

So now we have the contact after the war, and the Beach 
Erosion Board, with the civil work because during the war, the 
Beach Erosion Board did all kinds of military stuff for the 
landings, especially in Europe and North Africa and so forth. So 
they wanted to get on with research because this was the time it 
was also recognized that you had to combine science and 
engineering. Engineering had to be thoroughly science-based; get 
rid of as much art you're still going to have art, but substitute 
as much science as you can for art, and then use art to help out. 

So the Beach Erosion Board had let some contracts here at 
Berkeley. So there was the Office of Naval Research then, and the 
Beach Erosion Board. The National Science Foundation and NOAA 
were not in existence at that time; later these became major 
sources of research funding. Plus, on wave- induced forces on 
structures, oil companies put money in to do research. 

Swent: Was UCLA in the picture yet? 

Wiegel: UCLA was in the picture during World War II because they had a 
professor of meteorology. That is where the navy sent their 
young, very bright officers to learn meteorology. A small group 
in the Air Force did also, with Professor Bjerknes. He was a 
Norwegian who was the founder of scientific meteorology, and he 
was at UCLA. Professor H.U. Sverdrup, who was an oceanographer 
he was a Norwegian also, and director of Scripps Institution of 
Oceanography- -was doing the development of the wave forecasting 


techniques for the military with Walter Munk. He taught some of 
the young people in this group at UCLA--so UCLA really had a major 
impact because of this one professor of meteorology. But there 
was no engineering at UCLA at that time. You went the first two 
years at UCLA, but then had to come to Berkeley for your junior 
and senior years. 

Calculating Behavior of Moored Ships; Six Degrees of Freedom 

Wiegel: At this stage, then, we were doing research on beaches and so 

forth for the army, but now we were working on the motion of ships 
for the navy, both freely floating, but also moored ships. I did 
a lot of work on the behavior of ships that were moored. There 
are many problems with moored shipsthey move around, this way 
and that. We also did some of it for an oil company- -what is now 
known as Chevron- -for drilling through a moored ship, drilling an 
oil well. Or first drilling cores, and then oil wells from a 
moored ship. It's a very, very non-linear--what a mathematician 
would call a strongly non-linear problemthe mind doesn't foresee 
these things; that's all there is to it. It's just too 
complicated. We had all kinds of troubles. 

Now, because we noticed that when you set up an experiment 
so a moored ship should just have certain degrees of motion, that 
after a while it would be moving in all different degrees. For a 
ship that isn't mooredits natural degrees of freedom are pitch, 
heave, and roll. But a moored ship has three more because of the 
moorings: which is sway, yaw, and surge. So there are what we 
call six degrees of freedomand energy was transferring amongst 
them. Now they have a new term for it; they call it chaos. This 
is one of the chaotic motions. There are different definitions, 
but this is one of the real ones. No wonder we had trouble. 
This, again, is engineering. 

We used the envelope of these motions to design for. In 
other words, we couldn't predict reliably. But we'd get enough 
information that we could develop envelopes, and then you could 
design by using those. 

Swent: Were you doing this out in the ocean? 
Wiegel: No, we did the work in the hydraulic model. 
Swent: Here on campus? 


Wiegel: No. Now we were at Richmond Field Station. So this must have 
been in the mid-1950s or something like that. Most of this was 
for the navy, and we had ship models which they built, and we 
developed the techniques of modeling this. Here again, we were 
lucky that one of the young professors was Ray (R.W.) Clough that 
worked with us for one summer. He developed the manner to be able 
to model this nonlinear system. Two of the graduate students 
working on it were R.A. Dilley and J.E. Williams. I can't get 
into it; it's very complicated. We were asked to give a paper 
over in the Netherlands, and we flipped a coin and 1 won, so I got 
sent to the Netherlands to give the paper. Van Lammeren, who was 
the head of the Dutch naval architecture group, said that our 
paper was the most original given. We had really done something 
new. Of course, we were all young. Ray Clough eventually also 
received the National Medal of Science, because he developed what 
is known as the finite element method that is used worldwide in 
the design of all kinds of structures. Again, this is one of 

Swent: It must have been exciting. 

Wiegel: It was. It was one of those interesting things. So we did a lot 
of work with the navy on this sort of stuff. But then, shortly 
after, I no longer did it. By then, we had a real good group in 
naval architecture here (Randy Paulling and John Wehausen; much 
later, Bill Webster), and they took over all this sort of thing. 
But this person I mentioned earlier, Jack Morison of the Morison 
equationthen we got a contract to measure the forces 

Project Engineer to Study Drag and Inertia in the Ocean for Signal 
Oil and Gas ## 

Swent: You were just saying that then you began a new project. 

Wiegel: Yes, an oil companyan independent oil company called Signal Oil 
and Gas Companynot Signal Oil, but Signal Oil and Gas Company. 
Sam Mosher was the founder and chairman of it- -he later became a 
regent [of the university], incidentally asked us if we would 
study wave- induced forces in the ocean to see whether there were 
scale effects. In other words, there were data and studies 
available that Morison and others did in the laboratory. So we 
got permission from Davenport Cement Company, which is about ten 
miles north of Santa Cruz, to make use of their pier that's 
extended into the open ocean. They were no longer using it for a 
ship to berth along and to ship out cement; they now were shipping 


it all by rail or by truck. So they allowed us to use their pier 
which had deteriorated badly, and we had to do some maintenance on 
the walkways to get to its end. 

This was a big advance, because now we were trying to 
install things in the ocean, and the forces were big, and you 
didn't blame a tank, you blamed the ocean. You had to work with 
it as it was. I was asked to be the project engineer, and others 
were--Dick Barry, a grad student; Ken Beebe, a graduate student; 
Jim Moon, who was a private consultant in the oil business; and 
Frank Snodgrass again, in instruments; and another grad student, 
Mike Hall. We all worked on it. Incidentally, Beebe eventually 
became president of a company, PMB, which was bought out later by 
Bechtel; it's now a wholly owned subsidiary of Bechtel 
Corporation. That took about a year's work down there, and 
another year doing the write-ups and so forth. 

Swent: How is this different from what you had done before? 

Wiegel: This was installing a vertical circular cylinder one of them six 
inches in diameter, another a fabricated cylinder two feet in 
diameter- -into the ocean and all instrumented with strain gauges 
to measure the strains and then find out the stresses and 
calculate the forces . We had wave recorders there measuring the 
waves, so we were checking out the Morison equation, and 
calculating what's called coefficient of drag and coefficient of 
mass. There are two components of the forces: one is the standard 
drag force, which is what's used in aerodynamics and things of 
that sort; but because of waves not being steady, we have 
accelerations, so we have inertial forces. So it's both drag and 
inertial. They work both at the same time, but they are in 
quadrature. Again, it's very difficult to sort out. 

Swent: They work at the same time, but they're-- 

Wiegel: You always have these two force components, but trying to sort 
them out is complicated. Again, you have to use statistical 
techniques to do it well. 

Swent: There was one word in there that I missed; did you use the word 
quadra. . . ? 

Wiegel: Quadrature. One component is proportional to the sine, and one is 
proportional to the cosine square. I no longer can remember what 
the word quadrature formally means, but that's what it means from 
a practical standpoint. Even though we were doing the work for an 
oil company and they paid for it all, they said, "Go ahead and 
publish it." At that time, things had really not been worked out 


as to what you could publish and what you couldn't. Remember, so 
much of what we had done for the military was classified; we were 
just used to writing reports for the navy on a classified project 
and that was fine. Much of it, the navy said, "Go ahead and 
publish it after the war." But it wasn't worked out yet with a 
private company; they had paid for it. But they said "Go ahead" 
so there was no problem. 

The Value of Publication in Journals to Disseminate Knowledge 

Swent: Where were you publishing? 

Wiegel: In journals. The results of that was in an American Society of 

Civil Engineers publication. They have several divisions. One of 
them is the waterway and port division; it's now called waterway, 
port, coastal and ocean division. It's a formally reviewed 
journaltechnical journaland we published the results in there. 
These were the only full-scale measurements of these two 
coefficients, so they were used by many companies worldwide in 
their designs. That was a big engineering step forward. Again, a 
lot of scatter, a lot of uncertainties, but you could deal with 
the envelopes of the curves. Similar work was being done at Texas 
A&M for another oil company. 

Swent: Was there, at that time, pressure or reward for publication from 
the university? 

Wiegel: For those of us in the research staff, we never thought about 

anything like that. We published because we wanted people to know 
about it. We'd attend meetings; people would say, "Will you 
publish it?" We did. We were encouraged to publish by O'Brien 
and Professor Johnson. They encouraged us to publish, but I 
wouldn't say it was pressure. You just wrote it up and published 
it because you wanted people to know about it. You've done a lot 
of work, and you thought it was pretty good. During this whole 
time, there was a lot of work being done by as I mentioned 
beforeProfessors Joe Johnson, Jack Putnam, and then later, 
Parker Trask, and also Hans Albert Einstein on sediment, beach 
movements, sand transport. 

This was almost all under contract with the Beach Erosion 
Board of the Army Corps of Engineers. About sometime in the late 
1950s or something, NSF [National Science Foundation] came in 
existence and they started to fund some of it. But I didn't work 


on those, so I can't remember exactly who funded--. I can't 
remember when they came into existence. 

Swent: Were you writing grant proposals and things like that at this 

Wiegel: They were pretty simple. Remember we were doing things they 

Swent: You weren't out searching for them; they were coming to you. 

Wiegel: They were coming to us. Not one of these did we go out and search 
for. At this time, as I mentioned before, I was again the project 
engineer. There was always a professor who was a principle 

We never published anything on the Polaris project; it was 
secret. That was really classified. We couldn't even say that we 
were working on it. It was interesting because we could see there 
was a scale effect-- I mentioned scale effects. A big contract 
was then let by the navy with Lockheed to develop a towing tank 
which was in a building that could be pressurized or evacuated by 
air--change the air pressurebecause in turn we could see that 
you had to deal with ratios to absolute pressure, not atmospheric. 
Lockheed hired three of our people away like that! They all left 
here and went to Lockheed. You had to have a secure building- 
just all kinds of things. I thought I should mention it because 
the fact that we worked on it is no longer classified at all. It 
was kind of interesting to have done that. 

Two terms have come into existence since World War II: one 
is called coastal engineering, and that's much of what I have 
done; and the other is what is called ocean engineering, and 
sometimes off-shore engineering. This would be your off-shore oil 
platforms, submersibles, underwater sensing devices all kinds of 
stuff for submarine and anti-submarine warfare would be ocean 
engineering. For the oil companies, it would be more likely 
called off-shore engineering. The reason is, in the Gulf of 
Mexico, they went from Louisiana a little off-shore and built a 
platform, so it was called off-shore. Then they kept going into 
deeper and deeperLake Maracaibo in Venezuela was first, and then 
the Gulf Of Mexico, and then the North Sea, and now it's all over 
the place. We had done much of the work for years in both of 
these areas: both the coastal stuff directly for the Army, but 
then for oil companies and so forth. 

Research on Portable Breakwaters Leads to Studies of Mixing 

Wiegel: Well, there was another thing, and I think this is important: one 
of the studies we were making for the navy for transportable 
breakwaters, was the use of a ship that could be moored, which had 
a series of pumps installed in it with holes out its side, with 
nozzles used to generate water jets. The jets would then cause a 
surface current, and the current would oppose the waves and cause 
the wave to break, and you could use it as a breakwater. It 
works, but whether or not it's practical for a particular set-up, 
depends on the wave lengths. 

Swent: So it's not a physical breakwater at all? 

Wiegel: It's not a physical breakwater, no. It was really a derivative of 
the studies we were doing for the navy or army--! don't remember-- 
it might have been navy on the use of a pneumatic breakwater- 
people kept talking about it, but it never really was any good. 
Finally, G.I. Taylor of Cambridge University showed it really was 
the horizontal currents at the surface generated by the rising air 
bubbles which caused circulationthat caused the effect. That's 
why we decided to jump over and generate the surface current 
directly. This got us into the mixing of jets. 

For quite a few years, we then studied mixing processes, 
right up until the time I retired. The mixing of a river flowing 
into the ocean or a bay (an estuary): it's fresh water into salt 
water; how does it mix? The cooling water of power plants 
discharged into the ocean: take ocean water in and cool the power 
plant steam, then discharge the warm water into the ocean; how 
does this buoyant flow mix? So all these, what we might call 
water quality, are important. So we really got into the problem 
of water quality in the coastal regime as an outgrowth of working 
on a hydraulic jet breakwater for the navy. This again is how one 
thing leads to another. Of course, now everybody is very 
interested in water quality; many students have done their theses 
on water quality. Some of it was supported by the California 
State/University of California Water Resources Center, some by the 
National Science Foundation, some by the Pacific Gas and Electric 
Company; they were interested in cooling water. So this has been 
a major sub-field in coastal engineering, which is still very 
important . 


Observations on Peak Load Anticipate Science by Thirty-Five Years 

Wiegel: I'd like to back up to the problem of wave forces on structures. 
If you have a pier through the surf--a fishing pier like the one 
at Santa Monica or Santa Cruz--and you occasionally have big waves 
that break, the surf forms right there along the pier; you have a 
breaker hitting a pile. When we were doing these field studies, 
we noticed a peak loadvery short durationa hundredth of a 
second or so but a very high load compared with the normal wave 
load. We observed it in some laboratory studies we were doing as 
well, and we filed it away--we wrote a paper and presented the 
data, or a couple of papers, but did not understand it. 

It was many years later that finally, looking at some work 
that a naval architect was doing on the landing of a sea-plane in 
the water surfacegave us the theory, or the lead to the 
development of the theory for wave loads on a horizontal member of 
an offshore gas structure in the southern North Sea- -when I say 
"we," I mean generally, not me to be able to calculate that peak 
load. So thirty-five years after the original observations, 
finally, I saw how to apply the concept to the force of a breaker 
on a vertical pile. I had to modify the concept, and include 
information on breaker kinematics, and published the work. 
Science was catching up with the engineering in that case. 

Analyzing Turbulent Motion; "We Don't Understand the Simplest 


Wiegel: Another thing is about the way waves behave not when they're 

breaking even the simplest thing even in the laboratory a nice, 
simple wave that's nice and smooth the flows around a structural 
member are rather complicated. It's not just velocities; there 
are accelerations and decelerations, and there are reversals of 
flows, so in aerodynamics and my original training in mechanical 
engineering was fluid mechanics, including aerodynamics and heat 
transfer so I had the background there in aerodynamics, you 
study flows in wind tunnels, but the flow is all going in one 
direction, not reversing. 

So what they call the wake in the flow past an airfoil or 
some other shape- -in our case, the wake becomes the leading flow 
as the flow reverses. So we have this problem of very complicated 
turbulent motion. Now turbulent motion is still one of the things 
we know very little about. There's been thousands and thousands 


of studies, and of course, at Berkeley, A.J. Chorin in the 
department of mathematicsis the leader, or certainly one of the 
leaders worldwide in the mathematical theory of turbulence. But 
even using what they call massively parallel computers, we can--I 
say "we," not "me;" I can't solve them at allthey can solve some 
of these flows when it's turbulent. 

There was an article in the January 1997 issue of Scientific 
American discussing this. With all these advances and all these 
techniques and everything, we can still explain quantitatively 
only the simplest cases. So again, we're forced to use empirical 
measurements and envelopes and things of this sort. I remember 
attending a meeting in Bristol in 1978 on hydrodynamic problems, 
et cetera, in regard to offshore oil platforms in the North Sea. 
A well known hydrodynamics person said we don't know enough about 
the theory to be able to design reliably. I said that I expect 
all of the oil in the North Sea would be depleted before the 
theorists would be satisfied. Twenty years later, it looks as if 
I was right. 

Swent: There are still things to learn? 

Wiegel: Still things to learn. But one of the things I remember from our 
Professor Einstein he was a wonderful person he said, "Knowledge 
is the inside of an expanding sphere. What you know is on the 
inside of the sphere; what you don't know is everything outside of 
the sphere; but what you know you don't know is on the surface of 
the expanding sphere. So as your knowledge increases, the sphere 
gets bigger, the surface gets bigger, so the more you know, the 
more you know you don't know." 

Swent: That's very true, isn't it? 

Wiegel: I remember something else Professor Einstein said. Incidentally, 
we called him Hans when he first came here, but Albert later. His 
family called him "Young Albert" and called his father "Old 
Albert . " 

I asked him, "Did you ever talk with your father about your 
work on sediment transport and the turbulent processes involved?" 
He said, "Yes." 

Then I asked, "But, what did he say?" 

Our Professor Einstein said, "He said it is too 
complicated." Note the "complicated" not "difficult"; this is 
important. I used to relate this to my students. 


But again, a recent article in Science was on, "Why is ice 
slippery?" Of course I thought, "Everybody knows that you can ice 
skate because of the pressure of the ice blades; it liquifies the 
ice in contact." The two professors- -one of them is here at 
Berkeley at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in chemistrysaid essentially, 
Oh no, that's what we all thought, but that isn't it. He stated: 
"...very good circumstantial evidence that the surface is 
molten. .. .the surface of ice is extremely dynamic." He was 
referring to the top layer, only a few molecules thick. In the 
articleit 's the 20 December 1996 issuethey mention another 
statement --and this was Professor Steve George at Colorado 
University who said, "This illustrates how we don't understand 
the simplest things we know about." 

I love that last quote, because this is how I feel about 
some of our things. We see them all the time, we see waves coming 
in, breaking on the beach. We see beaches come and go, and we 
know about it, but they're so complicated that we still do not 
thoroughly understand the physics. We understand portions- 
glimmers of this and that. So here's where we are, and again this 
is engineer ing- -we have to deal with these uncertainties. 

I think I mentioned that we did a lot of work on wave 
generation, and one of the people who was here-- who after he 
finished his Master's degree, went on and did a Ph.D. at Texas 
A&M, made a lot of headway in wave forecasting techniques by the 
name of Charles Bretschneider. O'Brien had asked him to study 
this and gave him directions on the way to go, to modify the 
forecasting curves used during World War II and afterward by the 
navy and everyone else, called the Sverdrup-Munk curves they were 
both at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. They were developing a 
physical theory for wave generation, and O'Brien looked at all 
their data and said, "Well, the way to handle it is so and so" and 
he told them to use dimensional analysis, which they did using 
the similarity principle. 

So the real concept on how it was done was really O'Brien's, 
not Sverdrup or Munk. They had made major headway--! don't want 
to underestimate it. Anyhow, he had Bretschneider continue it, 
and got a lot more data and made it a lot more formal. Then two 
people again Frank Snodgrass, whom I mentioned earlier with his 
instruments and Bob Putz, who was a student of Jerzy Neyman 
really went into the statistical and probabilistic models of these 
things, which are used pretty generally today. They then became 
known as the Sverdrup-Munk-Bretschneider wave forecasting curves. 

Another example of where sometimes your observations get 
ahead of you: John Isaacs had mentioned to me he had observed, in 


some conditions in the ocean near shore, waves which look like 
they have some of the characteristics of a Mach reflectionthat 
is a sonic boom and how it behaves moving in contact with land. 

So I started to look into it with graduate students--! was a 
professor by thenand we developed knowledge of the subject with 
three or four grad students doing laboratory studies, preparing 
papers on the finding, and presenting them at meetings and this 
has become very well-known. Professor Ed Laitone at Cal was using 
the method of characteristics to study shock waves theoretically 
and also once towed an airfoil at the free surface (air/water); he 
told me that the ratio of C v and C P were such it might be valid to 
study shallow water waves by this meanswhich is what we did. 
But the theory was not developed. Professor Lighthill in Britain 
had done a theoretical analysis of the sonic boom/ land surface 
problem. At the end of the paper he indicated he would continue, 
for water waves, but I have never seen this I don't think it was 
done. This is again a very difficult non- linear phenomenon, and 
it's only within the last ten years that theoretical advances have 
been made by Professors John Miles, W.K. Melville, C.C. Mei, Phil 
Liu, and their graduate students. So sometimes you're way ahead 
in observations and developing methods for handling problems. We 
learned how this would affect a breakwater, for example. So 
again, this is one of the places where engineering is different 
from the science, because in science, you'd want to be able to 
formulate the thing mathematically. Well, nobody was able to do 
that until much later, but still we could deal with it. I think 
that's kind of important. 

Swent: Did the scientists then draw on your observations? 

Wiegel: Oh sure, we (this is the general "we") all worked together. Once 
they make some advances, then we know how better how to look at 
things and what to measure. It is an iterative way you advance. 

I think I've already covered the rapid deployment for the 
military and so forth. 

Swent: Were there ever any I don't want to use the word conflict but 

differences between projects that were funded by different groups, 
or requested by different agencies. Were there cases where you 
were doing research for one 

Wiegel: Never any conflicts, no. 

Swent: --person or entity and other research for another agency? 

Wiegel: One study always helped out another study. 


The Caldwell Equation 

Swent: That was my next question: were you able to channel a lot of 
things from one research project into another? 

Wiegel: All the time. There was one other thing: I mentioned that the 

studies of sediment transportthat is, sand motion on beaches and 
things of this sortthat were being done here was by Johnson and 
Einstein and Trask, and I did a little bit, but not much. I've 
always been interested. They did quite a bit. There was an 
equation that appeared in a study in Orange County at Anaheim Bay 
where they had beach erosion problems. It was for the Los Angeles 
district and a person by the name of Joe Caldwell came across a 
formula that somebody at Scripps had said, "This should be used." 
He called it the "littoral drift factor." We don't know who the 
person was; unfortunately, it's been lost. But it's the right 
concept that sand transport by wave action appears to be 
proportional to wave work (time rate of work, "wave power") rather 
than wave height. My guess was it was probably Walter Munk or Bob 
Arthur but I don't know, and we can't find out from the written 
record, and they don't remember. 

Anyhow, it was written down and it appeared in this Corps 
publication and credit given to the input from Scripps. But it 
requires, again, field measurements, because there's a coefficient 
in the equation that masks so much that you don't know. Caldwell 
used the Corps' surveythe measurements made by surveying beaches 
to the southeast of Anaheim Bay and came up with an estimate of 
this coefficient. It's called the Caldwell equation, or later the 
"SPM formula" (as it appeared in the Corps' Shore Protection 
Manual), but as he said he didn't do it, but he was the one that 
got a coefficient for real beaches. It's still useful today. I'd 
like to jump ahead because it illustrates something: last year I 
was asked to review a whole series of reports by the Los Angeles 
District of the Army Corps of Engineers and by a number of 
consultants to them on the Orange County coast waves, and 
currents and tides, sand transport and beach changes and coastal 
subsidence all kinds of things. 


Wiegel: --and the result of the study was for use by Orange County 

personnel and the county supervisors to make long-term plans for 
the whole coast: "what are we going to do; what should be our 
policies?" This is this general coastal zone management thing 
that we like to do or would like to do and finally can do when 
there is funding. The more you know about a subject, the more 


likely you are to make good decisions. It doesn't mean you will 
make a good decision, but at least you're more likely to if you 
obtain good scientific understanding and information. 

I looked intoas a part of thisa study made by some South 
African engineers published in an international journal just two 
or three years ago. They looked at all of the formulas for 
alongshore transport of sand used worldwide, and evaluated them to 
decide which one or ones might be best, using all the good data 
they could get. The Caldwell equation was the second best of 
these. I think- -that is, of course, the people that developed it 
had the right idea there are more advanced theories than the 
Caldwell equation, but when you get into the more detailed ones, 
they are so complicated you don't know how to handle them, and 
interrelationships cannot be entwined. So this I found very 

The measurements used by Caldwell were made at the place for 
which I was making this review for the Army Corps of Engineers in 
Orange County. I found that kind of interesting because you see, 
1956 to 1996 

Swent: --forty years. 

Wiegel: --forty years. So again, I think you hear a lot about "publish or 
perish" and all this and that, and "we" didn't do it to publish or 
perish; "we" did it to make the information available. But this 
shows you how important it is to publish these things, because it 
was available to others. Joe Caldwell died years ago and nobody 
remembered anything about it, so if it hadn't been for the fact 
that he wrote this report and so forth, it would have been lost. 
I think that's an important thing: that "publish or perish" is 
good for several reasons, that being one: to document these 
things . 

Swent: Also I think it's interesting that it had spread as far as South 

Wiegel: It was spread every place: Japan; Australia; all through the 
European continent; Taiwan uses it; it's used in India. 

Swent: These things are valid all over. 

Wiegel: Yes. If you do have the right physical concept, then it's valid. 
Again there is scatter, and this is still a real problem. That, I 
think, is kind of a broad picture of the research. It should be 
stated that all of this was done by graduate students- -with a few 
exceptions. I started as a grad student, and then I was full-time 


research for a while; but I think there were only two or three of 
us like that; everyone else was graduate students then and all the 
way through. 

I should mention that at about 1957--this will get us into 
what will be coming up next timesome timeand I can't remember 
just when I got into teaching by complete accident. A professor 
at UC Davis left one week before, or two weeks before school the 
fall semester was to start and they needed somebody to teach 
Irrigation 117, which is hydraulics. So the dean up there phoned 
the dean at Berkeley- -that must have been O'Brien still and 
asked, "Can anybody teach this course?" 

I was asked would I mind teaching it. I said, "Sure, I'll 
do it." So I would take the train up. They arranged for me to 
teach twice a week, and I'd take the train and I'd do all the 
preparation on the side. I was still working full-time on my 
research because I couldn't drop it, but I taught that course. So 
I got into teaching by accident. 

Swent: We'll go into the teaching next time. We might just here mention 
--you were living in North Berkeley? 

Wiegel: That's where I live now. 
Swent: Were you living there then? 
Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: When you were down at Camp Pendleton, for instance, you mentioned 
--I think your wife went down with you. 

Wiegel: At Camp Pendleton we lived in a Quonset hut on the Marine Corps 

base, and then we lived in Monterey or Carmel for a few months and 
then we lived up in Seaside, Oregon, for a few months. 

Swent: You just rented places, or did the project provide something for 

Wiegel: No, we rented places. Then we got an apartment in Berkeley on 
Ashby. I forget when we built our first house. I designed it, 
and my uncle, who was a contractor, built it in North Berkeley. 
That's not the one we're in now, because when we had the third 
child, it became evident that we needed more space, so we bought 
one of those big old Mediterranean-style homes. I guess we bought 
that about thirty- four years ago or something like that. We've 
lived in North Berkeley for many, many years. I'd say that would 
put it over forty years. 


Swent: Did you have children at the time that you were moving around? 

Wiegel: No. 

Swent: That was before children. 

Wiegel: The eldest is forty-one, then thirty-eight, and thirty- five. 

Swent: So you didn't have a child in the Quonset? 

Wiegel: No. 

Swent: What did your wife do while you were measuring waves? 

Wiegel: In the Quonset, nothing. It was southern California, there were 
beaches and so forth, but when we moved to Berkeley, then she got 
a Job in a bank. Actually, it was Bank of America on Piedmont 
Avenue in Oakland, and after a short time, she got a job at the 
Bank of Berkeley, which made it a lot easier to get to work. In 
those days, it wasn't that difficult to get from one place to 
another because it wasn't as crowded. So she worked for those two 
banks until she had the first baby, our son. 

Swent: How you were traveling around? You mentioned you traveled to 

Davis by train. You were using a car, I suppose, to go from here 
to Half Moon Bay, for instance? 

Wiegel: Yes, we'd always use cars. 
Swent: What kind of cars did you have? 

Wiegel: Well, on the field stuff, it would be a university car, I have no 

Swent: Was it a four-wheel drive, a van? 
Wiegel: They didn't have such things. 

Swent: This is what I'm trying to get at. What sort of vehicles were 

Wiegel: When we were working down at Davenport and so forth- -a couple of 
the people lived, actually, in Santa Cruz and just drove back and 
forth from there. I would do down, but we'd have a pick-up truck 
to take our equipment a university pick-up truck to do that. 

Swent: The pick-ups had come in by then, but I think vans were later. 


Wiegel: There were no vans; not that I know of. When I had the military 
project, we had four-wheel drives because we were using military 
equipment. So there we had three-quarter-ton trucks for equipment 
and things of this sort. These DUKWs are four-wheel drive too. 
But those were furnished by the military and operated by military 
personnel. We didn't drive them. It was a military operation- 
some of those thingsnot the one at Davenport, but the amphibious 
work was all strictly a military operation. 

Swent: Is there anything else that we should... 

Wiegel: I can't think of it right now. Remember, I've only sketched the 
research that we've done because there was all kinds of it. I 
think that the point is: so much of it was done by graduate 
studentsbits and pieces; we all worked together; we did science, 
we did engineering, we did research, we did design. We didn't 
separate these things. 

Swent: I think you've given a good feeling of the cross fertilization. 

Wiegel: I think that's important. 

Swent: I think so, too. 

Wiegel: We weren't specialists at all. 

Swent: You did mention that you shared an office with Trask and learned 

so much from that; at this time, where physically were you sharing 
information? Were you eating lunch together, or drinking coffee 
together? What sort of social 

Wiegel: Before we moved out to Richmond Field Stationthat 's when I 

shared an office with Trask--it was on campus. But we hadfirst 
when I came here, space in the top part more likely an attic of 
what is called California Hall now. It was just a big open space. 
A couple of professors had offices, but the rest of us were just 
in a warehouse-type of thing at the top. 

Swent: Were you working at tables? 

Wiegel: We used desks that they brought in and things like that, but then 
we'd go up to the laboratory that was a hydraulic engineering 
laboratory in the Mechanics Building which is now gone. So we'd 
do our testing there or up at the College Avenue pool. Then we 
were moved into a new building, Hesse Hall, which is a part of the 
mechanical engineering laboratory here on campus , and we had the 
top floor no windows at all. Then we had a series of offices, 
and we had a coffee mess, but a good deal of it was open. So we 


just moved back and forthso we discussed things as they came up. 
This is where I shared an office with Trask. 

Then when we moved out to Richmond Field Station, we had a 
temp, one of those wooden building out there, and again, we would 
just have coffee, or rather coffee and donuts. It was just 
running back and forth; if something came to our mind, we'd go 
talk to the other person or persons, or they'd come see you. You 
did it all the time. In some ways, it's kind of like what you 
read about how Andy Grove and David Packard and those groups 
behaved--the open office. This is what is was. You were all 
engineers or scientists or mathematicians, and you were just 
interested in the problems so you'd talk with each other- -nothing 
formal whatsoever about it. If you went to see the dean it got 


V TEACHING AT CAL, 1957 TO 1987 
[Interview 3: February 12, 1997] #f 

Irrigation 117 at the University of California at Davis 

Swent: When we stopped last time, you had just been asked--kind of as a 
last minute thingto teach a course in irrigation up at Davis. 
Irrigation 117, I think it was? 

Wiegel: Yes, that is correct. 

Swent: That was your initial jump into teaching. 

Wiegel: Before I get into that, I think I should just mention that the 
interview last week was on university research, and I think I 
should mention that I have been fortunate to have often done 
research with graduate students and we wrote multiple-author 
papers. I never once published a paper a student worked on that 
the student's name was not on the paper. 

Swent: Incidentally, the list of your publications is enormous. 

Wiegel: I did a lot of writing. 

Swent: You certainly have published a great deal. 

Wiegel: They've been studied by others, and they've been recognized, and 
they have been partially responsible for my receipt of several 
major awards. This is really to verify that the work we did was 
good and useful. One was the ASCE [American Society of Civil 
Engineers] Research prize in 1962, and membership in the National 
Academy of Engineering in 1974. Then I was elected a fellow of 
the AAAS--that's the American Association for the Advancement of 
Science--"for leadership and many research achievements in coastal 
engineering." That was in 1979 or 1980. We'll get into teaching 


now, but we hear the term "publish or perish," and we hear and 
read the statement that universities don't recognize people for 
their teaching, but they insist on research. I would like to say 
that I think that the universities' insistence on researchdoing 
it and publishing it--is excellentour functions include both the 
transmittal of knowledge and the development of new knowledge. 

This is the thing that keeps your mind active: the 
development of new knowledge, and also the assessment of your 
publications of your research in reviewed journals is necessary. 
This gives an external look at what you are doing. I think this 
is very important. This now leads me into teaching more 

Swent: Yes, and then later we'll talk more about your editorship of some 
of these journals, too. 

Wiegel: Thank you. That's all teaching, too. 

The Benefits and Effects of Consulting to Test Professional 
Engineering Ability 

Swent: All of these things inter-relate, don't they? 

Wiegel: That's right. Although today's subject is university teaching, I 
would like to modify it. Engineering is a profession, and so we 
should include a few comments on the benefit of research, but also 
the benefits and effects of consulting, because it is a 
profession. Consulting confronts faculty members with reality, 
and it tests their professional ability. But also, by talking 
about the consulting that you do, where it is germane, in a 
course, exposes students to what they may do in the future, and it 
also teaches them some of the aspects of the professional portion 
of engineering. This doesn't come out of textbooks; this comes 
out of relating how you can see some thing- -how you design 
something, both functional and structural- -how you interact with 
the clients, because you always have a client. 

Somebody wants something; you try to give them what they 
want, or if you think perhaps they are wrong, lead them into some 
other way of looking at something. I've been very fortunate 
throughout my entire career to do consulting in the U.S. and 
abroad in a number of countries for government agencies, for 
corporations. I notice that in some place in the notes you asked 
to talk about any conflicts between the university and 
corporations, in regard to consulting. I've never found any 

Swent : 


problem whatsoever. Any company that have I worked for was 
pleased to have the information presented to the students, and the 
students have always appreciated learning about what's going on 
today, because as a student, they think about a future job. They 
say: "I want a job that's interesting to me now, who might I work 
for, and will it be something I'll be interested in, in the 

So because of consulting, you're teaching the students 
something else besides the ability to analyze. 

I'd like to have you be more specific about consulting jobs: how 
you got them, what they were, and how they came about? 

Wiegel: You got them by somebody either coming to you or phoning you. 

Consulting on a Breakwater Project at Subic Bay in the 1950s 

Swent: What was the first consulting job you ever had? Do you remember? 

Wiegel: Well, one of the early onesProfessor Johnson and I were asked by 
the navy to go out to Subic Bay in the Philippines and look into 
the possibility of a new breakwater to protect the airfield that 
the Civil Engineer Corps of the navy had just constructed. We did 
fly out for the navy, made investigations, and made a report to 
the navy on how the thing might be constructed and what its 
effects would be. 

Swent: When was this? 

Wiegel: It was 1955. That was one of the early ones. 
Swent: And was it built the way you recommended? 

Wiegel: I don't know. I remember somebody once telling me when I said 
that for many of the companies I'd done consulting for, I was 
never completely sure what was done, and the person said, "Were 
you sued?" 

I said, "No." 

He said, "It must have worked." [laughter] 
Swent: It's true. 



Swent : 


Swent : 

Swent : 


Swent : 

Swent : 

A bit of humor, but unfortunately an awful lot of truth in that 
statement. But I worked for many companies. 

So this one came aboutyou were assisting Professor Johnson, I 
take it? 

No, it was jointly. Professor Johnson and I were truly 
colleagues. We worked together. My main field work was with 
waves and wave forces and things of that sort, and Professor 
Johnson was more with sediments- -sand movement. We would both do 
these things, but each one of us would put in the portion that he 
was best suited for. 

What form did your report take to the navy? 

At this stage, I can remember that it was a three-quarter-inch 
thick report in a blue folder. But it did lay out a possible 
breakwater--! believe it included the wave conditions that might 
exist inside and outside the bay, and the effect of a small 
natural island (Grande Island) that was near the entrance. This 
required development of the wave climate near the site in the 
South China Sea, and wave refraction drawings. I can't remember 
the details, but it was a real professional consulting report. I 
do remember that. 

Just a bit about the mechanics of doing the report when you went 
out there, because technology has changed. You flew out, of 
course, to the Philippines. Do you remember what kind of plane 
you flew? 

It was either a navy plane, or shortly thereafter, it would have 
become a part of military air transport. I suspect it might have 
been what they call military air transport. I do know that we 
flew from probably Alameda Naval Air BaseI'm not sure of that 
to Hawaii, and then we had to get off the plane and stay a day in 
Hawaii while we got our new priority, and I guess we flew to 
Johnson Island, and then Johnson Island to Midway, and then Midway 
to Guam, and then Guam to Subic Bay. It was something like that. 
It was not easy. You just didn't go down, book a flight, and go. 

That's right. 

It took you a lot of time. Those airplanes were all propeller, so 
they weren't as fast asby far the ones we have nowadays. It 
was a lot of work to go overseas in those days. 

And how did you take your notes? 

How did you make your notes? 


Wiegel: No, everything was handwritten that we did. 
Swent: How did you get your report? 

Wiegel: Afterwards, we'd pay to havethis was done in the summers or 
things of that sort and then we'd pay to have them typed up 
outside and pay to have drafting done outside and then submit them 
to the client. 

Swent: Did students help with any of that? 

Wiegel: No. Consulting very often led to research on problems that were 
uncovered by the consulting. Sometimes, in the case of the navy, 
very oftennot this particular onethey decided they wanted 
research. Then students would work on research as a part of the 
university activities and be research assistants. So from that 
standpoint, there was a positive derivative. 

Advising Bechtel and GE on a Power Plant in India 

Swent: I wonder if you could think of one, and just trace it through the 
steps of how you got it and how it developed? 

Wiegel: Let me talk about a later one. I was asked to do some consulting 
for jointly this was quite a bit later Bechtel and General 
Electric Corporation on a nuclear power plant in Tarapur, India. 
It became evident that there was much we did not know, and so the 
companies agreed that the university should do some research on it 
under what was called "a service-to- industry contract." So a 
short proposal was written and a contract 

Swent: Who wrote it? 

Wiegel: I wrote the proposal. 

Swent: How did you learn that it needed to be-- 

Wiegel: I don't know; I can't remember why people from Bechtel and General 
Electric came to see me, it must have been a paper of mine they 

Swent: Had they have given you a request for a proposal? 
Wiegel: Yes. Anyhow, this is a formal-- 


Swent: I hate to be picky, but how are these thingsdid they telephone 

you, or come to see you, or write you a letter? How did this come 

Wiegel: Well, undoubtedly, it was a telephone call first, and then they 
came to see me. Remember, this is going way back. 

Swent: I know. I'm just wondering how these things progressed. 
Wiegel: So we discussed it, and talked about what might be done. 
Swent: Was this a power plant on the coast? 

Wiegel: It was a coastal power plant, and in fact, it has since been 
built, and it has been in operation for many decades. 

Swent: What was the name of it? 

Wiegel: Tarapur. That's on the Arabian Sea. In other words, the west 

coast of India. So we wrote a proposal, just a couple of pages, 
and of course this meant that somebody in the dean's office had 
reviewed it, and somebody in the chancellor's office had agreed to 
it before our proposal could go out. When I say we wrote it, we 
wrote the technical portion. The proposal was then written using 
university boilerplate. So they matched all the university 
requirements. This resulted in the employment of three or four 
graduate students as research assistants; Ismail Mobarek and Juan 
Jen worked on it. It was done in the model basin at Richmond 
Field Station, which was then outdoors with a high fence (wind 
break) around it . 

We worked on it for at least a full year, including the 
summer. For one of them it led to what eventually became a Ph.D. 
thesis at some stage. I can't remember exactly. Of course, with 
other work. I think about that time, the National Science 
Foundation got interested in what we were doing, and we got 
funding from the National Science Foundation to do a much broader 
based study, and then this continued. 

Swent: What was the study? The challenge? 

Wiegel: That would be the mixing of the cooling water. You take ocean 

water in from the ocean, which is relatively cold, use it in the 
condensers of a power plant. Remember when I say nuclear power 
plant, it generates steam to drive the turbines, so you need 
condensers. You use these great amounts of ocean water for 
cooling and then discharge the heated water into the ocean and it 
mixes. So we were looking into the intakes and the discharge and 
how it mixed. The quality of water. 


Swent: The temperature was different, was the-- 

Wiegel: About twenty degrees Fahrenheit warmer would be the discharge 
temperature from the intake temperature. 

Swent: But it was the same chemical water? 

Wiegel: The same chemical water, yes. All we did was heat it. That's all 
that occurs in a nuclear power plant, too, believe me. It's just 

Swent: So your question was the mixing of the 

Wiegel: --the mixing of it, and would the water temperature be low enough 
after it mixed in the first few hundred yards to satisfy the 
ecological concerns about its effect on fishes and other marine 
organisms. Not so much fish, but the other marine organisms, 
because they're in much greater abundance. Fish generally like 
the warm water, and can swim away if they don't. You take cold 
water, warm it, and discharge it, and the fish thank you for doing 

Professors Wiegel and Johnson Did Not Neglect Their Classes for 
Consulting Work 

Swent: Did you get to go to India? Did you travel out there to see it? 

Wiegel: They wanted me to. I've been to India twice, but the timing was 
such that I just could not get out there. Remember when you're 
teaching, you're teaching. So unless the timing is such that it's 
at Christmas or summer or something like that, you don't do 
traveling to a distant place like that. 

Swent: This is an assumption that you're making, but I've been told that 
this was one of your distinctions: that you did put your teaching 
schedule ahead of any other consideration. 

Wiegel: I always did, yes. 

Swent: You always met your class responsibilities? 

Wiegel: Yes. On a few rare occasions for one at a much later date I was 
the U.S. representative to a UNESCO meeting in Paris on ocean 
engineering curricula in universities. They agreed that, seeing 
that I was asked to be the U.S. representative, this was quite 
legitimate to be absent from teaching for a week. There were a 


few other times like that. Again, Professor Johnson and I traded 
our courses. If for some reason I had to do something like that, 
or if I had to go to Washington, D.C., for two days for a 
committee meeting, he would take my class and if he had to go to 
Washington for a committee meeting or something, I would take his 
classes. Between the two of us, we always taught every single 
class; always. I don't think there was ever a time when a class 
was missed. We both took it very seriously. 

Swent: Yes. You are distinguished by this, I think. 

Wiegel: Thank you. We worked hard at it, and we believed in it. 

Committees for Engineering Education; Saving the Program at Irvine 

Swent: I'm sure your students appreciated that attitude as well. 

Wiegel: I think they did, but they always liked to learn about what you 

found out from these trips. They always enjoyed that. Perhaps we 
can get back to this a little later. I think that I should 
emphasize that teaching in a professional field is different than 
teaching in more academic subjects. I noted while reviewing some 
records in preparation for this interview that I served on the 
Chancellor's Committee for Professional Education from 1969 to 
1973. I had forgotten there was a special committee for it, but 
at least at that time, the chancellor recognized the function and 
wanted to have some input to him about this . 

Swent: Do you recall anything about that committee? What you did on it? 

Wiegel: No, I can't, because I also found that at the end of that time, I 
served on the University-Wide Committee on Engineering Education, 
which is the office of the president, and that was the year I was 
the acting dean of the College of Engineering. I do remember one 
thing that was very important in that case, and that was a meeting 
at the new campus of Irvine. They were considering whether or not 
to abandon engineering at the new campus. 

Swent: They had engineering? 

Wiegel: They had started engineering at Irvine. Remember it was a brand 
new campus at that time. 

Swent: Let's see, let's get a year for this. 


Wiegel: I was acting dean from 1972 to 1973, so Irvine was formed before 

that. But it was the meeting of this engineering advisory council 
to the president of the university. That meeting consisted mostly 
about whether or not to recommend to the president to continue 
engineering or to drop it at Irvine. 

Swent: What were the reasons for this? 

Wiegel: One of the reasons was that a local state college--! think it was 
Fullerton, but I'm not positivehad a very large number of 
engineering students and there were not many coming to Irvine. My 
remembrance is that I argued really strongly to continue it. 
There were arguments on both sides. These were the deans of 
engineering at UCLA, Davis, and Berkeley, plus a few other people 
on the Engineering Advisory Council, I think--to continue. We 
thought it was very good. Bob Saunders was the person in charge 
of the program there- -he had been chairman of electrical 
engineering at Berkeley beforeand we thought he was doing an 
excellent job. He was concentrating on engineering systems. So I 
think that was important. 

Swent: And what was the result of your 

Wiegel: They continued it. They developed a fine school of engineering. 
Remember, it was a little, tiny thing at that time, but they have 
a fine school at Irvine. 

Swent: Which they might not have had. 

Wiegel: They might not have had. It was very, very close. I think you'll 
read, or remember in John Whinnery's historyhe talked about 
Santa Cruz . They wanted to get a program going at Santa Cruz in 
engineering, and Whinnery and Howard Eberhart did a lot of work 
towards that, but that never came into existence. It was decided 
to drop it because of what was called the Terman Report. Terman 
was dean of engineering at Stanford and then provost and so forth. 
But all those details are in Whinnery's oral history. But it came 
very close to losing the engineering at Irvine. It was very 
fortunate for the state that it didn't come about. As we know, we 
need these schools. So that was important. 

I think I mentioned at the end of the previous session that 
was last week- -that I got into teaching by chance. I was a full- 
time research engineer at Cal starting about the middle of June, 
1946, but owing to an emergency at UC Davis by the way, the 
emergency was the professor who was going to teach a course in 
irrigation left. It was that simple. The dean at Davis phoned 
the dean at Berkeley and said, Help. This was just about two 
weeks before the start of the fall semester. So Dean O'Brien 

recommended that the dean at Davis contact me- -which he did. This 
was in the mid-1950s. 

In fact, not the dean at Davis, but the chairman of the 
Department of Irrigation, Bob Hagan, contacted me, and I agreed to 
teach it. I had two weeks notice. I had never taught before. I 
commuted two days a week by the Southern Pacific Railroad from 
Berkeley to Davis, and I spent the entire time on the train and 
when I was up thereexcept for teachingpreparing my lectures. 
I was so fortunate in that Professors Einstein and Johnson here, 
and also Harold Iversen, who was in mechanical engineering- -really 
helped me. Boy, I had question after question which they helped 
me with. So I was able to go ahead and teach the course. 

Swent: Who were the students? 

Wiegel: It's interesting, because at Davis a good number of them were 
graduate students, even though it was an upper division 
undergraduate course; because it was irrigation they were from 
many countriesa number from Central and South America because of 
irrigation, an extremely important subject then and now and will 
be as long as we like to eat food. So that was interesting. 

The Importance of Faculty Socializing 

Swent: What were you learning at the same time? 

Wiegel: Like somebody said, "The way you really learn a subject is to 

teach it the first time." You puzzle over every single thing, but 
as I said, I was so fortunate in having these three faculty people 
to help me. They were simply great. I would like to say here 
that I've been extremely fortunate throughout my whole career with 
the people here at the university. The other faculty- -we've 
always worked together. The staff you don't do these things by 
yourself. It's very fortunate. One of the things: please never 
underestimate the value of having coffee together, which we did 
later when I became a full, regular faculty member. After 
lectures, we'd go have coffee, and we'd discuss teaching and 
course content . 

Swent: Where did you go? 

Wiegel: The place we first went to at Berkeley was a drugstore at the 

corner of Hearst and Euclid, and it was Reed' s- -Herman Reed. We 
almost made him an honorary member of the College of Engineering 
at one time, because it was the poor folks' faculty club for 


Swent : 

coffee, and we'd always go over there after our morning lectures. 
Then many of us ate regularly- -we ate lunch at the Faculty Club. 
Mostly the discussion was about teaching and research in all the 
different fields: mechanical engineering, civil engineering, naval 
architecture, mining engineering. We all talked to each other. 

This has almost disappeared at the Faculty Club. I still go 
there for lunch almost everyday and you do not see that anymore. 
I don't know what has happened; I think it's unfortunate. It 
doesn't happen. 

They're still eating lunch there, aren't they? 

Very few engineering faculty eat lunch at the Faculty Club. 
Almost none. I don't know where they go. It's very surprising to 
me, but it's been a big change. There used to be two tables- 
large tables filled with professors of engineering that ate there 
every day. Now you see one or two professors of engineering and 
that's all. 

Swent: That is a change. 

Wiegel: It's very surprising. I think I mentioned I took the train up to 
Davis and back, but then, because of university red tape, I think 
I taught half the course before I finally got my appointment. So 
I was, at the same time, working every night and weekend, plus the 
other days a week on my research contract. I then continued 
throughout the semester really doing the teaching essentially on 
my own time. I was putting in more than forty hours a week in 
research and probably another twenty hours or twenty-five hours a 
week on the teaching. The first time you teach somethingit 
sounds like a lot--twenty-five hours a week for two one-and-a- 
half -hour lectures. That's about what it was. Of course up there 
you graded all your own problem sets as well as tests. 


Wiegel: The course I taught was very much like the first upper division 

course in fluid mechanics at Berkeleywe used the same textbook- 
only our examples there would be more of irrigation components and 
systems: bringing water down to the farm not so much in pipes, but 
in open channels and things of this sort. 

Swent: Was there field work? 

Wiegel: No, no field work. That was strictly a lecture course. Later, of 
course, the students in irrigation would have a number of follow- 
up courses, and some of them would include field work, but I 
didn't teach those. There were other people on the full-time 

Swent : 



faculty at Davis that did that. But one nice thing: there was a 
tiny, one room, interim faculty club at Davis. It was just set up 
really for lunch, and I would generally have lunch with an 
assistant professor of English and another one in political 
science. So our luncheon discussions were usually very broad- 
based: English literature, political science, and irrigation. 
But it was interesting. I enjoyed that. 

Had the previous teacher of this course left any kind of syllabus 
for you? 

No, none whatsoever. This is where Professors Einstein, Johnson, 
and Iversen were of such great help to me. Otherwise I could have 
done it, but it would have been a poor job. 

Swent: Just to know what you were expected to cover. 

Wiegel: The department office had that information. I didn't know any of 
the techniques- -what to look for or anything like that. When I 
was an undergraduate, I was a reader in a similar course when I 
was a junior or senior or something like that, so at least I'd had 
a little bit more. I think what they say is this: "If you want to 
learn a subject, take a course, then be a reader in a course, and 
then teach a course; then you know something about the course." 

Changing Academic Schedules from Semester to Quarter System 

Swent: Then you really do. 
academic schedule? 

Were Davis and Berkeley both on the same 

Wiegel: Yes. In fact, all of the university was on a semester schedule. 
Not the same semester system that we have now. 

Swent: What was it? 

Wiegel: The fall semester continued after Christmas break. Incidentally, 
we went from the semester, which was that one, to the quarter 
system at Berkeley, and then back to the semester system. In 
planning the new semester system, the present systemthey 
recognized the problem of having the Christmas break and coming 
back and doing another week of lectures, and having your 
examinations in January. So they modified the semester to finish 
before the Christmas break (now called the winter break). Now, 
they're discussing on this campus--! just learned within the past 
weekthey're discussing trying to have a system where you go 
back, start school later, continue after the Christmas. All I can 


Swent : 

say is, "Don't they ever learn?" That was no good at all and I 
hope that they don't fall into the trap of doing it again. 

Isn't that interesting? To go back to the same 

They are discussing it. Hopefully, they will not do it. 

Teaching in the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory at Berkeley 


Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 
Swent : 

Shortly after that, in the late 1950s, I was appointed, on a part- 
time basis, to be a lecturer in mechanical engineering here at 
Berkeley. I taught a section of the required senior course in the 
mechanical engineering laboratory. The portion I taught was more 
on the pumps, compressors, wind tunnelsthat aspect of mechanical 

Where were your classes held? 

They were held in one of the buildings immediately adjacent to 
this one. This one wasn't built then. This one is O'Brien Hall. 
But the one I'm talking about is Hesse Hall, (also the Mechanics 
Building, for pumps) and that was a mechanical engineering 
laboratory, and it still is part of the mechanical engineering 
laboratory, but I don't believe that any single item of equipment 

that we used then is in that laboratory any more, 
different, which it should be. 

It's all 

What sorts of things were you teaching then? What were you using? 

It was just a laboratory. The students did the laboratory 
experiments and every single senior student in mechanical 
engineering had to take this extensive laboratory. I taught one 
of the sections. 

What sort of equipment were you using? 

Pumps . 

What kind of pumps? 

All kinds: centrifugal pumps, water hammer pumps, displacement 
pumps--also we taught about air compressors, and then tested 
airfoil sections in a wind tunnel. Remember, my original 
undergraduate work in mechanical engineering was heat transfer and 
fluid mechanics, so I'd had a reasonable background in 
aerodynamics. I could handle those. 


Swent: You mentioned that the equipment has all changed since, so how has 
it changed? 

Wiegel: It's gone, and new things--computer-controlled this, computer- 
controlled that, etc. I don't know. 

Swent: So the things that you were teachinghow were they controlled? 

Wiegel: By hand- -mechanical. 

Swent: Not even electrical? 

Wiegel: A few electrical things, but a good deal mechanical. 

The Pelton Wheel: Materials Change, but Principles Do Not 

Swent: The materials had changed as well, I presume. Were there any 
ceramics used or plastics? 

Wiegel: This is interestingyou mention materials, and this is one of the 
major advances that have been made and are still being madeis in 
the understanding and the development of materials. 

But first: more than a hundred years ago, there was a tiny 
hydraulics laboratory on campus, and a person came down from the 
gold country and his name was Pelton. He had a model (or one was 
made here I don't know which) of a device that he was going to 
submit- -he hoped to win an award on a method of changing from 
water power to electric power. It became known as the Pelton 
wheel. It was tested on this campus- -probably by Professor Hesse 
--either report number one, or report number two of the I guess 
it was called College of Mechanic Arts or something- -back about in 
the 1880s--was on the Pelton wheel. Incidentally, the little 
model that was used is on loan by the university to the Oakland, 
California, Museum and they have it displayed very nicely in the 
section on the work done up in the gold country. 

I was told, many years ago, that after the work that was 
developed by Mr. Pelton and then I believe it was Professor Hesse 
in the laboratory here at Berkeley the main thing was, you had 
buckets of the double-lobe type, mounted on the rim of a disk 
runner, and the water jet would impinge on the bucket. The 
divider split the jet in two sections to balance the lateral 
forces , which permitted a much lower load on the bearings . 


There were some modifications in the shape and spacing of 
the buckets and so forth during these tests, but I have been told 
that since that time, there have been almost no changes in the 
configurationof course, they got bigger and bigger--it has been 
the materials improvement that have been the main thing that has 
changed over the years. Now, Pelton wheels are still used 
worldwide on practically every single, what they call high-head 
hydroelectric plant. By high-head, they mean a big elevation 
difference between the surface of the reservoir and the location 
of the turbine. I digress, but I think that's interesting. 

Swent: No, it's not a digression at all. 

Wiegel: I think it's very interesting because these are teaching 

laboratories. It's how you teach students: they get their hands 
on it. When Hunter Rouse, who had written the history of 
hydraulics in the world, then expanded in a separate book the 
history of hydraulics in the United States, he stated that the 
first teaching hydraulic laboratory in the United States was at 
Berkeley. So the hydraulics laboratory you see has been in 
existence as a teaching laboratory and used for research and 
development for more than a hundred years. We have new equipment, 
of course, and we did giveor rather loanthe original Pelton 
wheel to the Oakland museum; I checked it out last year, and it is 
well displayed. 

I think you'll notice our logo at the north end of the 
hydraulics laboratory, which is in this buildingO'Brien Hall, 
and the logo is an old I believe hurdy-gurdy wheel that Professor 
Johnson found up in the gold country. It was all rustedit has 
been cleaned up but it is an original from some place, so you may 
want to look at it. But it's the logo. 

Swent: So the equipment that you were working with was made of metal in 
those days entirely? 

Wiegel: Yes. Incidentally, there's a very interesting article in the 

January 1997 issue, or maybe the December 1996 issue of Scientific 
American on some of the inventions of Hans Albert Einstein. Not 
our Albert, but his father, of the famous E-mc 2 . When he was 
young, "Old Albert", as his family called him, worked with another 
physicist who later also became a Nobel prize winner, and one of 
the things they worked on was the development of a non-moving-part 

They developed it for use in the refrigeration industry, but 
because of cost and so forth, it, or modifications of it, was only 
used by the Swedish firm Electrolux. But when they started after 
the end of World War II- -to pump radioactive molten materials in 


some of the devices, use was made of that concept. The 
electromagnetic way of pumping--! should mention that. We didn't 
have anything to do with that, but pumps have changed too is what 
I want to say. 

Full Professor of Civil Engineering. 1963 

Swent: Yes, they've changed drastically. 

Wiegel: Now, after that, in 1960, I was appointed by President Clark Kerr 
to be an associate professor of civil engineering full-time with 
tenure. As I said, I never had any intention to go into teaching, 
I just, step-by-step, became one. I've enjoyed it. I'm certainly 
pleased that it occurred, but I didn't plan on doing it. In 1963, 
I was promoted to full professor of civil engineering. 
Incidentally, John Whinnery was dean when I was appointed 
associate professor, and when I was appointed full professor, John 
Whinnery asked me to serve as an assistant dean in the College of 
Engineering, which I did, and I served in that capacity for eleven 
years, for John and his successor George Maslach. 

I also would like to mention that the department of civil 
engineering was renamed last year the department of civil and 
environmental engineering, which I think is a good move 
considering the way the two words are currently used. It's more 
descriptive of what is done in this department. 

Environmental Engineering; Quantitative Treatment, Costa, and 

Swent: I was wondering whether you might want to talk about how 
environmental consciousness changed your teaching or your 

Wiegel: Certainly, the students today- -at least the ones that apply to 
Berkeleythe graduate studentsare very interested in the 
environmental conditions and how you can handle them 
quantitativelynot just qualitatively, but what can you really do 
about things quantitatively. We've always been interested in the 
environment. It started out because the environment would keep 
belting us droughts, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes. In my 
area, coastal engineering, we deal with harbors and ports and 
breakwaters the environmental effects are very important; I think 


that people should read books like Two Years Before the Mast 
[Charles Henry Dana] and see what life used to be like--how 
difficult it was. 

Swent: I recently read that book, just a couple of years ago. 

Wiegel: I used to recommend to my graduate students to read it to get an 
idea of what life was like back in the early 1800s. We weren't 
doing so much to the environment, but the environment was doing a 
lot of things to us: storms, waves. Life was terrible. Floods. 
It was terrible. Very, very difficult, and many people were 
killed. Your life expectancy was not very long then. We had to 
learn how to modify the environment, to decrease the hazards. 
Then, of course, we got to the place where, because of population 
pressure, there are just so many people that it became recognized 
that we had to mitigate many of the things that we had done in the 
past, and we have to modify what we do in the future. 

So you want to examine whatever plans are being discussed; 
what their effect will be on the environment. But it should be 
quantitative, because as you know, you have to balance off costs. 
I remember years ago when I was developing a new course calledit 
was CE 207--it was on mixing processes. This was a big portion of 
what you needed to know when you dealt with water quality: mixing 
one fluid with another, or things in fluids. 

I was impressed by a paper I read many years ago on waste 
disposal in the ocean. Many towns and cities would simply have a 
pipe or an open channel built and municipal waste and industrial 
wastethe municipal waste was not that bad, but the industrial 
waste was, would then go into the ocean and mix with it. Then, 
people talked about the public health problem. It turned out that 
it is a public health problem if you're discharging waste into 
fresh water a river, a lake because kids, or adults, when 
they're swimming, might ingest the water with the bacteria and 
whatever else was in it. In the ocean, you usually take only one 
swallow of salt water and learn a lesson. 

So basically, you do not ingest salt water when you're 
swimming, so it's an entirely different problem, but the standards 
were set, based really on fresh water. There was a professor of 
sanitary engineer ing- -not here, I don't know where- -who wrote an 
article and he really looked into the public health problems, and 
then came up with a conclusion which I think is very valid in many 
aspects. That is: you only have so much money that can be spent. 
From a public health standpoint, for this amount of money, in his 
opinion, you would get more for it when you're dealing with 
discharge into the ocean, salt water, if you spent it for more 


He said, "Think about it: if you did ingest this water and 
you did get sick" --incidentally, there are very substantial and 
detailed studies by epidemiologists on this subject of the 
relationship between waste in the ocean and people getting 
diseases. I'm talking about real professionals that know what 
they're doing. He said, "Then you get sick, but if you drown, 
you're dead. What is the better way of expending public funds?" 
I've always thought about that, because we still have that with 
us. There's only so much money; what might be the best way of, 
let us say, having a better quality of life? I don't know. I 
still read articles on it. Would I be so smart, I would know the 
answers to these things. 

The Junior Course in Fluid Mechanics; Small Lecture Sections 

Swent: I'd like to have you be a little more specific about the courses 
that you were teaching. 

Wiegel: Well, there were two graduate courses in coastal engineering. 
Swent: You're distinguishing between graduate and undergraduate students. 

Wiegel: Yes, and I want to mention it. I almost always taught one or two 
undergraduate courses. One was the junior course in fluid 
mechanics, and the other was a hydraulic laboratory sectionwe 
had several sections. We made a conscientious decision not to 
have a big lecture or laboratory section; we had smaller sections, 
and then when we went on the quarter system, we would give the 
lecture course once each quarter, and I would teach one of them, 
Professor Einstein would teach one of them, and Professor Johnson 
would teach one of them. 

Swent: What course was this? 

Wiegel: The first course in fluid mechanics, which was a junior course 
required of all civil engineering students and all mechanical 
engineering students. At the start, we would jointly work with 
the mechanical engineering department and we all taught together, 
and Professor Iversen also taught one, and I think Professor Laird 
in mechanical, and later, Professor Talbot. So there were quite a 
few sections because we wanted the classes to be small. 

Swent: How small? 

Wiegel: No more than thirty students in the lecture course. We found that 
if you get many more than thirty, you no longer got the students 


asking questions. That was the reason: you wanted them to ask 
questions. This is one of things you try to encourage. Our ideas 
about things change; many of them are right, some of them are 
wrong; never hesitate to question anything. That's what you want 
to do as an engineer: question, always question. We did. 

In engineer ing- -not just our group- -but in engineering, we 
took teaching undergraduate courses very seriously. We considered 
the students to be professionals in training. I think that's the 
difference: they weren't just students, they were being developed 
into engineers , and we were engineers . 

Swent: So you were teaching these lecture sections; how often would they 


Wiegel: Three times a week. 
Swent: One hour? 

Wiegel: Fifty minutes. But we also, because of the large number of 

students, there were a couple of times we would have two sections 
in a semester. I guess it was when we went to the quarter system. 
We had one section that would be of three fifty minute lectures, 
and then another section--! think this was the fall quarter, when 
there would be many students taking itgiven on Tuesday and 
Thursday, they would be one hour and twenty minute lectures. This 
was to give the students flexibility so they could fit it into 
their schedules. We were serious about it; as far as I know, they 
still are serious. Of course, having been retired since 1987, I'm 
not completely sure of what they do today, but we worked hard at 

Laboratory Sessions Were Also Essential 

Swent: Were the laboratory sessions in addition? 

Wiegel: The laboratory sessionswe also had teaching assistants, because 
you had laboratory parties of three or four students and you had 
to keep your eye on them remember these are pumps and turbines 
and things of this sort, and you have to be there, you can't just 
ask a student to go in and do it. So either a teaching assistant 
or the professor was there in the laboratory the entire time that 
the students were there. 

Swent: How long was the laboratory session? 


Wiegel: I think they were about three hours; that's the best of my 
remembrance. If they finished it earlier, they finished it 
earlier. They had assigned--! think--it was three hours. Of 
course, they had to write up their work. This is another aspect 
of teaching: writing up. You had the students write about what 
they did, what equipment they used, present their findings 
discuss--and then draw conclusions based upon what they found out, 
and make recommendations. This drawing conclusions and making 
recommendations is a vital part of any profession. You have got 
to do this all the time. You can't just discuss things, you can't 
just have a debateyou have to draw conclusions and then make 
recommendations either to your professorbut this is just to 
train you, so you'll do it for the client. 

The only way you teach it is by doing it. It's got to be 
hands-on. It doesn't do any good just to lecture about it, they 
have to do it. That requires a lot of work by the professors and 
the teaching assistants. The teachingbecause of many things- 
cost and other things, and the pressure of adding other things to 
the curricula- -the use of laboratories has gone down and down. 
Not just here. Last year, at a meeting I was talking to a 
professor at Caltech [California Institute of Technology] and 
another one at M.I.T. and both of them said their laboratories 
have suffered badly. There's not the support for laboratories, 
and the courses aren't given any more, or in such a reduced form 
that the students don't get much opportunity. 

You get much more in computer analysis. You can't just keep 
adding things on; things have to drop; the student has got to 
sleep sometime. That's basically it. Plus the fact that the use 
of computers is very inexpensive; the use of laboratories is very 
expensive. So the budget has driven more of it, I think, than 
anything else. But it's too bad. At least the students who work 
in research projects have an opportunity to get this hands-on 
experience. Engineering is still a lot of working with things, or 
you're designing something. You're designing hardware, or you're 
arranging hardware into a system. Look at the Boeing 737 and the 
problem of stability and control. That's a real hands-on problem 
--just as an example, because you probably have read about it in 
the newspaper during the last two months . 

There are many other examples , but not quite brought to our 
attention like when an airplane goes down because of a control 
problem. We have just all kinds of excellent students, and many 
of them worked in research projects and this gave them an 
opportunity of doing things themselves. There's nothing like 
doing something yourself to build up your confidence that you can 
do something. This is very important in the education of 
professionals; not only the information, but the self-confidence 


that I "can do something myself." We've had very, very fine 
students over the years. 

Outstanding Students Condit, Beebe, Prins, et al. 

Swent: Would you like to mention any in particular? 

Wiegel: Some of them have been particularly successful. The current 
president and chief executive officer of Boeing aircraft-- 


Swent: I would like to have you mention some of the students that you 
particularly remember. 

Wiegel: I mentioned I had a student who was in mechanical engineering as a 
research assistant when he was a senior, during the summer, and 
his name was Phil Condit. Phil is the current president and chief 
executive officer of Boeing. 

Swent: He did very well. 

Wiegel: Another one I can remember that went way back is Ken Beebe. He 
went to work for a small structural engineering firm in San 
Francisco and eventually bought the principals out when they 
retired, and the name was changed, and his was added to it. It 
became known as PMB. I forget what the P and the M stand for, but 
the B is Beebe. It was bought out, and is now a wholly-owned 
subsidiary of Bechtel Corporation. Those are just two. 

We also had visiting scholars from foreign countries, some 
of whom were Fulbright scholars. In fact, I believe that the 
first Fulbright scholar in civil engineering was Egbert Prins from 
The Netherlands. He spent a year with us here, and then 
eventually- -he just retired recentlyhe became the director of 
the Delft Hydraulics Laboratory in the Netherlands, which is the 
biggest such laboratory in the world. Another young visiting 
scholar was Kyoshi Horikawa from Japan, and eventually he became 
dean of engineering at the University of Tokyo and is currently 
the president of a private university, Saitama University, in 
Japan. When they were here, they were young, so they were the 
same age as our graduate students, and they all worked together 
and they learned from each other. Incidentally, many of our 
graduate students were from foreign countries; many foreign 

The Master of Engineering Degree with a Non-Scientific Minor 

Swent: Was this something new after the war? 

Wiegel: That was after the war. Before the war, there were almost no 

graduate students in engineering. They were almost non-existent. 
Of course, remember, many of the graduate students had been our 
own undergraduate students here at Berkeley, and we, in 
engineering, really- -and that's throughout the whole country- -feel 
that engineering students should be encouraged to get at least a 
master's degree in order to get a good enough background. This 
isn't, and can't always be the case, but many of them do go on to 
graduate work; many of them for a master's degree. 

We have two types of master's degree: the master of science, 
which is a one-year program; and then we developed the master of 
engineering, which is a two-year program. That is really, in my 
opinion, the best professional degreethe two-year master of 

Swent: How do they differ? 

Wiegel: In one way, of course, it's twice as much work; one was two years, 
one was one year. But in the master of engineering, you had the 
same amount of required course work as you would for the Ph.D. 
you just didn't spend that extra one, two, or three years of doing 
a thesis. But there was a big difference. The Ph.D. is oriented 
toward research and teaching and so forth, but always found to be 
very useful by companies, and companies hire our Ph.D.'s 
routinely, believe me. 

But the two-year master of engineering had two minors in it 
as well as the major. One of the minors had to be out of the 
sciences. It couldn't be in mathematics, it couldn't be in 
physics, it couldn't be in another branch of engineer ing- -it had 
to be in, let's say, business administration, and then more in the 
"person" aspects of business administration. The purpose was to 
get a different viewpoint; a non-science viewpoint. This has been 
very successfulfor engineers to have that background. 

Now, the students were from California, they were from other 
states, or from other countries, and we always have what we called 
the bullpen; this is the place where you have a lot of desks and 
chairs, and the grad students each have a desk and a chair, and 
they have a coffee mess. They get to know each other, they talk 
to each other, and they probably learn as much from each other as 
they do from their professors. But also, because of this 
worldwide mixand many of them remain lifelong friends--! think 


this has done more good than the U.S. State Department, from the 
standpoint of international affairs. I'm very serious; because I 
see this time after time after time. Somebody will come, say, 
from Kuwait, and say, "Oh, so and so from Denmark came to see me. 
We were both graduate students at Berkeley." It's almost like the 
English system of the old school tie: they have this tie with that 
golden bear on it. It's a little bit of humor, but it's very 
serious. It's very important for civilization. 

The Alumni Network of Worldwide Importance for International 


Swent: Many of them have returned to their own countries? 

Wiegel: Many of them returned, many of them have become professors, or 
they becameover the years, director of institutes, heads of 
companies, and so forth. One of them went back and eventually 
become professor at the University of Cairo named Mobarek, and 
then went to work for the World Bank in Washington, D.C., where he 
still is, and he heads up the desk for port development in all of 
Asia. They all talk to each other; they still do. 

Swent: It's a wonderful network. 

Wiegel: It's a wonderful network, and they're friends. You don't fight 
with a friend. 

Swent: And also well-trained engineers. 

Wiegel: You get along. They're well trained, they're well educated. 

There's much more to it than just the technical education that 
occurs; it's a social and professional education. The university 
of course has a study abroad program, where you go to Verona or 
Cambridge, and there's one at Cairo University- -many placesand 
it's still in existence. But also, there have been special 
programs where we try to help a university get established. Going 
back twenty, thirty years ago- -there was one at Santiago, Chile at 
Catolica University, and there was one at Kampur in India, and it 
was one of the Indian institutes of technology (IIT). India 
wanted to develop institutes in which they could train scientists 
and engineers who would then graduate and help develop their 

I think there were five or six of these. One of them was 
the one at Kampur, and the University of California was one member 
a consortium of universities to work with IIT Kampur. I remember 


M.I.T. and Caltech both being in the same consortium. Between 
1969 and 1972, I was the University of California's 
representative. This was out of the office of the president of 
the university, then Clark Kerr. The money came from U.S. 
Congress via the state department or something, to purchase 
equipment, and to pay for personnel exchanges. We would send 
faculty over there from these different institutions; they would 
send faculty here for a year or soagain to get these 
interchanges of ideas. 

Teaching Coastal Engineering at the National University of Mexico 

Wiegel: Teaching at a major university is very broad. It's not just 

teaching undergraduates or graduates, but it's doing these other 
things: teaching and working with people in other countries and 
other institutions. I remember once, Professor Johnson and 1 were 
asked to go to Mexico and teachthere was a graduate course we 
gave in coastal engineering, and the Mexicans wanted to develop 
their coasts and their ports and they had developed some in 
Acapulco, for example coastal resorts. They wanted to learn 
about all these new techniques that had been developed. 

So Professor Johnson and I were asked by Professor Emilio 
Rosenblath to go, and we did go to the National University in 
Mexico City 1 which was a big university to teach the graduate 
course one of the graduate courses we taught here. No 
modification; they wanted it exactly the same, and taught in 
English. The students--! think there were seven or eight and 
they all were fluent in English, and they all had undergraduate 
degrees in civil engineering, and we taught the full course there 
during the summer. This is just an example of the breadth of 
teaching that goes on. Again, teaching of engineering improved. 
I think I mentioned already that the big advance made in 
engineering at least in civil, and I think in almost all 
branches, perhaps except for electrical, which had already done 
it was during World War II, where it became much more scientific. 
The capabilities of doing analysis were improved tremendously. 
Also getting field studies and things of this sort. 

Swent: How did the capability of analysis improve? 

1 Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. It was done at the request 
of, and by arrangements by, Professor Emelio Rosenbleuth who was dean of 
their graduate school. --R.W. 


Wiegel: That requires the mathematical formulation of physical problems, 

and then, of course, later, with the invention of the computer, we 
could really do some of these things. Before, engineering was 
really an art, not so much science, but an art. I'd like--I think 
I mentioned that I had been asked to write a history with 
Thorndike Saville, Jr. --who was also a graduate student here at 
the time I was taking graduate courses at Berkeleyso we became 
lifelong friends, and we're still close friends--he and his wife, 
me and my wife 

His father was at that time the Dean of Engineering at New 
York University. Two years ago, we were asked to write the 
history of coastal engineering in the U.S.A., and this was 
published last year by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 
the book that was called, History and Heritage of Coastal 
Engineering, edited by Nicholas Kraus, 1996. 

Digging into the history, I came across a short note by an 
engineer in New York his name was Henry Sharp. I don't know who 
he was or anything, but I'd like to quote this. 

Conditions vary so widely from place to 
place, that rule of thumb methods are sure to 
give a large percentage of failures, and a 
structure successful at one place may be a 
dismal failure at another. On the other hand, 
the engineer who wishes to attack this problem 
scientifically finds that science has done 
very little to help him. He is almost 
entirely without trustworthy facts and must 
work up his data from hasty studies of his 

Please insert "his/her" for each "his," because fortunately today 
we have many young women in engineering. (To me they all seem 
young nowadays.) [laughter] 

Swent: Well, they are young. 

Wiegel: And especially in the portion of civil engineering that's the 

environmental aspect. They're very interested in it. It was an 
art at that time, and it wasn't very good art. 

Swent: When was this written? 

Wiegel: This was in the late 1920s. It started to change a little bit in 
the 1930s. Dean O'Brien that 's in my field, coastal and off 
shorewas one of the first to really start to change it. But it 
was World War II, and we have already gone into that in the 


section on research and so forth. This affected the teaching 
dramatically, because now we could teach analysis. 

Swent: You mean the computer? 

Wiegel: Well, no, this is the physics of what was going on, and then the 

mathematical formulation of these things. That's analysis. Then, 
when the computers came along, we could do a lot more numerical 

Swent: I just want to be clear. You said that what the relationship is 
between the war and this change in-- 

Wiegel: Because, I mentioned this earlier in the interview about the 

amphibious operations: it was necessary to make reliable estimates 
of what wave conditions would be at a landing site sometime in 
advance, and then how these conditions might affect the operation 
of landing craft and then after the landings, at a later date, the 
trans-shore shipment of supplies and so forth. This required 
quantitative information and these techniques were not available, 
so the military contracted with universities such as M.l.T. and 
Berkeley to advance these things. 

Swent: So it was the urgency of the military? 

Wiegel: It was the need and the urgency. It really was urgent, of course. 
Once in a while you hear in a meeting: "Why did so-and-so write 
and make this statement when a little more checking might have 
made it better?" And I'll tell them, "I don't think they had 
another year at their disposal. 'Let's hold the war off for a 
year while we check this. 1 " They don't understand the urgency at 
that time. I don't think anyone understands urgency unless you 
were absolutely face to face with having to make decisions. 

You see, teaching is, as I said--now this gets me into field 
work because it's not just analysis, but we didn't have the data, 
we didn't have the measurements. We had to develop equipment to 
measure things, and incidentally, I was a mechanical engineer, and 
some of the first things I did after I was here at Berkeley after 
the war was work on the development of instruments to measure 
things in the ocean, and then on how you analyze your measurements 
and compared them with theories and things of this sort. But I 
went into that, in more detail. 

But the other thing is that we worked in the field, we 
worked in the laboratory, we worked on theory, we taught, we did 
research, we did consulting, we did design, we did all of these 
things. This was a marvelous opportunity develop yourself as a 
combined professional and teacher; to do all of the things. Of 


course, this is what makes life interesting too: is that you have 
this great variety of things that you do. 

Swent: I wanted to have you talk also about your development of these 
instruments for measuring. 

Wiegel: The navy supported that, because they knew of their need. There 
were a couple of people: one of them who was Roger Revelle, who 
was a navy commander then, but he had a Ph.D. in geology from 
Berkeley, and he was a geology oceanographer at Scripps, and later 
became director of Scripps Institution of Oceanographyand he was 
the one that did come up with the concept which--and the push--to 
develop what is now known as the University of California at San 
Diego, and Revelle College is named after him. Because of him, 
they had let these contracts; Berkeley had one, and M.I.T. had 
oneWoods Holeto develop instruments to measure ocean 
phenomena. We had some very good people. One of them was Frank 
Snodgrass, who I have mentioned several times. 

Swent: Did you work on those as well? 

Wiegel: Yes, I worked on one; the thermopile wave meter was the one that I 
worked on. But there was a non-linear transfer function in it, 
and I didn't know much about, or anything, about that at that 
time. Later on, I learned a lot about the fact that you needed to 
have linear transfer function if we're doing to do spectral 
analysis of things. That could get into a whole other two hour 
interview. Needless to say, I learned a lot. Frank Snodgrass 
knew this; I learned it from him. But he then left and went down 
to Scripps Institution of Oceanography and developed a number of 
very fine instruments and installed them, and they did some of the 
great worldwide experiments because of the development of the 
equipment. In other words, we did everything; all aspects. 

The Successful Work-Study Program 

Wiegel: I would like to jump off here, and it's a slightly different 
thing, because in engineering- -at some universities there is 
something known as the work-study program. It's where after the 
first two years, a student will get a job with industry or 
government agency, and work six months, and then come back to 
school six months, work six months, come back to school six 
months. So it would take five years to get a four-year degree, 
including summers. It wouldn't work out, except you had to 
remember the summer. 


At one university, the University of Cincinnatiat least 
years agoall students were on that program, but certainly in 
mechanical engineering. But in Cincinnati, there were all kinds 
of big industrial firms. O'Brien started it here, and it's still 
in existence, and it's a good program, I think. It's small. When 
I was assistant dean, I was in charge of the program; this is one 
of the main things I did. I was in charge of it for many years. 
We would always have these students coming back from work. We'd 
have a little get together in the evening down at the Alumni 
House cof fee, donuts, cookies students are always hungry. They 
would talk about the work experience. 

One of the things that would come through is, time after 
time after time, they seemed to be surprised that, "Gee, the 
people I'm working for are awfully nice to me." You wonder, did 
they expect to be bitten or something? It's true; it was 
something that always seemed to surprise them. One of the other 
things we found was that the students in the work-study program 
generally didn't take much longer to get the degree than the 
students who weren't on the work-study program. One of the 
reasons is, of course, a lot of students they were all 
undergraduate, not graduates, and most students, at least the ones 
that came to Berkeley, had to work to help support themselves. 
Not all, but many, many did. 

So many weren't taking a full-time load of courses; they 
would have a part-time job in the summer they had to get a job 
and so forth. So it worked very well. Also we found out that 
most of the students in this work-study program, when they 
graduated went to work for one of the companies they had worked 
for in the program. There, were two reasons for this: the company 
had been able to look at them, and they had been able to look at 
the company. The other thing that really impressed us, was their 
response when we asked what they did in detail. This was for all 
the students at the meeting; they all heard each other talk about 
what they did after they came back. The ones that had finished 
their junior year almost all of them had been assigned real 
engineering work. 

Somehow, in the junior courses they learned enough that 
they could do a lot of engineering. This made them feel very 
good. It also made the other students feel good too when they 
learned, "Gosh, these courses I take are useful." That's a good 
program, and that's a very important part of teaching if you can 
get the jobs, and you can have the students take them. 


Grade Inflation Did Not Mean Lower Quality Students 


Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 


We've been asked quite a bit aboutafter the grade inflation that 
occurred in the 1970s and 1980s--whether or not this led to a 
lower quality of the students at Cal. 

What do you mean by grade inflation? 

A student thirty years ago, for a certain amount of work, would 
get a C, and then after a while, the class average became a B, not 
a C. This has occurred in almost all universities, except perhaps 
at West Point and the Naval Academy. 

You mean they give more B's and A's now than they used to? 

Yes, than they did. This is called grade inflation. It's not so 
much in engineering as in others, but it still occurredit is 
occurring. Well, certainly this is my opinion from my 
observations--! checked this out with others toowe all agreed 
that it did not lead to a decrease in the quality of the students. 
The grades might have been inflated, but the students coming in 
were still good; what they were learning was very good; the 
engineers going out were very good. So although there was 
inflation, it didn't affect the overall capabilities. I think 

this is important: the quality has remained high, 
important . 

That's very 

When did they change from A's and B's to numbers, and what effect 
did that have? 

We still give A's and B's, only each one had a number, so you add 
up the numbers. An A is 4.0, an A- is 3.75, a C+ is I forget. 
But we gave students the grades, A, B, C, and then we'd give these 
numbers and we would add them up and all that kind of stuff. I 
heard one person suggest that what you really should do and I 
think one university did it that way so you could judge- -on the 
student's grade record would be, say, A, or A-, or B, and then 
slash, and you'd give the average grade given in that class. In 
other words, if a student was A-/B+, it wasn't quite as good as A- 
/C+. But we didn't do that. 


Berkeley's Successful Extension Program for Continuing Education 

Wiegel: Another aspect of education is what is sometimes referred to as 
continuing education- -university extension. The Berkeley campus 
has done this very successfully for many, many decades. 

Swent: You were a pioneer. 

Wiegel: No. In one aspect, yes, I'll mention that later, but not in 

extension in general, just one aspect of it. The work may be done 
with full courses, and sometimes these are the equivalent of a 
course given on campusthe same one. This was for people who 
were working full-time, so they would take a course at night or 
weekends. It may be in a subject that was not available when they 
were a student. The computer field, for example: the numbers of 
courses given in computer science- -hardware, software- -by Berkeley 
is great. 

These may be given on campus, they may be given in San 
Francisco, or down on the Peninsula. They may be given by those 
people down on the Peninsula in Silicon Valley who are working on 
developing the newest thing in a particular piece of computer 
hardware or softwarethey 1 11 teach, they'll work at night. They 
don't have to. It's an attitude: they're doing it, they're 
interested, they want other people to know about it. This has 
been marvelous. They may be courses entirely different. 
Especially, say, in the arts and the humanities. I don't know too 
great an amount about the details of those, but again, this is the 
quality of Cal. 


Wiegel: The College of Engineering made surveys of the graduates of our 
undergraduate programsone year after graduation, five years 
after graduation, and so forth. After the first year out, 
engineers would say we wished we had more design in our courses; 
the first job usually being in design. Five years out, we wished 
we had more on analysis mathematics and physics because they're 
looking in more depth. Ten years out, we wished we had had more 
management. Fifteen years out, we wished we had had more 
humanities. Twenty years out, we wished we had had more in the 
arts. I'm not talking about everyone, but kind of general- -this 
is the way life changes. So extension activities are useful in 
all of these. Students go out to classes, if they have the 
energy, at night or weekends; they catch up on these things that 
they see they were missing, or that they wanted to take. 

The First-Ever Short Course in Earthquake Engineering 

Wiegel: Other ones are called short courses. These are something you give 
in maybe one week. An eight-hours-a-day type of thing for a week. 
Or maybe not quite that, but usually it would be about a week. In 
1965, we gave the short course that was named Earthquake 
Engineering. Several of the engineering and seismology faculty 
here at Berkeley developed this, triggered by Karl V. Steinbrugge, 
who was a Cal graduate, who was a civil engineer with the Pacific 
Fire Rating Bureau. 

In addition to the Fire Rating, of course, and go back to 
the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906--fire did more damage 
than the earthquake directly, so the Pacific Fire Rating Bureau-- 
which was a kind of consortium of insurance companieswhat they 
wanted to do is to make things safer. In other words, the best 
thing to do in the insurance business is to make things safe so 
that they don't burn down or they don't shake down. You prevent 
the damage. Karl was the leader in that group and an expert on 
earthquakes and the damage that earthquakes do to buildings, and 
what you could do to minimize the loss. He suggested we give a 
course on earthquake engineering, and we agreed. We thought this 
was great. 

A small working group was formed of several faculty members 
and Karl Steinbrugge. I was asked to chair it--I guess this was 
because I was an assistant dean. I had worked in one aspect of 
this: tsunamis. These are sometimes called tidal waves, or 
seismic sea waves; and these are the giant waves that are 
generated by the tectonic displacement of underwater earthquakes, 
or a very high-speed underwater landslide triggered by an 
earthquake. I had been doing a lot of work on this one aspect. 
This is an important aspect of underwater earthquakes . For 
example, back in the 1700s, or something like that, when Lisbon 
had a huge loss of life-- 

Swent: 1755, I think. 

Wiegel: Something like that- -of the earthquake. When you looked into it, 
it wasn't the earthquake, it was the tsunami that was generated 
that killed almost everybody. Two of the great earthquakes in 
Japan along the Pacific coast were in 1896 and 1933, and a lot of 
the loss of life was because of tsunamis. I was doing a lot of 
work on one aspect. We organized it, and there was a series of 
lectures on different subjects, starting off with Bruce Bolt, who 
was the professor of seismology and director of the seismographic 
station here at Berkeley. Incidentally, he was chairman of the 
academic senate two years ago, and is currently president of the 


faculty club--so Bruce has remained very active. At one time, he 
was chairman of the California Seismic Safety Commission, which 
reports to the governorthat ' s Bruce Bolt. 

So first a lecture on seismology, then geology, and then the 
technical aspects of foundation design--how you design buildings 
for seismic safety. We did it via University Extension. They 
sent out a brochure, and we were inundated with applicants. There 
were so many, there was no way we could get them all in. We 
talked it over--I think there were fifteen of us--by now we'd 
gotten all the speakers and so forth. They were from here 
(Professors Harry Seed, Ray Clough, Joe Penzien, Bruce Bolt, and 
others), from Caltech; one of them, of course, was George Housner, 
the great person in earthquakes; another was Don Hudson. The 
person from the University of Illinois, Nathan Newmark, who, in 
the United States, was the number-one person on impulse loadings 
of structuresthat is, explosions; Karl Steinbrugge; then the 
presidents of two San Francisco engineering companies, structural 
engineers that did earthquake designs: Henry Degenkalb and John 
Blume. There was also Cal's T.Y. Lin; the famous T.Y. Lin of Cal 
and of private practice. Another, from Chevron corporation, John 
Rinne, later became president of the ASCE. 

So we decided we would have two sections, one starting on 
Sunday instead of Monday, and we would have Sunday, Monday, 
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for one section, and then we'd have 
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday for the second 
section. So each of us gave the lecture twice, and that way we 
could keep the number of students down in each section. 

They weren't just engineers from companies that attended; it 
turned out that professors of many universities, and many 
government agency engineers wanted to take it. It was new. I'd 
like to mention that five of the lecturers have since been awarded 
the National Medal of Science at the White House at different 
times (George Housner, Nate Newmark, T.Y. Lin, Harry Seed and Ray 
Clough) , and nearly every one of them became a member of the 
National Academy of Engineering or the National Academy of 
Science, or both. 

The Resulting Textbook; Another Aspect of Teaching 

Wiegel: The people that took the course said, "There's no book on this 

subject. We want a book." So I was asked to try to get all these 
people to write a chapter on their presentations. Some of these 
were the top people. How did you get them to write a chapter? 


Also, we had told them they didn't have to worry about writing 
anything; and then come back and ask them to do so--I didn't 
relish this. 

Swent: Even though they had given lectures at this conference? 

Wiegel: Yes, they had given lectures, heard the students' comments, and 

they understood the need. Also, we said, "It would look funny if 
we don't have a chapter from every one. People might say, 'Gosh, 
wasn't his good enough?'" No, I didn't say this, but you twist 
arms a little. However, they were all nice people and thoroughly 
professional. So I was asked to be the coordinating editor and 
Prentice Hall published it [Earthquake Engineering, 518 pp.]. By 
the time we got all the papers written and everything, it was 1970 
before it was published. It wasn't easy to get together, but it 
was the first book on the subject and it was used worldwide for 
years. Many universities used it as a textbook. So again, that's 
another aspect of teaching: not only did you teach directly, but 
you developed a textbook that many other people can use. 

Swent: Did you have any student help with the textbook? 

Wiegel: No, this was really state-of-the-art. This was the sort of thing 
that only the leading person-- 

Swent: I just meant with the mechanics of it. 

Wiegel: Not that, no. 

Swent: You had secretaries who helped you? 

Wiegel: I had no help whatsoever. 

Swent: You did your own typing and everything? 

Wiegel: No, each author prepared their own. I can't tell you, for 

example, whether or not George Housner had help at Caltech--that I 
don't know. 

Swent: You did the editing? 

Wiegel: I did the coordinating editing. It was just to be sure there 
weren't gaps. There's a big difference. When I became editor 
later on of the journal Shore & Beach, that's different. I read, 
I edited, and exchanged comments with an author. This wasn't that 
sort. This was just to look for gaps and to try to get 
consistency; that's all. You didn't have to edit the writing of 
these peoplethey were all pros. 


Chair of the University-Wide Extension Program 

Wiegel: I guess it must have been because of that successful short course, 
because, just after it was given, I was asked to serve as chair of 
Berkeley's academic senate's committee on extension. Not just 
serve on it, but to be chair of it. Then shortly later, I was 
asked to chair the university-wide committee on extension. That's 
all extension activities: here, UCLA, UCSF Medical Schoolall of 
these things. Continuing education of the bar--all of that came 
under the university-wide extension. Each campus had a dean of 
extension, and we were the liaison between the dean and the 
regular campus faculty, academic affairs, and so forth. So I've 
always had a real-- 

Swent: How did you feel about that? 

Wiegel: That was a lot of work. But again, I feel very strongly that this 
is a major activity of a university. You're serving a very broad- 
based group of people. You're doing a good service in many, many 
areas. As you can see, I've had a tumor in my inner ear removed 
surgically, I also had open-heart surgery. So I'm very grateful 
that the medical profession has a very excellent, extensive 
extension service teaching doctors new procedures. [laughter] 

Swent: So that they're up to date. That's right. 

Wiegel: So you've got the professions. But then there's this whole other 
portion which is the quality of life: the humanities, the arts, 
which are made available by so many extension courses. They're 
very popular. I don't know if you've looked into-- 

Swent: I've taken a number of them. 

Wiegel: So you know. 

Swent: I'm well aware of them; they're great. 

Wiegel: And people do a good job. Once in a while, it's not so good, but 
mostly, they do a very good job. 

Swent: The ones I've attended have been very fine. 

Wiegel: I organized other short courses- -which had nothing to do with 
being chairman of the committee- -with some other people like 
Professor Gerwick and others, and Paulling in Naval Architecture, 
in offshore engineering. Lectures were given by faculty, 
engineers in industry, and in some government agencies. This was 
for the oil companies and engineering companies; also professors 


from other universities attendedthe drilling for oil and gas in 
the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea. We gave the first ones 
given any place, and we were doing much of the research at that 
time, both in civil engineering and naval architecture. People 
came from all over the world to take those courses. They would 
come from England, France, Norway, Japan, when we offered a course 
in offshore engineering. 

Swent: Where did you give them? 

Wiegel: Here on the Berkeley campus. Sometimes at a hotel at the Berkeley 
Marina. Those were always short courses. We learned our lesson 
after the first one. Each person giving a lecture was asked to 
prepare a written hand-out that the students could have. Do you 
notice all the big thick blue binders in the bookcase behind me? 
Each one of those is a short course series of notes on some course 
that I was associated with. The last one that I had anything to 
do with was after I retired, and it was just to be a participant. 
It was a university extension course held on the Clark Kerr 
Campus--you know that nice campus that used to be the California 
School for the Blind before they moved? This was on estuaries and 
coastal wetlands: the mixing processes in estuaries, geology of 
estuaries, the biology of estuaries, the chemistry of estuaries- 
all of these things on estuaries. You know, San Francisco Bay is 
an estuary. 

The leader of this, who organized it and so forth, was Peter 
Goodwin, who had been a graduate student at Berkeley from England. 
He did his Ph.D. here at Berkeley. His major professor was Hugo 
Fischer, who was tragically killed in a soaring plane crash. We 
were able to arrange to have Norman Brooks, a professor at Caltech 
and Fischer's mentor, step in and help out with the thesis. 

Goodwin then went back to England after his Ph.D. and taught 
there. But then I guess he found he liked the climate in the San 
Francisco Bay better, so he came back to the Bay Area, and he 
worked for a firm in San Francisco that is well known in the 
environmental field- -Phillip Williams and Associates. He was the 
organizer of it. That was only about three or four years ago. 
That was very successful, too. Incidentally, Peter Goodwin is now 
a professor at the University of Idaho. 

People are so interested in the environment, and this was 
all quantitativeall of these different aspects. Again, you see, 
that's teaching. But the people were not only from government and 
companies, but from other universities and other countries. 

I somehow skippedand I remember and it must have been 
when I was first appointed associate professor and Glenn Seaborg 


was chancellor at that time, and he had a reception for new 
faculty in the chancellor's home on campus. We were talking about 
how long it took to prepare a lecture, and how long in advance it 
took. I said, "Well, I have to prepare mine a few days before, 
and then I go over the notes the night before." He understood 
that, but what he usually did was to prepare three lectures in a 
row, and go through the notes once for the three lectures in a 
row. I thought, "There's a difference. What a mind!" I found 
that kind of interesting. 

Member and Chairman of Chancellor's Advisory Committee on 
Education of Military Officers (ROTC) 

Wiegel: There are other aspects of education that I would like to add. 
One of them is the education of prospective military officers: 
this is ROTC I was in ROTC when I was an undergraduate, and very 
appreciative that I had that opportunity. ROTC is very important 
from a national standpoint. But also, it's about the only place 
in the university that leadership is taught. How do you lead? As 
important as how one leads is, how does one make decisions under 
extreme stress? It may be in war, it may be when you're 
practicing landing an aircraft on a carrier, it may be when 
something goes wrong with a power plant, and you have got only a 
few seconds to make a decision. So the ROTC program serves a use 
broader then just preparing people to become military officers, 
most of whom are simply on a reserve status. 

I have been on the chancellor's advisory committee on 
military officers education program since 1978. I'm still on it. 
I served as chair of it on two separate occasions. Some of the 
best comments on the value of ROTC programs in universities such 
as Berkeley are in one of the publications that are the printed 
version of talks, discussions, question and answers of the Fleet 
Admiral Nimitz lectures on national security affairs here at 
Berkeley. It was by John Lehman, who had been, amongst other 
things, secretary of the navy as well as a navy pilot, and is 
currently chairman of Lehman Brothers of New York, the investment 

His lecture series were "Naval Power after Cold War 
Victory." This was the first speaker we had after the collapse of 
the Russian empire which was called the Soviet Union. A major 
point he made was that the founders of the United States were 
worried about military take-overs of government. They had seen 
the experience in European countries, and they didn't want it to 
happen. We do have three military academies: West Point, the 


Army; the Naval Academy, or Navy and Marine Corps; and the Air 
Force Academy. But we also have ROTC programs in many 
universities, and during the troubled times in the sixties and 
seventies, many universities cancelled them, such as Stanford. 
The U.C. Regents told the faculty this is a regential matter, not 
a faculty matter; we will continue ROTC programs! 

So Berkeley continued to give ROTC, but there has been a 
much bigger input from the faculty, and this is via the committee 
the chancellor established on military education, and it's still 
in existence. It's still very active. It has good members on it. 
The current chairman is Tom Barnes, who is jointly a professor of 
law and a professor of history. Bob Middlekauff is on it--he was 
provost here and then went down to be head of the Huntington 
Library, but is back. He's a former Marine, and as they say, 
"Once a Marine, always a Marine." 

Everyone on the committee was a former Marine, Navy, Army, 
or Air Force. We all had experience. We're running out. This is 
why, even though I'm retired, I'm still on it. We're running out 
of faculty people with three, four, etc., years of military 

The Importance of Having Well-Trained Civilians in the Military 

Swent: You seem to have felt very good about this. 

Wiegel: I felt very good about it; still do feel very good about it. 

Anyhow, the point is that we want to be sure that our military is 
still civilian and from many levels of our population and from 
many areas of specialties. We need engineers, we need pilots, we 
need humanists, we need business administration, we need all kinds 
of people to get different viewpoints, and to make sure it's 
civilian, not a military hierarchy. So we need the military to 
prevent wars or to minimize them or to fight them if need be, but 
we also want to be sure it's always civilian from throughout the 
country so there is not a military takeover which has happened in 
many, many, many, if not all countries. I consider that a very 
important part of teaching and related activities. 


Advising Graduate Students; Matching Talents and Problems 

Wiegel: I'd like to mention that I retired from active teaching in June, 
1987. I'd been here more than forty years in either research or 
teaching, and became a professor emeritus. However, I still give 
several lectures each year in a few courses, and I give a seminar 
in the interdisciplinary ocean engineering seminar, E 201. 
Incidentally, I'm scheduled to give one this coming Friday on this 
subject. I also help, when asked, with students in their 
individual research. I am in each morning by 8:00 a.m. (0800) 
with my door open and it stays open the whole time I'm here in 
case a student wants to drop in. 

One of the very nice things about the university is that 
when you're retired, if you still want to be active with the 
research and students, you can do so. I have done this. I 
suddenly realize I never mentioned anything at all about the 
students and their Ph.D. theses. This is a one-on-one where they 
work with you and a few of the other professors. I was supervisor 
of twenty- six Ph.D. theses. 

Swent : That ' s a lot . 

Wiegel: That's a lot. And I've been on a number of other Ph.D. thesis 
committees, and I've supervised a number of mini-theses for the 
master of engineering program. This is one-on-one working with 
students, teaching, and so forth. One of the things that you 
learn when you supervise a student's Ph.D. thesis, you try to 
match the particular sets of talents of a student with a problem. 
Every problem is different; every student has a different mix of 
capabilities. Somehow you have got to match these so the students 
can go ahead and do a good job. 

Sometimes if a student hasn't done a good job, it's because 
a professor hasn't matched the student with the problem. Then you 
have got to encourage the student. You talk to them, you keep 
their spirits up. You give them ideas, directions, who else to 
talk to, what courses they might have to audit to help out. Then 
you have to tell the student to stop. You've done enough, write 
it up, and leave. Get a job. Because if they really get 
interested, they always want to do one more thing. Sometimes you 
have to say, "Stop." 

Swent: Enough is enough. 

Wiegel: So there's four things: match the students, guide them, encourage 
them, and get them to finish. I'm sure there's many things that 
I've left out. 


Swent: I have time if you do. Do you have time to go a little more? 
Wiegel: Yes, if you have some questions. 

Swent: I'd like to have you be a little more specific about some of 


Swent: Particularlyand it might come into this discussion of Ph.D. 
theseshow much input or consideration was there for specific 
problems that industry was facing? Did you have advisors from 
engineering companies, or would you gear a researchyou were 
doing research for I'm not phrasing that well. 

Wiegel: One main factor of importance in working with companies or 

government agencies was, say, doing work on projects where you 
would see that you just don't know the answer to a question. But, 
from an engineering standpoint, somebody with more experience or 
sometimes yourself would say, "Here, we can go ahead and do this 
using such and such safety factor in there you can proceed." But 
then you file it away, thinking, "One of these days, somebody 
should learn more about this . " 

This is where the matching comes in; trying to match these 
various assorted problems that you keep on discovering, with 
somebody's particular set of capabilities. Then, of course, 
because very few if any of our students come from wealthy families 
and could support themselves in graduate school- -somehow, you have 
to have a research contract, either from government or industry, 
or something like that. When I say government NSF, or ONR, or it 
might be the State of California. So many of the theses were in 
research to develop new knowledge in one of these areas in which 
we didn't know the answer to a problem. 

A Practical Problem with Pumps in India Leads to Research Projects 

Swent: This is what I wanted to bring out: that there must have been a 
relationship with 

Wiegel: Earlier, I mentioned the cooling water system for the power plant 
at Tarapur, India. It is a good example; one of the people who 
was working as a consultant to the joint Bechtel-General Electric 
Company, was Dick Eaton. He had retired as technical director of 
the Army Corps of Engineers Beach Erosion Board. Former to that, 
he had been an engineer at the Los Angeles District of the Army 


Corps of Engineers. Dick was a very good observer and had lots of 
practical experience. He had come back from India at Tarapur, and 
we were talking- - i. e. , Dick, myself, somebody from Bechtel, 
somebody from GE- -about the intake structure. 

This was in a rock reef area. There was not sand there; it 
wasn't a sandy beach, it was rock. They were going to rock dredge 
an entrance channel and a stilling basin in the rock, and then 
install a series of big pumps to pump ocean water through the 
condensers, and out of the condensers through an outlet back into 
the oceanmaybe a half a mile away or something like that. The 
question arose: how much wave action can these pumps take, and 
still behave in an appropriate manner? The companies had asked 
the pump manufacturers, and the pump manufacturers said, "As 
little as possible." That's not a very good answer. We never did 
find out how little "as little as possible" was. This is 
engineering, as opposed to science. 

Dick Eaton had observed wave action at several places where 
inlets to the harbors had been dredgedthat is, dredging a 
channel deeper than the natural water depth. In some cases, they 
dredged the channel seaward of the entrance jetties; he observed 
that the waves coming in from the ocean got smaller for some 
reason, so that the waves that penetrated into the harbor basin 
were much smaller than if they didn't dredge that entrance seaward 
of the jetties. Engineering observation, no theory. But he had 
observed it. So we at Berkeley made a hydraulic model of this, 
and dredged it, generated waves mechanically, and sure enough the 
waves were smaller. Only now, we could measure them, and we could 
say how much smaller. By lengthening the channel out from the 
pumps, and increasing the dredged depth, we could get the waves 
small enough that the pump people said, "Yes, we think that's 
okay." Why? Now this gets into science, research, Ph.D.s. , 

A little later, there was a match: there was a student that 
had the background, had the courses, had enough ability, and he 
went to work on it. This, of course, is again an example of why 
you have several faculty members on a Ph.D. thesis committee, 
because I understood a certain amount about it, but some of things 
were pretty darnedvery subtle, to be frank. Professor John 
Wehausen, a professor of engineering science, was in the 
department of naval architecture at Berkeley he was aware of some 
theory that would indicate that this should be the case. He 
couldn't get the exact answers, but he could get regimes. 

So we had this student, and he was from Egypt. He had been 
working for the Suez Canal Authority, and the Egyptian government 
said he could come, and helped him, and he met all the 
requirements and he was here. He was a very bright person. He 


has incidentally become--step-by-step--the director of research, 
the director of engineering, and he's in now the number-two 
position in the Suez Canal Authority, I understand. The top 
technical person. 

Swent: Do you recall his name? 

Wiegel: Nabil Hilaly. He did his Ph.D. thesis on this subject; both in 

hydraulic model and theory, and developed, then, the techniques to 
be able to analyze and say why this would happen. Professor John 
Wehausen was on the committee, and provided substantial 
theoretical insight. There's the consulting thing by this other 
person; the work we did on a contract between the university and 
the company solved the engineering problem, but did not answer the 
scientific question. The Ph.D. thesis answered the scientific 
question. His work was published in a refereed journal. 

Swent: Then you have the whole thing. 
Wiegel: I think that's a very good example. 
Swent: That's an excellent one. 

Wiegel: There are several others, but that's the one that I remember most 

Swent: If you could detail a couple of others, it would be very helpful. 

Wiegel: Let's see. 

Swent: You mentioned Bechtel. Have you done much with Bechtel? 

Wiegel: Yes, over the years; one project was concerned with the 

possibility of a future mudflow causing wave overtopping in the 
design of the rehabilitation of a dam and reservoir after the 
Mount St. Helens volcano eruption in 1980. 

One of the things that we worked on for a long time was 
wave-induced forces on off-shore oil structures. I talked about 
this earlier: we did both laboratory and field work. One of the 
things we observed when we put an instrumented pile in the surf 
zonethis was down in Monterey Bayand measured the waves with a 
recorder and measured the strains in the pile induced by wave 
forces on the pile- -we saw that when a wave broke against the 
pile, suddenly you would get a sharp peak in the forcejust up 
and down not over a tenth of a second in duration. 

Swent: I think you have gotten into this. 


Wiegel: We did it in the laboratory, and instead of a tenth of second, it 
was a hundredth of a second. Filed away. No idea as to what in 
the world was responsible for it. Decades later, Paul Kaplan, a 
naval architect who had been working on the problem of the landing 
of sea planes --which incidentally was the outgrowth of what the 
great von Karman at Caltech had done during the war on the impact 
load on a sea plane or other airplanes being "ditched" hitting the 
water surface--. Paul Kaplan was looking at a problem with a 
British company that had an off-shore platform in the southern 
North Sea. This was one of the first ones for recovering gas. 

One of the cross members failedwhat they called fatigue 
failure- -they blame much on fatigue failure. They don't always 
understand what has happened, I hate to say it. A lot of it is 
fatigue failure, but lots of times fatigue simply gets blamed 
because you don't know what it is. It got worn out, so you could 
say it was fatigue, low-cycle fatigue. But it broke, and another 
one broke. That person, Paul Kaplan, had a flash of an insight 
that it was an impulse loadremember engineers use F=MA; force 
equals mass times acceleration. But really Newton used the 
summation of forces is equal to the change in momentum, and 
momentum is the product of mass and velocity. 

When it came to water loads- -what part of the ocean is 
exerting the load? Is the small portion of the mass of the ocean 
imparting the load changing with time? The answer is yes. So he 
saw it. Then, I took thatthis wasn't a Ph.D. thesis, because 
this was much later there was nobody to match with the problem. 
For a vertical pile in the wave breaking zone, the surf zone, 
using the same concept, I found that we could predict these 
things --making use of this, concept. We had been designing these 
things by putting a safety factor in. Now finally, after maybe 
twenty-five or thirty years, we finally understood the physics of 

You see how much better that is when you teach the students, 
and you could teach them the physics, and you say, "You see this 
peak? You see how high it is, and how short the duration is? Now 
here's the formulation and the mathematics." It's not easy to 
make the calculations without computers, but now we can compute 
it. So that's a second example. 

Pioneering Research on Mixing of a Surface Buoyant Jet 

Wiegel: Another example is concerned with a part of water quality, thermal 
quality. Much of it was done after our work on the power plant in 
Tarapur. When the intake water's heated and then discharged, it's 


not that it's warm, although the temperature is what you're 
interested in for marine biology studies. But the mixing has 
nothing to do with the temperature as such, it has to do with the 
fact that it's less dense after you heat it. It's called a 
buoyant flow. The discharged water wants to stay at the surface, 
because it's lighter than the ocean water. It doesn't want to mix 
with the cooler water below, but it does mix because of 
turbulence. There was little that anyone had done on the mixing 
of a surface buoyant jet. Almost nothing. 

We, and others at MIT and Caltech, had worked on it; this is 
why GE and Bechtel asked us to do a hydraulic model study for the 
Tarapur project. We knew that from a practical engineering 
standpoint, engineers could go ahead and design a system; there 
were systems in existence. But there were, over the years, 
additional studiesand part of this was supported later by 
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, because of the Diablo Canyon 
power plantwe did a lot of work for them. Hydraulic modelswe 
worked with them when they were making their full-scale tests- 
compared model results with full-scale measurements. I think 
there were either two or three Ph.D. theses that were supported 
before we really understood the physics and could do the 
analytical and numerical calculations. 

It wasn't until we compared the results of our hydraulic 
models with the extensive, very expensive full-scale measurements 
that PG&E made at Diablo Canyon that we knew the problem was 
solved through the use of an undistorted densimetric Froude number 
in modeling it. Now perhaps one can make useful estimates using a 
numerical model- -but I don't know for sure as I haven't kept up 
with this type of work. But still, I believe a large hydraulic 
model, using undistorted scales, might have to be made because of 
the complexities. I wish I had the time to go into this again. 
Some of the support during the early days was by National Science 
Foundation, some was supported by the State of California water 
resources group- -because it's a water quality problem and then 
later a large part by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. 

For decades, there were three groups working on this type of 
problem: myself and Fischer here at Berkeley, Norm Brooks and his 
colleagues at Caltech, and Don Harleman and graduate students at 
M.I.T. Later, many around the world were doing it, but for years 
there were only these three places where this sort of work was 
done. That's a major input to the water quality thing: to get 
quantitative answers so you know what's going to happen. That's 
needed by marine biologist as an input to his/her work. They want 
to know what the temperatures are and things of that sort, and we 
have to be able to tell them what they are. 


Swent: You say everybody's doing it now? 

Wiegel: A number of universities in the U.S. and France and Japan and 
England. But the early work was done by these three groups. 

Some Special Graduate Students from Egypt 

Swent: Just one other thing: you mentioned Egypt a couple of times. Did 
you have a lot of students from Egypt? 

Wiegel: Yes. At one timeand this has got to be thirty years ago or 

morethe dean of engineering at the University of Cairoshortly 
after Egypt took over the Suez Canal of course, you've read 
articles, you heard statements at that time of how they couldn't 
run it, but of course they could; they have run it, and have done 
an excellent job he wanted to have some of the brightest students 
do graduate work in this field of coastal engineering because it 
would apply to the Suez Canal, the inlets, the canal operation, 
and so forth. I don't know the connection, but somehow at some 
place, he had met Professor Johnson. Joe said they would have to 
meet the university requirements. That's all there is to it. 

So the Dean of Engineering at Cairo University chose these 
I think it was five and they were carefully chosen. Believe me, 
they were and are smart. They were the cream of the cream because 
they were with the biggest money-maker in Egypt the Suez Canal. 
So they sent their applications, and there was no question. The 
graduate division read them; accept them! [laughter] Not going 
to get anybody better than this. So we did, and I don't think 
they all came at one time; I think there were three, and one and 
one or something like that. I think there were about five. I 
know one of them is currently professor at the University of 
Cairo; one is now the number- two person in the Suez Canal 
Authority; one, Ismail Mobarek, is with the World Bank and prior 
to that, also a professor at the University of Cairo; one, I 
think, died of a heart attack. 

Swent: Are you still getting students from Egypt? 

Wiegel: No. We have got a professor from Egypt, Mustafa Foda. He didn't 
do his Ph.D. here; he did his Ph.D. at M.I.T., but he's professor 
here now. He was an undergraduate student at the University of 
Cairo, and studied there under Professor Mobarek. 

Swent: But this was sort of a one-time thing? 


Wiegel: That was a one-time thing. We had one or two before; we've had 
several after. But the ones in my mind are the ones --we had 
others that come in structural engineering, and sanitary 
engineering--! have got to be careful. I'm talking only about my 
personal experience. 

Swent: Yes, that's what I'm asking about. 

Wiegel: In water resources and so forth, we've always had them from Iraq, 
Iran, Lebanon, and Israel. 

Swent: What other countries in particular? 

Wiegel: Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Australia, the Philippines, Korea, 

Malaysia, Japan, China, Taiwan, England, France. Many, manyeven 
one from Iceland. 

Swent: Everywhere. 

Wiegel: As I said, so many of the students became good friends and remain 
good friends. I think that responded to your question. 

Swent: That's fine, yes. Is there anything else you wanted to mention 
before we wind up here? 

Wiegel: I'm sure as soon as you leave, I will. That's the standard 
operating method. 

Swent: Make a note, and we'll catch it up next time. 

Wiegel: The first thing I said this morning was: by the way, last time I 
forgot. Next time, I will start off, "By the way." 

Swent: That's fine, that's just fine. 

[Interview 4: February 19, 1997] II 

Swent: Before we get started on anything a little more formal, we were 
just chatting here about how things get forgotten, and that, of 
course, is what oral history is all about: trying to preserve 
those things. You were pointing out to me a report of a 
conference held in 1965. It's a big, inch-and-a-half -thick volume 
called California and Use of the Ocean, which is the proceedings 
of a conference? 

Wiegel: No, this was a plan. 

Swent: A plan that was put out by the University of California Institute 
of Marine Resources: California and Use of the Ocean. What 



Swent : 

Swent : 

started this is we were talking about a conference that Orville 
Magoon is co-organizing or co-chairing which is going to be held 
March 24-27, 1997, entitled, "California and the World Ocean '97." 
It's almost the same topic, and going to be held down in San 
Diego. Bob was saying the importance of updating things and 
sometimes repeating things just so they don't get lost. 

Well, the thing that came to my attention was that yesterday 
afternoon, we were having a two-hour meeting foryou might call a 
steering committee, or something like that for the Water 
Resources Center Archives. One of the things that was mentioned 
is how many consulting engineering reports that are made for 
clients about water resources, and other subjects of course, are 
forgotten after a few decadesmany of which have extremely 
interesting data and recommendations. It's not that anybody does 
it on purpose; it's that everybody is busy and they may or may not 
write a paper on it or an article on it, and after a few decades 
it becomes lost except if these companies are willing to give 
copies to something like the Water Resources Center Archives. 

This recalled to me that you may even print large numbers of 
reports and they get lost; people don't know about them. You can 
talk about bringing things up on the computer, but you have to 
have something to start with. Unless you put in some of the 
correct code names, you never will find these things. I don't 
know whether or not the people that are organizing this new 
conference are aware of what occurred more than thirty years ago, 
but I'm going to certainly send a note to Orville Magoon and 
mention this to him. 

He may well be aware of it, but I'm going to mention that we 
have a copy of the report in the archives here on the Berkeley 
campus . 

It's very possible that if everyone assumes everyone else knows 

I know things can get forgotten because- - 
They certainly can. 

--I have been trying before each of these interviews to go back 
and refresh my memory about things, and some of the things I 
brought up I remember fairly well, others I just remember, and 
then I find things that I had forgotten completely about. 

Swent : 

That's very easy to have happen, isn't it? 
about the water archives. 

We do want to talk 


Wiegel: Let me pick that up just a little later this morning, because it 
is a very important part of the university, and it's well thought 
of; I know that. The people that work in it are highly 
professional and dedicated and work well with the students as well 
as people from the outside. It's not just a university activity; 
it was founded by an act of the state legislature many years ago. 
O'Brien was one of the people that worked with the state 
legislature in establishing the Water Resources Center, and then 
the archives became an important part of that center. 

Professor Joe Johnson of hydraulics was the first archivist, 
and one of the reasons the collection is so good is that O'Brien 
and Johnson knew many of the early engineers that worked on water 
supply in the state of California, and because Professor 
Etcheverry taught here and practiced irrigation engineering in 
California and elsewhere for decades, and was well known and 
thought of. That is: irrigation, hydro-electricity, water supply 
for cities, flood control. They knew these people, and they 
talked to them, and said, "Why don't you turn over your consulting 
reports and data to this new archives so it won't get lost." This 
is what they did, and something they have been doing ever since. 
It's a very important thing to this state, and it's important to 
people in many other parts of the country and the world. It's 
well used. It's now on w.w.w. worldwide web. 

Swent: So that means it's really important. 
Wiegel: Yes. People become more aware of it. 

Swent: Well, I think that everybody has become much more aware of the 
importance of water within the last few years worldwide. 

Wiegel: We had a little joke yesterday. Don't say scientists don't have a 
sense of humor. We were thinking of California's water, and we 
were thinking of floods and droughts, and this is the California 
equivalent of the Chinese yin and yang. But ours is flood and 
drought, [laughter] 

Swent: That's right. 

Wiegel: I'll mention that a little later under governance of the 

Swent: Yes, all right. That's what we were going to talk about today. 

The Richmond Field Station 

Wiegel: But I'd like to, if you don't mind, pick up a couple of items that 
I had forgotten about last week when we talked about university 
and teaching. As part of it, you asked about the Richmond Field 
Station. I made a few comments at that time, but I would like to 
add to what I said. Originally, it was named the Engineering 
Field Station, but the name was changed by Chancellor Kerr when he 
was chancellor of the Berkeley campus, I believe. The property 
was purchased by the UC regents shortly after the end of World War 
II, and many details about this development are given in the oral 
history by Mike O'Brien. 

Most of the large engineering laboratory facilities were 
built there. It's located in Richmond, at the edge of San 
Francisco Bay, and it's about a twenty-minute drive from here, 
which made it rather inconvenient for students and faculty to use, 
but the alternative of not having these large facilities would 
have been detrimental, so it was well that this was done. But it 
was inconvenient, unless you were there full-time. I spent many 
years there; in fact, until I was full-time on the faculty. Then 
I maintained an office there for many years thereafter, and my 
graduate students and I used the facilities right up until I 
retired in 1987. 

Swent: Is it at the water's edge? 

Wiegel: It's at the water's edge, and several of the large facilities are 
the model basin and the naval architecture laboratorythe ship 
model towing tank. Specifically, what I wanted to mention about 
thatbecause it might get lost the information- -the rails on the 
towing tank, and also on the model basin, are very special rails. 
They were shipped to the university by the navy's ship model 
towing tank (located in the vicinity of Washington, D.C.), when 
they upgraded theirs in the mid-1950s. So we were fortunate to 
get these. Also, the towing tank is built on deep bay mud, so the 
whole thing floats like a reinforced concrete ship and the rails 
can be adjusted both for alignment and for vertical accuracy. 
This has had to be done several times since the original facility 
was built, but it permits the facility still to be used. 

Swent: You say, "still to be used?" 

Wiegel: To use a towing tank, you have to have very accurate alignment of 
the rails, and it must be level. By being able to adjust this, 
you can continue to use the facility. If we had not done it, it 
wouldn't have been operational. 


Swent: Because of the underlying 

Wiegel: Because of the gradual differential settling. Because of the fact 
that it was built on this deep mud. 

Swent: I see. Was it affected in the earthquake of '89? 

Wiegel: I can't tell you whether or not it did settle--! was retired then 
--but it could have been easilyit's quite a bit of work to align 
up and so forthbut they're still using it, I know. Only now, 
what they're towing instead of a ship is a three-dimensional 
model of an airplane, and it is towed underwater in order to study 
the tip vortices if formed. This is being done by the department 
of mechanical engineering, and I think it should be mentioned that 
the department of naval architecture and offshore engineeringas 
it's now called is being disestablished at the end of this 
academic year. Some faculty will go into civil engineering, some 
into mechanical engineering, and the ship model towing tank will 
become a part of the department of mechanical engineering. The 
hydraulic engineering model basin and wind wave tank at RFS are in 
"mothballs" closed down and locked up. There is no staff. I 
find it sad. 

Some of the details of the facility have been described. I 
looked up to find out about it. Forty years ago almost, Mac 
Snyder, Karl Bermel, and myself wrote a paper in which we 
described all of these facilities, plus the ones on campus, in 
hydraulics and coastal engineering with drawings on how the things 
operate and so forth. So that's in the record in what is called 
a there's two terms: a refereed journal and an archival journal. 
In other words, it's in a journal that's kept by many libraries. 

Development of Pioneering Wave Generators 

Wiegel: As you can see, I'm using words I heard yesterday at the meeting. 
The most important thing about the facility, I think, is that the 
first programmable wave generator anywhere in the world, and 
probably the first wave spectral generator anywhere in the world, 
was designed and de-bugged for use in that tank between 1959 and 
1961. This has been copied by other people, but this was the 
first one, done here by J.W. Cuthbert, Oswald Sibul, and Bill 
Webster. Webster is now professor of naval architecture here at 
Berkeley and currently an associate dean at the college of 
engineering. The late Oswald Sibul was from Estonia. In fact, he 
escaped from Estonia when the Russian Empire took over the Baltic 


countries at the end of World War II, and he spent his 
professional career here in naval architecture at the university. 

Also, the pre-feasibility studies for the Polaris missile 
were done in this tank. This work was classified and was never 
written up, and I think it's well to get in the record that that's 
where it was done. 

Pre-Feasibility Studies for the Polaris Missile 

Swent: Did you work on that? 

Wiegel: Yes. We had several of our graduate students work on it, most of 
whom were hired away from us by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation that 
then continued to do the real development work. So we did the 
first workobviously it was good because they hired all of our 
students from us . 

Swent: How does it work to have graduate students work in a project like 
that that's so highly sensitive? 

Wiegel: One way you can do classified work is to break it up into bits and 
pieces. These students had clearance 

Swent: Of course. 

Wiegel: --because, remember, some of our students were--I don't think I 
mentioned, but the Army Corps of Engineers, for years sent, or 
permitted young officers to apply, because they had to be accepted 
as graduate students like any other graduate students. There was 
an unwritten law in the Corps of Engineers that to be promoted to 
field grade you should earn a Master's degree in engineering. So 
we always had several students who were in the military, but 
also, we had others that did have clearance in those days. People 
now can't conceive of the fact that we did these things, but we 
did. You could keep the security level low by breaking up the 
project into little bits and pieces. 

Swent : 

But the person at the top had to be aware of the whole project? 

Wiegel: Oh, yes. The person at the top who was undoubtedly back in the 

Pentagon knew many things . I knew a certain amount because I had 
high clearance. But the students wouldn't have known anything at 
all about any of the details. Even though they had low clearance, 
they just were working on it. They did not analyze the data. To 
analyze, we used navy photographers to take the data onyou would 


call them motion pictures, but they were really photographic 
transits. They had been very carefully calibrated at the navy gun 
factory, and they used photogrammetry to get motions and things 
like that. But that was all done on a navy facility, so navy 
personnel took the photographs and they analyzed them on a navy 
facility. So that's how you handle things when you're under 
extreme pressure to get something done rapidly. 

Swent: So what were you doing here then? 

Wiegel: Setting up the procedures and then thinking about the value of the 
work. We then realized that the next step had to be done in a 
facility which would have been quite different from what we had, 
because you would have to have a towing tank in a building in 
which you could adjust the atmospheric pressure because you had 
to--as a part of the modelingworry about the ratio of absolute 
pressures, and we were working in atmospheric pressure because the 
tank was in the atmosphere. So the next testand this is what 
Lockheed didwas to build a facility to do this in Sunnyvale. 
So I made that recommendation. 

Swent: Polaris was launched from underwater? 
Wiegel: From a submarine underwater. Correct. 

Swent: So it had to cope with water pressure, and atmospheric pressure 

Wiegel: --and very complicated things at the free surface. We did learn 
some interesting 

Swent: Complicated things at what? 

Wiegel: At what they call the free surface, when the missile came up and 
was about to go from water to air. Interesting things did occur: 
it could come right back down and hit the moving submarine if it 
wasn't designed properly. But that sort of thing was thought 
about in advance; it wasn't a surprise that was one of the 
reasons for the experiments. 

Swent: Were there ever any cases where someone was denied clearance? 

Wiegel: I'm not aware of a single case, no. Incidentally, you had asked 

at one time about the loyalty oath and so forth; well, I wasn't on 
the faculty at that time, I was full-time research staff, and of 
course, people like myself really didn't quite understand what was 
bothering them because we were all cleared. We all just 
automatically had done all of these things. We just didn't 
understand it. 

Graduate Students and Surfing 

Wiegel: I think I mentioned that I supervised twenty-six Ph.D. theses, and 
many master of engineering mini-theses, and much of the work on 
these theses was done using the facilities at the Richmond Field 
Station. I think I just mentioned to you that a number of 
students were young junior officers. If you're a junior officer, 
you're young, because it's up or out in the military. 

Swent: Are there any in particular that you remember? 

Wiegel: I remember one of them: Homer Johnston. Homer became a brigadier 
generalseveral of them became general of ficers--but Homer wrote 
an article- -he was from southern California, and he loved to surf, 
and he wrote a serious article on surfing: what makes good surf 
sites? It was the first paper that I am aware of, in which 
anybody has ever tried to figure out why a place was good for 
surfing; the combination of waves and the bathymetry and so forth. 

Swent: What? Bathymetry? 

Wiegel: Yes, bathymetry: underwater depths and configurations. What makes 
a good surfing site? Homer Johnston looked into this, and came up 
with the first recommendation as to what he thought might be a 
good combination. A few years later, a person going to the 
University of Hawaii--Kimo Walkerdid a Ph.D. thesis on this. 
This is very serious because surfing is an important subject 
because so many people enjoy it. 

Teaching Students to Write and Speak Persuasively 

Wiegel: I mentioned the master of engineering degree as a two-year 

professional degree which I believe to be the most cost-effective 
degree that we give in engineering from the standpoint of people 
becoming practicing engineers, rather than research and teaching. 

I think that somebody should do a history of that degree: 
how it came about, why it's important, and how valuable it has 
been. I thinkat sometime somebody should do that. Not me, but 
somebody should. 

Swent: Had it already been given? 
Wiegel: No, it was developed in the 1960s. 


Swent: What was the impetus for it? 

Wiegel: It was probably a few people like Earner Davis that recognized 
the reason I say Banner Davis is that Banner Davis was the 
director of the Institute of Traffic and Transportation, and he 
worked closely with people in regional planning, city planning, 
and things of this sort. You just don't design a highway, you 
don't just go take soil samples and decide what sort of foundation 
you need, and how wide your cars are, so how wide your lanes have 
to bebut you have to work and see how this will fit in with the 
entire concept of how you move people and things from place to 

So Harmer saw the needand others too, but I remember 
Banner of an engineer who would take a minor, similar to a minor 
for a Ph.D. that they would take in mathematics- -take a minor in 
something that's completely out of engineering to get a viewpoint 
of some other discipline. In regional planning, in history, in 
public policy, in portions of business administration those 
portions that deal with people. At least in civil engineering, 
this has been very successful. I think that somebody should 
document that at some time. 

Swent: Bas it been a popular degree? 
Wiegel: It's been a very popular degree. 
Swent: It really met a need, then. 

Wiegel: It's two years, and the number of units of courses that have to be 
taken are about the same certainly no less than for a Doctor's 
degree. There are two minors, but one has to be out of 
engineering or physics or mathematics; it can't be in any of 
those, it has to be for engineers to learn something about the way 
other people think about problems. This is valuable. Practicing 
engineers, and of course all others this is connected with this 
have to sell their ideas. It's no good just having concepts, 
design procedures you have got to sell them. 

Look what's going on right now with the proposal to replace 
the east side of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. You have 
to come up with designs or concepts but you have got to sell 
these to somebody. First your professor, or your boss, or the 
public. You always have to sell these things. This is done in 
writing, or more and more with visual aids and things like that 
orally. Time after time, you would hear senior engineers tell the 
students when they came and met with them in student chapters of 
the societies one of the big problems with engineers is they 


can't express themselves wellor at least many cannot express 
themselves well either in writing or orally. 

I took this very seriously, and in one of my graduate 
classes, I had every student prepare a term report in lieu of a 
final examination. The final report, on a subject directly 
related to the course, had to be written up- -it may include a 
designbut this was a written package of the type you would 
prepare for your boss or somebody. Then, in another graduate 
course, I had each student give a twenty- five minute oral 
presentation. You see, this is what you call "learn by doing." 
In addition to learning by doing- -that is, you learn how to make a 
presentationbut there's also no better way of learning a subject 
than preparing and giving a lecture on a subject. So this was 
always useful. 

In the written paper and the oral presentation, I made them 
use the library, because I wanted them to get used to digging 
things out for themselves, and learning how to use the library to 
find material. I think that this has worked very well, because 1 
still see former students coming back and using our archives to 
get material from it. 

Teaching the Use of a Specialized Library 

Swent: These were graduate students who still needed to learn to use the 

Wiegel: These were graduate students. They still needed to learn how to 
use the library as a real resource. Remember this is not a 
standard library. This is finding not just published papers and 
things like that, but old consulting reports and data reports and 
that sort Of information. That's all part of teaching; that's all 
part of learning these things. What's new about the present so- 
called "information age"? Probably more rapid access and better 
ways to manipulate data. 

Inventing the Term Oceanographical Engineering and Authoring the 

Wiegel: As a part of teaching the graduate courses in the first few years, 
I did revise and add-- 



Wiegel: --to my class noteswith them gradually approaching the format of 
a textbook. 

Swent: You developed this out of your courses? 

Wiegel: Out of my lecture notes that I had been giving. I would say about 
three years of lecture notes. I was asked if I would be willing 
to do it. I didn't realize how much work was involved. 

Swent: Who asked you? 

Wiegel: Prentice Hall, the publishers. 

Swent: They came to you? 

Wiegel: Yes. They did a very nice job, because I at least had enough 

sense to say I wanted it in a large size format with many, many 
figures and photographs, and they agreedbut that's an expensive 
thing to do. 

Swent: How had they heard about you? 

Wiegel: I don't know. After I did thatafter it was published, it was 

used worldwide. One of the reasons for this I think is: we had a 
number of young visiting scholars in the 1950s from many 
countries, and because of that, they were familiar with my 
lectures and class notes, and later, with the book. The book was 
used worldwide as a textbook. 

Swent: They took it back home with them? 

Wiegel: Yes, and it was used by those who came later for several decades 
before it became out of print. It's still in use by consultants 
as a reference book. Engineers still tell me how useful it is to 
them. Let me back up now. I gradually changed a course that I 
inherited when I first started to teach, on the design of 
hydraulic structures such as spillways, irrigation, canals and so 
forth, into more and more of the water quality and mixing. I 
developed really a completely new graduate course in that field, 
and for a decade, that was taught only in three universities: 
here, at Caltech by Norm Brooks; and at MIT by Don Harleman. 
Now, of course, it's taught at many places. 

Swent: This term: oceanographical engineering. Was that one that you 
invented, or had it been used before? 

Wiegel: I invented the term-- 


Swent: That's what I thought. 

Wiegel: --and people ask my why. I said, "I was thinking of mechanical 

and electrical, so there's oceanography, and so I coined the term 
oceanographical' to be the equivalent of mechanical and 
electrical." I would have called it coastal and offshore 
engineering if I had to do it over. 

Swent: Coastal seems to be the term that has 

Wiegel: Yes, but it's broader than coastal. I did much in what is called 
offshore engineering. That is some of the things needed for the 
design of offshore oil platforms. So it was broader, but I coined 
it for that reason. I think I did the right thing, but I would 
have done it differently. 

Swent: This book is referred to as the book that really established this 
branch of study. 

Wiegel: Yes, that's right. That was worth it. I'm very pleased that it 
was done, and of course I would modify many things in it now, but 
as far as I know, there's nothing in it that is wrong. I don't 
mean there are not mistakes; I corrected a number of mistakes. 
When you have a book with hundreds of equations, you're going to 
have "y's" without the square in them or something. Those are 
just plain mistakestypos and stuff. But as far as the 
fundamentals are concerned, it's still correct, I think. Although 
I would update it in many ways, life became so busy--I never got a 
chance to try to put a later edition, although Prentice-Hall kept 
asking me to do so. It was reprinted a number of times with 
corrections of the mathematics and so forth. Now I finally got to 
today's subject, [laughter] 

Swent: All right. 

Wiegel: When I got thinking about some of these things it was a week ago 
we had the interview, and my mind starts turning over-- 

Robert L. Wiegel with Mark V Wave Gage, 1949, 

Tests of amphibious vehicles, Fort Ord, California, February 1950. Left 
to right: Robert L. Wiegel (kneeling), unidentified, Captain Lund, Rear 
Admiral Doyle, Morrough P. O'Brien. 

Lunch at Spenger's Fish Grotto, Berkeley, California, October 
1957. Left to right: Robert L. Wiegel, Hans Albert Einstein, Joe 
W. Johnson. 
























t^ r^ 

4J ~H 



M i-H 


O 00 

4j m 

Dean Emeritus Morrough O'Brien and President Emeritus Clark Kerr at 
1987 Symposium in O'Brien's honor at the University of California. 
Mrs. Mary O'Brien and Professor Robert L. Wiegel look on. 

Photo courtesy College of Engineering Public Affairs Office 

Top: ASCE Coastal Engineering Research Council meeting, New York, 1989. 
Left to right: Eco Bijker, Ron Noble, Bob Dean, Orville Magoon, Thorn 
Saulle, J. A. Battjes, Robert L. Wiegel. 
Bottom: Robert L. Wiegel in his UC office, May 1987. 

Opening Ceremony, 22nd International Conference on Coastal Engineering, 
Delft, The Netherlands, July 2, 1990. Left to right: Egbert Prins, 
unidentified, Prince Klaus, Robert L. Wiegel. 



Director of the State Technical Services Program, 1965-1968 

Swent: That's very good, I'm glad you did that. We had planned to talk 
today about your activities in university governance. 

Wiegel: I'd like to modify the governance a little bit, and expand, just 
in terms, some of other activities that the university does for 
the benefit of the state and various segments of government and 
the general public. The university does many things that are 

One current example is technology transfer. There are 
articles, almost on a weekly basis in the popular pressa number 
of articles in the technical presson this subject. Technology 
transfer is to take new ideas coming out of research and turn them 
into products or systems to make life presumably better, or to go 
back and rectify mistakes that we made in the past. This is done 
on an accelerating basis. We're running now, when we used to walk 
on these things. 

It's been done ever since research has been done at 
universities and has been used under different names. The reason 
I chose this, is that more than thirty years ago, the Congress 
passed a law on what they call technical services. They call it 
the State Technical Services Act. This was technology transfer by 
a different word. 

Swent: And this is the national Congress. 

Wiegel: That's the thing that was passed by Congress. Lyndon Johnson was 
president, and when he signed the law, he used something like the 
expression maybe this is the "sleeper" of the XXX Congress--! 
forget which Congress it was. They all have a consecutive number. 
I did the legwork between the university and the governor's office 


in Sacramento. Governor Pat Brown designated the University of 
California as the agency to run it for the state of California. 
Clark Kerr was president, and Harry Wellman was the university 
vice president. In other words, when Clark Kerr was on a trip, 
Harry would be the acting president and so forth. I was asked to 
be the director, after being recommended by the dean of 
Engineering, George Maslach. I was in their office complex and I 
had an office down the hall from them in University Hall. For 
three yearsthis was 1965 to 1968--I was the director. 

Swent: What was the exact title? 

Wiegel: It was called the State Technical Services Program, and the idea 
was to develop better means than those that were in existence to 
transfer all of this research that was being done at universities 
--remember, at the University of California, this also included 
the Lawrence Livermore Lab, and many things that were developed 
for security projects, but what you would call spin-off to private 
uses or public uses. So there were tremendous amounts of this 
information; but how to get people to make use of it in better 
products or better systems? 

I had an advisory council that was set up by President Kerr. 
These were very distinguished engineers and scientists mostly, 
although there were a couple of other types to add breadth in 
public policy and things of this sort. One of the members was 
David Packard, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Another was 
Bill Gould, who at that time was vice president of Southern 
California Edison, and later became the chairman of the board of 
Southern California Edison. Another person was Abe Zarem. I 
remember him, because he was the founder and inventor of electro- 
optical systems. You have heard of Xerox? 

Swent : Yes . 

Wiegel: There are two parts of Xerox: there's the actual way that the 

image is made, but this can't be done without the electro-optical 
system to sense everything and tell it what to do. Abe Zarem was 
the one who had invented that, and his company was merged with 
Xerox, and he ended up owning huge numbers of shares in Xerox. I 
think at the time of this, he might have been worththey used to 
laugh, "How many millions did you make or lose today while you 
were attending this meeting, Abe?" But he wasn't interested in 
money except for its use in improving his research facility that 
he used to develop new concepts. That's what he was interested 

Bob Johnson was another member. At that time, Bob headed up 
the aerospace portion of Douglas. Later, Douglas aircraft was 


bought out by McDonnell, to become McDonnell Douglas Corporation- - 
and Bob Johnson ended up corporate vice president for engineering, 
and then eventually, the head of all McDonnell-Douglas West Coast 
operations, which is their space program, Douglas Aircraft 
Corporation. So these were people that had done this sort of 

We were interested in inventors. What was it that made an 
inventor? There aren't many people who are real inventors. 
Occasionally you'll read that it's just by chance that people 
invent this or that, but it's not that simple. People who are 
inventors there' s something different in the way their mind 
works. We looked into that. 

Swent: What exactly were you doing? 

Wiegel: I was the director. One thing I did was to serve as the liaison 

between the university and the governor's office, via Hal Walt who 
was Deputy Secretary of Finance. Mostly, I would go out; I would 
meet people; I would give talks. I should say that I think one 
of the reasons why I had been appointed to this was: there was a 
San Francisco Bay Area relation with industry committee, and I was 
the university representative on it. So I knew many of the people 
in the Bay Area of this sort. I think that was one of reasons: I 
knew a lot of people. I had a lot of energy, and I've always been 
a great reader. I would just read books, journals, magazines, 
newspapers, on all kinds of subjects. I got very interested in 
entrepreneurmanship and management and financing of businesses and 
things of that sort. 

At the faculty club at lunch, I would always be talking 
about these kind of things, so I thinkyou never know for sure 
why anything really happens , but I think those had something to do 
with it. 

Swent: During those years were you continuing to teach as well? 

Wiegel: Oh, yes. 

Swent: But you had an office? 

Wiegel: I had an office on the seventh floor of University Hall. That's 
the building down just to the west of campus at the corner of 
University Avenue and Oxford Street. 

Swent: Precisely what were you trying to set up? Meetings or courses or 


Wiegel: Not fund-raising, no. It was funded, but matching funds were 
required by any group who received a contract. 

Swent: What were you trying to do? 

Wiegel: One of the people was with the Lawrence Livermore Lab. He was a 
physicist or electrical engineer, Hy Olken, but he got very 
interested in how to take new ideas and turn them into products, 
and had been doing a lot of thinking about the subject. We funded 
him with a university contract to write a book on this subject: 
how he found you could do thismaking use of ideas coming out of 
the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. We contacted--! think it was a 
contact with Bill Gould, or Bob Johnson in southern California- -a 
person down there that made a series of television programs for 
public television on people who had done this, to give examples, 
to try to encourage other people to do this sort of thing. 

But there was just too much direction from Washington. I 
think in engineering, it's something like where the client over- 
specifies a project, and because of over-specification, it really 
denies the engineer designing something to use much judgment about 
what to do. This was what they did, in my opinionafter three 
years, I recommended that the university no longer continue to run 
this in the state, and they accepted my recommendation and dropped 
out. A year or two later, the whole thing fell. But a good deal 
of it was because of too much interference from Washington, over 

I would like to say I've been on other things since then in 
an advisory capacity to committees in Washington. I find that 
this is a tendency of people in Washington: that they know what's 
best for you, and they want to tell you what to do. This is 
especially true in standards and things like that which I've had 
some experience in. 

Swent: I just can't figure out exactly what it was all about. It sounds 
terribly vague to me. 

Wiegel: We knew what we wanted to do. 
Swent: Which was? 

Wiegel: When I say "we," that's editorial "we." We didn't know how to go 
about it. We knew bits and pieces. 

Swent: You were trying to speed up this transfer? 

Wiegel: Trying to speed it up. Of course, it probably had nothing to do 
with what we did, but in the Silicon Valley today, this sort of 


stuff is done routinely with a speed that's almost mind-boggling, 
as I think you know. So there are people that know how to do it. 
But there are the inventors, and the entrepreneurs. The 
entrepreneur- -and you will be talking to an entrepreneur in a few 
weeks that's Orville Magoon--they don't give up; they try this, 
they try that. If something failsor it may not fail; it just 
isn't successfulthey don't quit. They go on. They work on that 
again, they may work on a modification. So you have got the 
concept, the idea, but you have to match with it these other 
people that can and do push. 

Then the hardest thing is trying to judge what people might 
want, or they may not even know they want it. Now, you market it, 
and get them to see why they might like to have it. So what we 
wanted to do was fairly clear-cut; how to do it was what we were 
all struggling with. We made some headway, but I think you'll 
still find out today that people still don't know too much about 
why this one person seems to be an inventor, and the next thirty 
people are not inventors. 

Swent: I'm still unclear. This commission was it a commission or 
council that were you chairman of? 

Wiegel: I was the director for the state of California, and I was to go 

out and search for ideas, for people, not to transfer the product, 
but how this is done; how it can be done, not to do it. The wish 
for more/better technology transfer keeps coming back in. I 
forget what they call it in Washington, D.C., now. President 
Clinton and Vice President Gore were pushing it to put some money 
into developing things that might turn into new products and this 
and that. This is the top-down thing, and it doesn't seem to work 
very well. You need this one person here: somebody that gets an 
idea, and then somebody that will work with them and push, push, 

So the concept the ideawhat we were trying to do was a 
good one, but it went up and then came down. Now it's back in 
fashion again. As I said, the state's got an advisory council in 
technology transfer. Good luck. [laughter] 

Swent: So that was something you did for three years? 
Wiegel: Yes, on a part-time basis. 


Attending Meetings of the California Coordinating Council for 
Higher Education 

Swent: That's quite a while. 

Wiegel: But I also taught my courses at the same time; I had my graduate 
students. I had my research contracts. I've always worked long 
hours. As part of that, I had to attend a few meetings of the 
California Coordinating Council for Higher Education, and on a 
couple of occasions, make reports to them. Remember this was a 
program for the state of California, and the Coordinating Council 
consisted of the president of the University of California, the 
president of Stanford, the president of USC, the chancellor of the 
California state college systems, and the head of the community 
college systems. I forget the others, but it was the overall body 
that coordinated higher education in the state of California. 

Swent: Very important. 

Wiegel: I found, being able to attend several of those sessions and to 

report to them a couple of times, that this was very interesting. 
I learned a lot about how the state's higher education worked. In 
governance, a lot of it is because of people talking to each 
other. In fact, I've given quite a bit of thought to how 
universities govern. It's very different than the military, which 
I know quite well. It's very different from most corporations, 
and so many old, large corporations were set up under the model of 
the military, as you well know. Very different from government 
agencies, where you have got the chief executive, you have got the 
commander, you have got the director, and they tell people what to 
do. At universities, you don't. You may try, but it doesn't get 
you anywhere. 

Swent: You can try. 

Wiegel: So governance is really through committees, and meetings, and 
selling. Ideas are going up, ideas are coming down, ideas are 
going sideways. In the higher education system in California, the 
fact that you had the people like the president of the university 
of California, the president of Stanford, the chancellor of the 
state collegesthey all talked and worked with each other. You 
try to get rid of friction. This state, I think, is wonderful. 
The idea of community colleges where people can live at home and 
go to school at the advanced level for the first two years-- 
because as you know, when you go to college, if you have to live 
away from home, this costs a lot of money, and if you can have in 
most communities a school where you can take your first two years 


and not have this expense of boarding outthis worked, 
it still is a very good community college system. 

I assume 

Then you had your state colleges, which were four years; the 
derivative of the old state normal school that were at the turn of 
the century for training teachers, but then became much more like 
universities in that you take many different subjects, so you can 
go to a state college. Practically every big city had a state 
college. San Francisco State, Fresno, Los Angeles, Long Beach, 
San Diego. We have many; and these are fine institutions. Then 
you had the University of California which had the undergraduate 
programs, but also had the graduate programs and the medical 
schools and the law schools and things of this sort. 

Swent: When were you on this council? 

Wiegel: No. I attended some 

Swent: You attended 

Wiegel: Yes, President Kerr was on the council. 

Swent: When were you attending, working with them 

Wiegel: That was in 1965 to 1968, when I was the director of the state 
technical services. 

Swent: And the state master plan for education was 

Wiegel: It was in existence. 

Swent: But it wasn't very old. It had been 

Wiegel: No, they had just started it. 

Swent: That was--I have the date here somewhere. 

Wiegel: It was just before that, because Clark Kerr was one of the 

architects for it. I forgetwas Wallace Sterling the president 
of Stanford? 

Swent: I think so. 

Wiegel: I think it was Sterling. 

Swent: So they were still kind of working through that? 

Wiegel: That's right. 


Swent: An interesting time to be there. 

Wiegel: For me it was very interesting. As I said, I became absolutely 
sold on the way the state of California was doing this. 

Swent: You were taking reports from your task force? 

Wiegel: I had to report to the council on a couple of occasions because it 
was a project for the state of California. The University of 
California had been delegated the responsibility. 

I've always been interested in what makes entrepreneurs and 
things of this sort, and how you get new products. People say, 
"Gosh, all these committee meetings and all of these things are a 
terrible waste of time and a terrible waste of money." Well, it 
certainly takes time, and it certainly takes money, and there's 
undoubtedly time and money wasted, but I don't think there's an 
alternative to it. I don't see how you can have a university 
operate without this. 

University Organization More Like a Symphony Than a Business 

Wiegel: In fact, I used to semi- joke that when chancellors are looking for 
faculty, they always want somebody of independent thoughts, and 
then they go through this big search program, and they choose a 
faculty member and then another, and these have been chosen for 
their independence. Then the chancellors want to get something 
done, and they find out they can't because these people are too 
darned independent . In most companies , you hire people to work as 
teams. In a university, you don't. You don't hire a team of 
professors. You hire this one, this one, and this one. 

Somebody once said that the concept in industry and the 
military where there's a commander, a chief executive, and five 
people report to this person, and each of these have three or four 
report to them and so forth- -he said, "That may be all right, but 
then there's other kinds of organizations like a symphony. Can 
you imagine the conductor conducting, and it's the only the lead 
violinist, the lead horn player, the lead tymbalist watching him, 
and then three or four other people watch each of these? You 
wouldn't have much of a symphony." 

Swent: That's true. 

Wiegel: Only whoever it was expressed it much better. But in some ways 
the university is like that. In some ways, the head of the 


university must be simply like a conductor of a symphony. He's 
got to see, hear these nuances and modifications and reflections 
off the walls every single place you give a symphony. In every 
single building the acoustics are different. It's different with 
people in it; it's different in the summer than in the winter, 
because in the winter people are dressed heavier. I'm not joking; 
this affects the acoustics. Somehow, a university is kind of like 
that, and it's not easy to get it to run. 

Swent: No, it isn't. 

Wiegel: But that's part of governance; that's the way it's done. 
Swent: It's critical for it, isn't it? 

Wiegel: One example of a mechanism to help the universitythere' s a 

university-wide governance, and remember there are the several 
campuses, which I think of as independent dukedoms. You call the 
duke a chancellor, but in some ways it's similar to the days of 
old. But there's university-wide governance, and this is more 

The Engineering Advisory Council Develops a Master Plan, 1965 

Swent: This is sort of like your violin sections. 

Wiegel: Yes, that's right. One of the ways they do it, is the president 
of the university has to get inputs and advice. They get it 
through the university academic senate statewide--! think it's 
called the Academic Council or something. But there also was the 
Engineering Advisory Council set up by Robert Gordon Sproul, and 
continued by Clark Kerr when he became president, and this 
consisted of a number of distinguished engineers throughout the 
state from industry, universities, state colleges, representatives 
of community college. 

Perry Yates--and those are the early dayshe was the senior 
vice president of Bechtel Corporation, and he was the number-two 
person to Mr. Bechtel at that time. Not young Steve, who's now 
retired also, but old Mr. Bechtel. Perry Yates was really the 
number-two person and he chaired the Engineering Advisory Council 
when Kerr was president of the university. Much earlier, George 
C. Tenney was chairman (1949- ); he became president of the 
book publisher McGraw-Hill. They were good friends of Mike 


O'Brien. One of the things that President Kerr asked the Advisory 
Council to do was to consider what should be done in the 
university system for engineering, because remember, these new 
campuses were coming. Until after World War II, for example, to 
get your engineering degree, you had to come to Berkeley the last 
two years. You could do your first two years to UCLA, and I 
believe your first two years for a while at UC Davis after it 
became broader than an agricultural experiment station. At the 
end of World War II, of course, UCLA developed into a four-year 
college and not too many years later, Davis did too. Then other 
campuses were coming on--UC Irvine, San Diego, Santa Cruz, 

So they did a lot of thinking, and they came up with a 
report which was called An Engineering Master Plan Study for the 
University of California. This was September of 1965. I have a 
copy here. 

Swent: This is a beautiful gold-bound book. 

Wiegel: It's a beautiful gold-bound book. It's 177 pages. 

Swent: A big report. 

Wiegel: They had a lot of input from faculty on the different campuses, 

and also what became known as the Lawrence National Laboratories. 
A lot of these recommendations were implemented. 

Swent: Were they? 

Wiegel: Yes. I went back to look at one chapter last night. The one on 
continuing education, which is engineering extension. Much of 
what they recommended has been implemented. Some of the things 
were not, and reading them, I think should be. I think they gave 
very good advice. But that's part of governance in this symphonic 
way of looking at things. Ideas flowing in all directions. 

Swent: One of the questions that I asked someone recently was whether 

this advisory council was still used, and evidently, it isn't used 
at all now. 

Wiegel: It could be. 

Swent: It doesn't even meet once a year. I'm not sure if it even still 
exists. Those are some stellar names on that list. 

Wiegel: Well, I think you have a lot of background in mining. One of the 
members was Phil Bradley, who was "Mr. Mines" in the state of 

California for decades. He was a real hard-bitten outdoors mining 
type. I remember him very well. 

Swent: A great lover of Cal. 

Wiegel: They all were. 

Swent: I think this advisory council doesn't really-- 

Wiegel: Doesn't each campus have one of their own now? 

Swent: I'm not sure about that-- 

Wiegel: I'm not sure, either. 

Swent: --but I did ask recently and was told that they no longer meet. 

Wiegel: This study is a good study. 

Swent: I think that council also served as liaison between the university 
and industry. 

Wiegel: Oh, yes. Ideas were flowing in all directions: industry and 
government agencies and other educational institutions too. 
Another way that it is handled is through internal institutes and 
things of this sort. I give one example because I mentioned it 
before just briefly, "California and the Use of the Ocean," and it 
is an IMR report [The Institute of Marine Resources]. 

Member of The Institute of Marine Resources Executive Committee, 

Swent: What was your role in all of this? 

Wiegel: I will mention it just shortly. It was established in the 
university. It's kind of like the Water Resources Center, 
established really because the state legislature had become 
convinced that the state needed a Marine Resources Institute. 
This is- -fisheries, for example; fisheries are extremely 
important. Not only commercial fisheries, but sport fishing and 
things of this sort. Then the fact that cities along the oceans 
would discharge their wastes, agriculture waste goes into rivers, 
rivers into estuaries. All of these things. So Roger Revelle-- 
people had listened to him and heard him, and people in the state 
legislature decided that the state of California needed an 


institute of this sort that was broad-based, and went ahead and 
established it with a certain amount of funding. 

The idea is : you then get research contracts and things like 
that to do the real in-depth work. There would be enough to fund 
a director and so forth. President Kerr's office established an 
executive committee for it. 

Swent: Were you involved with this? 

Wiegel: Yes. Bill Nierenberg, who was director of Scripps, was a member. 
I was a member representing Berkeley. The dean of engineering at 
UCLA was on it. The chair of it was retired navy Rear Admiral 
Charles Wheelock. Wheelock had been--just before he retired- 
inspector general for the Bureau of Ships of the navy. A very 
fine person. Roger Revelle talked him into coming to Scripps 
after he retired as a rear admiral. Officially, he was acting 
director of this new institute from when it was founded--! think 
1954 to "57--and then director for another five or six years. But 
unofficially, he was filled in as Roger Revelle 's person that 
really ran Scripps administratively. 

Roger was the idea person scientifically, but as Roger said, 
he was not a good administrator. Admiral Wheelock was a superb 
administrator. When I was on the executive committee for the 
institute, Admiral Wheelock was chairman of the executive 
committee for the institute. I got to know him very well. He 
worked on other things in addition to this --he worked a lot with 
Clark Kerr and Harry Wellman in the physical planning for the new 
San Diego campus. How many acres did you need? Where might be 
the best place? What portion of it should be dedicated to 
teaching facilities? What kind of housing for students? These 
things. Then Charles retired from that area, and moved up to 
Carmel, and later on to Aptos. He also worked with Kerr and 
Wellman on the physical planning for the Santa Cruz campus. So he 
added a lot to it, and he was a very, very fine administrator. I 
remember one thing about him: he would ask me, "What time is it, 

I would look and tell him, and finally I said, "Admiral 
Wheelock, why don't you ever wear a wristwatch?" 

He said, "Bob, my whole career in the navy was controlled to 
the second. When I retired, I took my watch off, and have not 
worn one since." [laughter] 

I don't remember how long I was on that, but I remember the 
director of the institute at that time was Benny Schaefer, a 
professor of fisheries. He was one of these very broad-based 


people too. He knew a lot about biology, but he knew a lot about 
economics, he knew a lot about commercial fishermen, who were 
about as hard-hitting and independent group of people as exist in 
this world. He served for two years as science advisor to Morris 
Udall when Udall was Secretary of the Interior, so Benny knew his 
way around. 

He served with Udall for two years just prior to becoming 
director of the Institute of Marine Resources. What we did in the 
executive committee- -we tried to work out what type of work should 
be done on which campus. To match the capabilities of people on 
different campuses, and then how to distribute the few funds that 
were available through the state, but then also to encourage these 
people to get research contracts. So we did a lot of that. Benny 
died and we needed a new director, and maybe because I was the 
person furthest away from Scripps, Vice President Wellman asked me 
to be chair of the search committee for that. 

We made a completenot just national, but international 
search for a director. We ended up with a person who was down 
there: John Isaacs. Isaacs is the only person I have known well 
that I really consider to be a genius. I know an awful lot of 
very smart people, but John Isaacshe died a few years ago he 
would just see how things worked and why. Then he'd look at you 
and wonder why you couldn't see it also. He would see these 
things, and sometimes they were wrong, but very often they were 
right and they were new. Then professors or graduate students 
would work on these things for one, two, three years, and finally 
be able to find, formally, why what he saw was a truism- -why it 
was. He was really quite a remarkable person. He was always very 

Swent: I see that was in 1970 and '71 that you were doing that. 

Wiegel: Schaefer died in July, 1970. That's right. We spent probably 
six, seven months searching for a director. John Isaacs would 
have come aboard probably in 1971 or earlier. The institute is 
still in existence, and still university-wide, but it's governed 
by this way of talking to each other regularly. I was going back 
through some of my records, and it's kind of interesting, but the 
last job that I did outside of my teaching and so forth just 
before I retired--! was asked to be the chair of the five-year 
review of the Institute of Marine Resources. It was kind of 
interesting. Years after I had served on the executive committee 
to go down and have to interview everybody. 

By then there was an assistant director at Davis, one here 
at Berkeley, one at Santa Cruz, one at Riverside, one at UCLA, one 
at Santa Barbara. I found that really interesting. I jumped back 


in, and learned all over again what they were doing. They were 
doing lots of good work. It's a mechanism that had worked. 

Swent: Just to get the dates right: you were on that executive committee 
from 1966 to '72. That was six years. 

Wiegel: That's probably about right. 

Swent: And the search committee was 1970 to '72, and then the review 
committee was in 1987. Almost twenty years later. 

Wiegel: Almost twenty years later. 

Swent: From 1966 to 1987. In that time, it had grown from one location 
to many. 

Wiegel: It was every place. 
Swent: Every place. 

Wiegel: I said, Riverside. Why Riverside? They have a lot of pretty good 
agricultural people and things like that out there, so my guess is 
that may have been the reason. Davis was straightforward because 
that was food- -fish- -how you process food. You notice how fast 
the oils in fish change to where you don't--! remember asking a 
famous fisheries person at Scripps--because I did a lot of 
overseas traveling, and I would be in the Philippines, or New 
Guinea, or in the airport- -about eating things. He said, "Not 
shellfish, but you can eat fish, because if fish has gone bad, you 
can smell it. You won't want to eat it." You don't eat the guts; 
I always remember that. So when I go to these type of places, it 
would be fish and yogurtthose are the two things-- 

Swent: Always safe. 

Wiegel: --that seem to be safe. 

Swent: That must have been very gratifying. 

Wiegel: It was. Remember, I've always had a lot to do with the oceans -- 
we'll find out more about this a little later when we go into 
professional activities and so forthbut this is why I was asked 
to serve on it. Not just coastal, but I was very interested in 
shipping and such off-shore things as waste disposal, water 
quality. All these things tied in, you see, with fisheries. 


Service on Coordinating Boards and Academic Senate Committees 

Wiegel: Another one I was on was the coordinating board for the Water 

Resources Center. That was from 1982 to 1987, when I retired. In 
my last year I served as chair of the search committee for the new 
chair of the Water Resources Center, who reported to the 
university vice president for agriculture. I was also on the Sea 
Grant Coordinating Council. Sea Grant was established by act of 
Congress. They got a lot of research money, but it's not only 
research; they want peoplein a manner somewhat similar to the 
agricultural extension servicethere was a fisheries extension 
service to get out and work with commercial fisherman and people 
like that. This is state by state. Texas has a big program going 
on; Oregon has a fairly good-sized program; Washington on the 
fisheries; California on the fisheries. Fisheries is important. 

Swent: What was your role in that? 

Wiegel: I was on the university's Coordinating Council from 1970-1974; 

this was appointed by Vice President Harry Wellman, and reported 
to him. It was to set up how the university would handle the 
various proposals that were made for funding from Washington under 
the Sea Grant Act, because that was funded by Congress, and then 
it was handled under NOAA- -National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration. Bob White was the administrator of NOAA. That's 
within the Department of Commerce. Part of it was because Bob 
White had been the head of the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the 
weather came under NOAA. The United States Coast and Geodetic 
Survey became a part of it. That's now called--! don't know what 
name they have it nowthey did all the hydrographic surveying. 
Bathymetric surveys for navigation and things of that sort. 

There was a rear admiral who was director of the survey 
Admiral Nygren. Much of the fisheries were and incidentally, at 
one stage, Bob White did ask me a couple of time to see if I would 
become the assistant director of NOAA for the marine laboratories, 
but I talked it over with the family, and we didn't want to move 
to Washington, D.C. It would have been a very interesting job, 
but I didn't really want to move to Washington, D.C., either. 
It's hard to move from Berkeley. I like to go places. I go all 
the time, but not to move. So there were all these things, and 
they all kind of inter- tied together. 

There was the way the research would be done, where teaching 
would be done, and I was kind of a liaison amongst these things 
because for one reason or another, I happened to have been 
appointed to a number of them at that time, which tied into other 


committees I was on in Washington. I think that was part of the 

I think I mentioned another governance activity- -during the 
late 1960s and early 1970s--when all the unrest that we hadboth 
student and a number of faculty- -and some of the faculty were 
trying to get the R.O.T.C. off campus. Incidentally, it is off 
campus at Stanford and Princeton and other places. But the 
regents said, "This is a regential matter, not a faculty matter. 
You will have it." So we have it to this day. It was when Al 
Bowker became chancellor- -he established an advisory committee on 
military education I think I've mentioned this before. 

Swent: Just briefly, but we didn't go into detail. 

Wiegel: So a good deal of it is done through faculty, because all members 
of that advisory are members of the faculty. Originally, we 
reported directly to the chancellor, but because the chancellor 
can really have only so many things reporting directly to the 
chancellor, currently, we report to Carol Christ, who's the vice 
chancellor, but also provost of Letters and Science. I think we 
report to her, not just because she's the vice chancellor, but 
because she's the provost, and then at the same time, report to 
her as the vice chancellor. But I did go into ROTC before, and 
why I think it's important and so forth. 

I didn't mention that as a part of this, a couple of us are 
also members of this advisory group on the Fleet Admiral Nimitz 
Memorial Lectures in National Security Affairs, and I'm still 
active on that. That was funded by donations. The group raised 
almost a half a million dollars, I think, in a few months. The 
money is in escrow, or whatever the university agency is that 
manages accounts. It keeps building up and up. The first lecture 
was given by Samuel Huntington of Harvard University. I mention 
that because Huntington just had a new book published recently 
that I read. I bought it and read it when I was out it Hawaii. 
It's called The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World 
Order. This has been highly recommended by the New York Times . 
The Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine. A variety of people 
have said it's good, and it is. It's very good. He's certainly 
pessimistic, thoughmore so than me. 

Swent: He was the first? 

Wiegel: Yes. After that, we had a former secretary of the navy, John 
Lehman . 

Swent: When was the first lecture? Do you know? 


Wiegel: 1986. It's been a decade. Incidentally, the one coming in April 
is four-star Admiral "Snuffy" Smith, who has just retired as the 
head of naval operations in the Mediterranean; which includes the 
NATO operations in Yugoslavia. We're looking forward to his 
lectures in April. He said he will address the Yugoslavian 

Swent: So are these speakers always 

Wiegel: And another was secretary of the air force, Hans Markhe had been 
professor of nuclear engineering at Berkeley back in the 1950s. 
Then Admiral Bobby Inman, the famous Inman of the national 
security affairs. Another was General John Galvin, who had just 
retied as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (NATO). 

Swent: So these are always military people? 

Wiegel: No. We had a U.S. congressperson. Huntington is a professor. 
We've had two professors of history, Huntington being one. So 
it's a mix. These are public lectures. Open- -everybody invited. 
But in addition, they always give lectures to the ROTC students-- 
the navy, the air force, and the army--to try to get across to 
them ideas and give these people the opportunity in asking 
questions of ones who have really done it. A four-star, or a 
secretary of one of the services, or a congressperson who had been 
the head of a related committee. It's a very good opportunity, 
and of course it's good for the community because people from all 
over can come and listen to these lectures. 

Swent: This is every year? 

Wiegel: Every year. So you see, this is another way of governance. It's, 
again, ideas up and down and back and forth all the time. Deans 
O'Brien and Whinnery and Maslach, all encouraged faculty to 
participate in the academic senate; especially on the committee 
work. I did this throughout my career. 

Swent: You did a lot of it. 

Wiegel: I did a lot of it. As you know, a year after I retired, I was 
asked to be secretary of the Academic Senate, which I accepted. 
But I resigned the position-- 


Wiegel: I had a major operation; I didn't get my energy back, and I became 
completely deaf in one ear, and lost the balance control from one 
inner ear, and also I found the job wasn't all that interesting. 


I had got much more interested in the professional fields again: 

Swent: I was going to ask: is this unusual for an officer of the senate 
to be a retired professor? 

Wiegel: I was chairman of the committee of rules and jurisdictions at one 
time, and thirty years ago I could have answered you about that. 
I knew the by-laws of the regents, I knew the directions that the 
regents had given, I knew the by-laws of the Academic Senate, and 
the answer is: it's someplace in there, yes, you can be. But I 
forget exactly why. 

Swent: I would guess this might be quite an honor to be asked? 

Wiegel: Oh, yes, it was. I was pleased to do it, but as I said, I 

unfortunately had this serious medical problem. It took quite a 
while to recuperate. I think I mentioned earlier two of the 
committees on continuing education- -the one on extension of the 
Berkeley senate, and another one for the university-wide 
extension, which was--I chaired the Berkeley campus committee, and 
then for a few years I chaired the university-wide committee. 
This was the working relationship between the full-time academic 
people on campusesthe Berkeley campus committee was just 
Berkeley, but the university-wide one was for all campuses 
including the medical schools and so forthand how you got 
information flowing and back and forth between people who are 
regular faculty, but were willing and able to give these courses 
in extension, as well as others. 

Sometimes extension courses are given by regular faculty 
members; other times they're not. For example, the ones so 
successful in San Francisco and the Peninsula in computer science- 
-very often these are given by the people down in the Silicon 
Valley that are doing all these things right now. Yet, they're 
willing to take the time to give these courses at night and on 
weekends for other people, to upgrade or update them. It's a 
wonderful activity. That's part of the governance: through these 
academic senate committees. 

Swent: That would fit in with your technology transfer. 

Wiegel: That would fit in with technology transfer, because it is idea 
transfer. Isn't that what education is about? Ideas; not only 
transfer, but questioning ideas. 

Swent: That's right. 


Wiegel: I remember seeing a bumper sticker: "Who are you to tell me to 
question authority?" [laughter] 

Swent : That ' s a good one . 

Wiegel: That's a Berkeley- type of sticker. 

Swent: You were chairman of the university extension... 

Wiegel: It's the Academic Senate Committee. 

Swent: Starting in 1965 and then from 1966 to '72, you were chairman of 
the university-wide committee. 

Wiegel: Yes. That's the one that was very broad, because that's where we 
also worked with the people at UC San Francisco, UCLA, and so 
forth. The medical schools have done a great job, as you know. 
Thank goodness doctors keep up to date. Most people seem to 
realize that this is necessary for doctors, but of course it's 
just as necessary for engineers, and for people in any other 
activity--business--any other professions. 

Swent: Teachers certainly. 

Wiegel: You have got to keep up to date with all this new information. 
This is what is done through these extension activities. The 
university has done a very good job. But in addition, they have 
these wonderful broadening things in the humanities, and the arts, 
and things of this sort. It's all self-supporting. I don't know 
about the medical school; I have to be careful, because I don't 
know. But all the other programs have to be self-supporting. Not 
each individual one, but in the aggregate. You may make a profit 
in this one, and you may lose in this one, but in the aggregate 
they have to be self-supporting. I'd just like to thank all these 
people who are willing to teach these courses because they don't 
make much money. It's almost a public service on the part of the 
people who give them. 

Swent : What a wonderful one . 

Wiegel: A wonderful one. 

Swent: So you clearly enjoyed that very much. 

Wiegel: I thoroughly enjoyed that. 

Swent: You were also on the committee for rules and jurisdiction, and 
that, again, went to the university-wide one. 


Wiegel: Yes. That was a surprise. I was asked to chair the Berkeley 

committee, and I wondered, "An engineer?" I thought it would be a 
professor of law or something. Incidentally, the dean of the law 
school was on the committee. Anyhow, I was asked to do it, and I 
also was parliamentarian of the senate for a while. 

Swent : Yes . 

Wiegel: It wasn't until many years later that I found out the famous book 
used by so many parliamentarians, Robert's Rules of Order, was 
written by an Army Corps of Engineers officer 130 or 140 years 
ago, by the name of Henry Robert. He eventually became chief of 
engineers, retired about 1900, and shortly after he retired, he 
chaired the consulting board that came up with the plans to 
rehabilitate Galveston, Texas. In September of 1900, there had 
been a terrible hurricane that killed about six thousand people 
and destroyed somewhere around thirty-six hundred buildings. They 
always talk about the Galveston seawall; well, it was more than 
thatit was the Galveston grade-raising, seawall, and revetment. 
They recommended that part of Galveston Island, where the 
buildings were, be raised by ten feet or something like that, 
using sand dredged from Galveston Bay. People always talk about 
the seawall; they never seem to know that the seawall was largely 
to protect this raised material that had been placed. He was 
quite perceptive. I'm sorry that General Robert was not asked to 
make plans at a number of other places at the same time, and use 
the same concept. 

So I guess the engineers can work well in rules, 
jurisdiction and parliamentary procedures. One thing is: the 
committee on rules and jurisdiction did not havethat is, the 
Berkeley campus, did not have much power. The statewide one did. 

Swent: You went on to be on that for a long time. 

Wiegel: Yes. But the Berkeley campus committee, by design, did not. This 
was not oversight, but design. But we were asked questions by 
many people. We did our homework well; we did a lot of work. 

Swent: You were on that statewide committee for fifteen years. 

Wiegel: Was it that long? 

Swent: From 1976 to '77, and '78 to '81. 

Wiegel: That's five or six years. I went on sabbatical, I think or 
something, during fall '77- '78. I was chair of the Berkeley 
Committee from 1968-1970, and then 1975 to 1981, except fall of 


1977, and on the university-wide committee during the 1976 

Swent: I'm sorry; five years. 

Wiegel: But because we did our homework-- 

Swent: But before that, you were on the-- 

Wiegel: Yes. --almost all of our recommendations of the Berkeley 
committee were accepted by the people involved. 

Swent: What were some of them? 

Wiegel: I can't remember. Lots of them were pretty sensitive anyhow, but 
I can't remember the details. 

Swent: I wish you could. 

Wiegel: It would be like: who would have voting rights in departments; 
would an adjunct professor be able to vote on this or vote on 
that; what rights do assistant professors have, or do they have 
any when a promotion of someone to full professor is being judged? 
These kind of things. Lots of things like that. Many of them 
would be individual things, but as I said, we did our homework, 
and almost always our advice was accepted. 

Swent: You reported to the senate? 

Wiegel: We reported to the senate, yes. Certain things, if they required 
action by the senate- -maybe somebody said, "We don't think this 
senate rule is right"--then we would write a motion to bring 
before the senate, and then the senate would make a decision if 
they were going to change something. Those are all buried in 
academic senate minutes one place or another. I did learn 
something there very well: you need a good minutes of senate 
meetings because very often the question would be, "What was the 
intent of the senate when they approved this?" 

Here you have a bare-bone one-sentence motion that was 
passed, debated, and all this and that; but then somebody said, 
"What was the intent, because I don't think it applies to this, 
and I don't think it applies that." So we would dig into the 
minutes, and we always wished they had been more thorough. They 
were pretty good, but there often seemed to be something missing 
about the intent. It was what one professor might have said, and 
that kind of swung the vote. 

Swent : Then the next important one was the committee on committees . 


Wiegel: That is the only elected committee of the academic senate, and is 
for two years. I think of Herb Caen, because he died just 
recently, but some years ago he had what he thought was a very 
humorous little tidbit about the fact that the Berkeley senate had 
a committee on committees. He liked that. He said, "Only at Cal 
would they have a committee on committees." Of course, it was the 
committee the entire senate membership elected by secret ballot, 
and the committee on committees is the one that then appointed all 
other committees of the academic senate. This includes the budget 
committee, the graduate council which had graduate affairs, the 
committee on courses of instruction which reviews all courses. So 
courses, faculty, committee on graduation standards. All of these 

That's the gut of governance of the academic part of the 
campus. All of these are appointed by the committee on 
committees, and the chancellor would always ask the committee for 
names of faculty to serve on chancellor's committees, or the five- 
year review committee of departments, or organized research units 
and so forth. I remember most everybody that was elected was 
broad based and well known, because otherwise, they wouldn't have 
got elected. They were for two-year terms. Marion Diamond was a 
member and John Whinnery was a member when I was on it, 1982-1984. 

Swent: That's the key committee. 

Wiegel: We were really conscientious on this, but we also had a lot of 

input from the secretary of the academic senate, who at that time 
was Milton Chernin. He was a retired dean of the School of Social 
Welfare, and he was an extremely knowledgeable person. We had to 
find out not only what people could do, and most of us would know 
this , but they would know the ones that seemed to be willing to 
serve in committees. But sometimes you had to twist arms. We all 
twisted arms of individuals to get them to serve. It's 
unfortunate, but not a great number of people are willing to serve 
on these things, but they're sure willing to complain when 
something goes against what they would like to see done. 

I used to be very blunt: "Put up, or shut up. If you're not 
willing to serve, then don't come complaining if some committee 
makes decisions that you don't agree with." This is how we govern 

The Most Difficult Year; Acting Dean. 1972-1973 

Wiegel: Back then, the new chancellor was Albert Bowker and the dean of 

engineering was George Maslach at that time, and Bowker asked him 
to become one of the two provosts; one was for the College of 
Letters and Sciences, the other was for professional schools. I 
was asked to serve as acting dean, and I did this in 1972 and 
1973, but I still taught my graduate courses. I could drop the 
undergraduate course, but I taught the graduate courses. 

I was supervising five Ph.D. theses. I was principle 
investigator on a couple of research contracts. I was on the 
University Sea Grant Coordinating Council, which I mentioned 
earlier, the Chancellor's Executive Committee on the Earthquake 
Research Center, the Board of Directors of the Faculty Club--in 
fact I was president for one of the yearsand I had just become 
the founding president of the International Engineering Committee 
on Oceanic Resources, which I had been working to get going for 
three years, and which was and is advisory to UNESCO. I was on 
the Governor's California Advisory Commission on Marine and 
Coastal Resources, which is the predecessor to the Coastal 
Commission. I was an ex officio member of the National Research 
Council's Marine Board. I was vice chair of two ASCE units: the 
executive committee of the waterways and harbors division, and the 
coastal engineering research council. Both of which I became 
chair of a little later. 

Swent: Those were terribly busy times. 

Wiegel: I inherited several personnel problems that had to be resolved 
which I did. 

Swent: In the dean's office? 

Wiegel: In the dean's office. These were not told to me in advance. 
The budget cuts had started, so suddenly there was less money 
also. That had nothing to do with the personnel matters; this was 
separate. Fortunately, the college had good staff --and still 
does --including Dave Brown, who was the budget and facilities 
planning officer in the office of the dean. He retired only last 
year. He was very good, and all of the rest of them were. 

Also, the great help of our secretary (later an 

administrative assistant) in the hydraulics groups, Mabel Iwamoto, 
should be recognized. My handouts and other classwork was always 
taken care of to help me in giving my courses. I think I have 
already mentioned someplace the accolades President Kerr has given 


to some university administrative assistants. Dave Brown and 
Mabel Iwamoto are of that caliber. 

Swent: Where was the dean's Office at that time? 

Wiegel: On the third floor of O'Brien Hall. It wasn't set up like it is 
now; a little different. The staff is now bigger, and things of 
that sort. But the department chairs were all very good. One of 
them, incidentallythe chair of electrical engineering, Tom 
Everhart--is currently president of Caltech. That gives you an 
idea of --when I said the chairs were pretty good, they were very 

It was a very hard year. In hindsight, I should not have 
taken it. It was a terrible overload. I was always a team 
player, but, boy! 

I read John Whinnery's oral history again, and John said 
that when he became dean, Fred Terman--who had been dean at 
Stanford, and then provost at Stanfordtold him never to take a 
problem to bed with him, but John said that Fred never told him 
how he could do this. I never had that problem of taking problems 
to bed, but on the other hand, I don't think I got much sleep that 
year, so I don't think there was anything I could do about it. 

Swent: That was 1971, you said? 

Wiegel: It was 1972 to '73, I think. It was in the early 1970s I know. I 
also had good advice from several senior faculty, particularly 
Earl Parker and Harmer Davis; both of whom John Whinnery 
mentioned. But also John Whinnery. So when I had some tricky 
things I would go talk to these three--! knew them all well. 

Swent: You had a young family at that time too? 

Wiegel: Yes. We always liked to ski. I don't think we got to ski much 
that year. I suspect we didn't get up to ski. We like to ski, 
and in the summer we used to go up to Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite 
and camp. I'm sure that we went camping. We've always liked the 

I remember one of the things Harmer Davis told me: "Bob, 
there are some problems that you can solve, and there are other 
problems that you can only cope with." Just last month I read the 
book by Henry Kissinger called Diplomacy, and of course on a very 
much higher level, Dr. Kissinger said he learned that there were 
some problems you could solve, but many you could just cope with. 
What is the term the British use? "Muddling through." You 
couldn't solve them! That's all there is to it. So what do you 


do when you can't solve a problem? It won't go away; you just 
kind of hope it might. But there are things you can't solve. 

Swent: Americans love to try to solve everything. 

Wiegel: I remember reading, years ago, about it was a joint venture, but 
I think it was largely Britishit was in the end of the last 
century. A cable across the Atlantic from some place in the 
British Isles to Canada and then down to the U.S. had been 
installed. Some of the great physicists in the U.K. were working 
on the transmission problem, and of course, you had in the U.S., 
people that were also on it: Thomas Edison on transmission; the 
telephone transmission by Bell. There was a proposal in Britain 
to put a cable from London across the Continent, across the 
Mediterranean, Arabia, then all the way to India. So the foreign 
office in London could be in almost instantaneous contact with the 
representative of the queen in India. Only it wasn't proposed by 
the foreign office; it was proposed by some entrepreneurs who 
thought it was a good thing. 

The story that I read some place was the foreign office 
turned it down. They said that one of the great advantages of the 
present system was: a letter comes from the viceroy, or whatever 
they call the person, in Indiacomes by packet ship to London; we 
read it, discuss it, and send an answer back by packet ship to 
India, and by then the problem's resolved and our bad advice will 
not have to be taken. 

You asked a little bit about departments. When O'Brien was 
dean, there was only one department in engineering; it was the 
department of engineering. O'Brien was dean of the college of 
engineering and chairman of the department of engineering. Then 
there were a number of divisions: mechanical engineering, 
electrical, civil. But in the transition from O'Brien to 
Whinnery, the chancellor established departments. 

This is very important in governance because in the by-laws 
of the regents, the department faculty are the ones that have 
certain responsibilities and certain authority. Kerr wanted to 
have more than one engineering department, a number of them. This 
has been well covered in John Whinnery 's, so I won't go into that. 

Swent: I was wondering how it affected you, though? 
Wiegel: Well, you mean as a faculty member? 
Swent: Yes. 


Wiegel: I don't know, except that one time, O'Brien saidright at the 
end--I had been in mechanical engineering; it wasn't civil 
engineering; I was, and still am, a licensed mechanical engineer 
he decided that if you dealt with water as water, you're going to 
be in civil engineering, if you were in steam--if you boiled it or 
froze it, you stayed in mechanical- -that was air conditioning, 
refrigeration, and steam. That's my only personal experience. 
But the most important experience I had with respect to this was 
when I was acting dean. A report had been made by a committee- 
Don Pederson was chair of the committeebecause there was a 
department of computer science in the College of Letters and 
Science, but in the department of electrical--! guess at that 
time, it was known as electrical and electronics engineering, but 
that was where hardware was being developed for computers. 

A lot of software concepts were developed in the Letters and 
Science department; software was also developed by people in 
different engineering, physics, and chemistry groups developing 
their own programs. All kinds of people were working on it. 
Anyhow, this committee report by Pederson recommended that there 
should not be two places that this is really taught ; that the 
combination of hardware and software affects the architecture of 
the hardware. It would be better if the diverse group of faculty 
talked to each other and worked together. I read the report; it 
made a lot of sense. I discussed it with the department chairman, 
Tim Everhart, and then recommended to the chancellor that this be 
done. Bowker acted on the report and recommendations. The 
department in Letters and Science was disestablished and the 
department in electrical engineering expanded it ' s called 
electrical engineering and computer science: EECS now. There's a 
big building for electrical engineering, Cory Hall, but the new 
one, Soda Hall, is almost all computer stuff. The one across 
Hearst Avenue. Of course, this was the proper thing to do. 

The report was right, the actions taken were right. It has 
been very important. Since then, I believe, MIT, Stanford, and 
others have combined their departments too. 

Swent: Was this a difficult decision to make? 

Wiegel: No, not to make; it might have been to implement. Bowker is a 

very strong person. I didn't know him very well then. Since he 
retired, he went back East, he was head of some big programs. But 
he's now retired. He lives out here in Berkeley, and comes to the 
Faculty Club. There is a group of us that have lunch at least 
once or twice a week together. He's a very strong person. Of 
course, he was professor of statistics. He had a good background 
for understanding these things. His father was with the National 
Bureau of Standards, so Bowker grew up hearing about all these 


kinds of things. I'm sure he had no trouble whatsoever in making 
the decision, and he's a very strong person, so if he thought 
something should be implemented, it was. 

Swent: I'm just thinking, as acting dean, it seemed clear to you, but 
what would have been an alternative? 

Wiegel: Just to have the two separate departments, and in hindsight- - 


Swent: Was there any resistance from the Letters and Sciences to giving 

Wiegel: Yes. I don't know any of the details; I know there was. As I 
said, Bowker was a very strong chancellor. We were lucky; not 
just from that standpoint, but in many ways, we were fortunate 
that we had Bowker as chancellor at that time. I'm sure he just 
said, "This is it." Pederson and his committee, had done a really 
good job; they had done their homework well. They analyzed the 
problem well, and they had come to logical conclusions and 
recommendations . 

I served on many college and department committees also. 
This is all apart of the governance. One of them was the 
interdisciplinary committee on engineering in the ocean 
environment. That was from 1964 until 1996; long after I retired. 
I've always been interested in this subject. This is a part of 
the governance: how do you handle an interdisciplinary program? 
It's very difficult; it's hard to get them to work well. It's 
hard to get them to work together at all. It's a continual 
effort; it still is. 

Swent: How large a committee was it? 

Wiegel: Six to eight people usually; something like that. It being civil, 
naval architecture, mechanical engineering--! still call it 
mining- -mineral technology, because of the petroleum, the 
offshoreoil and that sort of stuff. 

Swent: All senior faculty? 

Wiegel: No; across the board. Assistant professors and full professors. 
It was done by design that way. I just use it as an example 
because it's always been difficult. Now, with the 
disestablishment of the department of naval architecture and 
offshore engineering, and people going into two different 
departments, I'm not really sure as to what will be the long-term 


survival of it. It sounds like more interdisciplinary effort. I 
am worried about it. 

Swent: Which of these things was the most gratifying to you? 

Wiegel: Except for the year of acting dean when I was not getting much 

sleep, I enjoyed all of it, I think. 1 think maybe the Institute 
of Marine Resources, because I would go down to Scripps Institute 
of Oceanography at La Jolla quite often. I've always gone to see 
the people at La Jolla, because I've always done coastal 
oceanography, and I knew many of the people there. The people I 
worked with that were in physical oceanography and in fisheries 
and things like that- -I liked to hear what they were doing. Not 
that I fish; I don't mean that, but trying to have what they call 
sustainable fisheries. You still see that. 

I read an article just over the weekend. It was probably in 
the New York Times, or something like that, on sustainable 
fisheries. It's a terribly serious problem worldwide. I was 
meeting and learning what these people were doing about it; these 
top scientists. But so much of it is economics. The Water 
Resources Center--! may have mentioned it--I was on the Water 
Resources Coordinating Board for years, too, right up until I 
retired. In fact, I did two things my last year: one was chair of 
the five-year review of the Institute of Marine Resources; the 
other was I chaired the search committee for the director of the 
Water Resources Center, which is university-wide. I've always 
liked these things that cut across different disciplines. 

So, I would say the Institute of Marine Resources is a type 
of governance. I would have liked that technology transfer, if we 
had not had so much over-direction from Washington. Not when you 
were working with an advisory board with some of the finest people 
who had ever done that sort of stuff. I think I answered your 

Swent: Is there anything else that we should talk about today? 
Wiegel: I can't think of anything right now. 

More About the State Technical Service Program 
[Interview 5: March 10, 1997 ]## 

Swent: We're beginning our fifth interview here, and at the end of our 
last session, we were talking about the State Technical Service 


Program, and you had a little bit more you wanted to say about 

Wiegel: Yes. I think as I mentioned, my entire set of files, which would 
be probably a full file cabinetcertainly several drawersis not 
here, and not up in our dead storage either, which is up in the 
attic here. I now faintly remember, many years ago, somebody from 
one of the university institutesprobably governmental or 
something like that- -wanted to make use of them for a study they 
were doing for the state. The only thing I can think of --because 
I'm always pleased to help is that I said, "Go right ahead," and 
I've lost track. But since I talked to you last time, which was 
several weeks ago, I believe, I have been able to find a few 
documentsmaybe four or five that give some of the background. 
I was trying to reach for names, and certain specific examples of 
some of the programs, and I've done that. I think it is important 
because they're talking about this again at the federal level, and 
have been for the last four or five years; the state of California 
has a group going and so forth. So much of this has been looked 
at before. One of the people that was very useful was Hyman 

He was with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 
He's an electrical engineer; but also a writer. A very good 
technical writer. He loved it. He was a very good thinker. He 
did quite a bit of the work for us. One of the things he did do, 
and this was under contract this is one of the items I did find, 
and I'm going to turn it over to the Water Resources Center 
Archives after today's interview, so we'll read this. It's 
called, "Information Resources for Promoting Advance Technology 
Development in California." This was back in 1966--thirty years 
ago. This lists all the various technical libraries, whether they 
are with the government, or with private corporations, not only in 
California, but throughout the whole United States. The National 
Bureau of Standards special retrieval systems; the way you 
retrieve information from the patents office; how you get 
information from the small business administration. Then Lockheed 
Aircraft's in-house system; Dow Chemical's in-house system. 

He collected all of this information and made this 
available. I think we could refer to what President Johnson said 
when he signed this bill, because when the bill was signed he was 
a very 

Swent: Which bill was that? 

Wiegel: The State Technical Services Bill. This was in 1965. I think 

they called it the State Technical Services Act of 1965. You see 
every once in a while the same statement: "This may do what for 


American businessmen what the great Agricultural Extension Service 
did for agriculture." The things were so entirely different, 
though. One, you did the research, you did the teaching, you 
brought it to the individual farmers. Here you're trying to do 
something with massive research activities of the Atomic Energy 
Commission and Institutes of Health, and make them available to 
everybody including very large corporations. So there's really no 
comparison; it's rhetoric. 

Swent: I wonder if the Internet will make all of this easier. 

Wiegel: An internet (lower case) was a very critical part of what was done 
thenyou can do it now much faster with the (upper-case) 

Swent: I was thinking that that will, in a sense, supplant this, won't 

Wiegel: The two biggest contracts that we let in the state of California: 
one was jointly with the state of California Librarybut they 
expanded it in-house to include the public libraries in San 
Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Fresno to spread 
throughout the state to make all sorts of the technological 
information available to people. There was a joint contract with 
the Institute of Library Sciences, which was a university-wide 
institute of the University of California, and they worked closely 
with the California library system. Remember this was thirty 
years ago. They were developing how you use computers to access 
technology information, and much of this information was being put 
on tape, at that time, by some of the government agencies in some 
of the private companies. 

The university library research group was working on how you 
could make this available; how can you access this via computer. 
Now, it's almost impossible to access it without the use of the 
computer. So we funded some of the first studies of this. 

Swent: We? 

Wiegel: The State Technical Services within California. I mentioned, I 
think, several of the people that were on the advisory council. 
Bill Gould chaired it, and he was chief engineer for Southern 
California Edison, and later became the chief executive officer of 
Southern California Edison- -or CSE, Inc, as it's now known. Dave 
Packard was on it. Terman, of Stanford, who was the mentor of 
people like Hewlett and Packard; I've heard that he also was the 
one who thought of the Stanford Industrial Park, but I'm not sure. 
Because when Stanford left the farm and all of the money and his 


wife who did so much of it--to Stanford, they entailed the 
property so it couldn't be sold. They were very perceptive. 

So Terman thought about leasing it, and leasing it to these 
companies that became high-tech; which was the start of Silicon 
Valley. So Terman was a member. General Doolittle was a member. 
General Doolittle is known by most people because of leading the 
flying raid on Tokyo. But prior to World War II, he was an 
outstanding engineer, and he worked with Shell Oil Company. I 
remember O'Brien either telling me at some stage, or it might be 
in his oral history--! 'm not surethat General Doolittle was the 
one who conceived of the system for high-performance aircraft. He 
was a well-known pilot; he broke all kinds of speed records and 
things like that back in the 1930s. He knew that you had to have 
high-performance aircraft, but this required high-performance fuel 
that didn't exist, and no company was going to spend the huge sums 
of money to develop high-performance fuel unless there was a 
demand for it. 

The military couldn't develop high-performance aircraft 
unless there was high-performance fuel available. Doolittle was 
the one that thought of this and pushed it through. He was what 
is now known as a systems engineer, and he was on the committee. 
Blackwelder was on it. Blackwelder was the one who developed the 
automatic tomato picker. You don't just pick tomatoes; the type 
of tomatoes that were growing would bruise. So UC Davis people 
jointly, at the same time, developed tomatoes that could be picked 
mechanically. There's another example. 

Swent: Those nice tough-skinned tomatoes that we have today. 

Wiegel: Those are great for making ketchup and making soup. They are no 
good to eat as a tomato. 

Swent: But they don't bruise. 

Wiegel: They don't bruise, and they serve the purpose for soup and 

ketchup, and you get away from having to have stoop labor. This 
is very important; you want to improve the quality of life for 
farm labor. That's extremely important. This is a very important 
function of engineering. It's always to make life easier for 
people doing things. Substitute energy for brute labor; 
substitute better ways of doing things and safer ways of doing 
things. So many of these things are really to improve both the 
standard of life and the quality of life. So they were very good 
people on the council. 

So this library and this access and the use of computers 
were some of the first things we did, because these people were 


doing that. Another thing is to get it out; get the information 
out. It was recognized that television was the way things were 
going. Remember this was thirty years ago. There were lots of 
popular programs; public television had started. The public 
television station in Los Angeles, KCET--Lee Dubridge was chairman 
of the board of it. 

Swent: He was at Caltech? 

Wiegel: Dubridge was also president of Caltech at the time. They had this 
program called "R & D Reviews," "Research and Development 
Reviews." Los Angeles was the center of R & D in those days; no 
question about it. There's an attitude in Los Angeles. It's in 
the Silicon Valley now, but you go back thirty or forty years ago 
after the war because of the aerospace industry, in this country, 
the center was the Los Angeles area. All kinds of people down 
there had new ideas and ways of doing things. 

They developed a series of these programs and we helped to 
fund it substantially. They produced thirty-nine separate 
programs. These were interviews with people that did research and 
development, but you could have good video shots if it was in 
aerospace and things like that because you didn't have to pay for 
how much it would cost to take a tape of a launching or something 
like that. Nineteen other public television stations throughout 
the U.S. took it up, and broadcast them. 

Then they were going to have another program called, 
"Innovations," where they would interview people who innovated. 
That was about the end of it. The State Technical Services was a 
five-year thing and it was not continued by Congress. One of the 
reasons was that it required matching dollars: half by the federal 
government, half by whoever was doing it. Then they said it had 
to be non-profit institutes like universities, and things of that 
sort. This hamstrung it, because that meant that anyone who put a 
proposal in would somehow have to get the other funding from 
someplace else and that's not easy. 

Swent : No . 

Wiegel: The program died at the end of five years. At the end of two 

years, I recommended that the university move out of it, and the 
State of California take it over through some office in 
Sacramento; which they did--I think the Finance Department. 

Swent: It's interesting; you seldom hear of anything dying. 
Wiegel: Many things die. 


Swent: These things get a life of their own so often. 
Wiegel: Yes. 

The Challenge of the Information Age and Data Management 

Swent: I have some questions that might fit in with this just as I've 
been reading about some of these things. I'm referring to your 
History and Heritage of Coastal Engineering, which was published 
by the American Society of Civil Engineers for your conference on 
coastal engineering in 1996. You did a history in the USA which 
is very good, and you mentioned at one time that the Beach Erosion 
Board did a wave measurement program at Huntington Beach, 
California. You just did a little parenthetical note that the 
strip charts and digitized data are no longer available. Then you 
said the Los Angeles District of the Army Corps of Engineersthey 
didn't keep those kinds of data after they collected them? 

Wiegel: This is a very serious problem. We talk about the information 

age; there is so much information generated that nobody knows what 
to do with most of it. Think of the amount of information coming 
back from the space probes: billions and billions and billions of 
bits. It's the storage, and certainly nowadays, we have much 
better storage techniques: compact tapes and discs and things of 
this sort. In those days, that information was on, probably, 
paper tapespunched holes or something. I can't remember. 

Swent: Strip charts. 

Wiegel: You're right, it was strip charts, which meant that somebody had 

to look at it and read data from it, and then put it either on 

another piece of paper, or punch it in. Remember we had punch 

Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: So there's much data lost, and this whole idea of data management 
is one of the main things that the engineering profession, the 
science profession, economists, people in business management, 
medical management must cope with--how to handle all these great 
amounts of data. I remember reading an interview with a top 
combat pilot. I forget which battle he was talking aboutthis 
goes way back, but after World War II, it goes back to when so 
much information was coming in, so it may have been Korea or 


He said that the problem was that so much information came 
to him while going into a combat modehe would just disconnect 
the stuff because he had to have his mind free to concentrate on 
what was happening within the next ten or fifteen seconds. Now 
you get into another type of information and management--! 've 
always been interested in management --as to how does a person make 
decisions under stress? This stress can be combat, which is 
pretty high- stress; you're either right or you're dead. But it's 
also dams and floods. 

You have got a few hours to make a decision as to whether to 
start releasing water from a dam because of possible flooding, or 
if you release it too much, maybe it's going to stop raining and 
you're going to not have enough water next summer for your 
agriculture and your home use. Or it can be a nuclear power plant 
or something. There's all kinds of these things that you have to 
make decisions. There's so much data. 

We talk about the information age: it's not the amount of 
information; it's the how can we manage information? This is what 
we're really struggling with today: how to handle this great 
influx of things. That's a real thing. 

You mentioned wave recorders. I was trying to think of an 
example of this technology transfer, and you triggered it. Here's 
a camera, and what do you do now with the new cameras? You point 
them, you look, and you push a button because an acoustic signal 
has gone out, and reflected off whatever you were pointing that 
portion of the lens system at, and it comes back, makes a 
calculation with a chip in the camera that said this is the 
distance, it then gave this information to a little system running 
off batteries, that adjusted the lens to focus it. That's 
technology transfer. 

People were study ing- -during World War II--bats and how 
bats, when their signals went out, told them where things were. 
This concept was used underwater; underwater acoustics by the 
navy. You can't see underwater very much, but the acoustics are 
marvelous. Acoustic waves will go through the whole ocean. 
Walter Hunk's experiments at Scripps now where they're setting off 
noise in the Antarctic and they pick it up off of Baja California 
and off of Japan and so forth. They're looking at temperatures; 
temperature variations. But underwater acoustics is what you use. 
So the navy did a lot of development. 

The Honeywell CorporationMinneapolis Honeywell it used to 
be known as they did a lot of work on acoustic ranging. But it's 
not just to send the signal out, it's massaging it. You have got 
to look at the time it took to go out, be reflected, and travel 


back, which is very small. Have information stored, what is the 
acoustic velocity in that fluid, at that temperature. So it's not 
easy. You have to have all sorts of information in there 
[interrupted by telephone call]. 

Swent: We just had a brief intermission. An interruption while Mrs. 

Wiegel called to say they had reservations at a hotel in Paris in 

Wiegel: In May, yes. 

Swent: Going over to Paris from London for lunch. That sounds great. 

Wiegel: It ought to be a good lunch. We are going over from London to 
ride on the "tunnel-train." We will stay for a couple of days, 
and then back to the U.K. 

Swent: It should be. That's wonderful. 

Wiegel: Anyhow, Honeywell didn't develop it for cameras; it was a Japanese 
group, and they developed them for use in cameras and we all use 
it now. Honeywell had a big lawsuit against several of the 
Japanese firms, and they got a multi-million dollar judgment; I 
think it was two years ago. But still, it was technology 
transfer. The information is there; it's how do you modify it 
that is useful. This is what Hy Olken had discussed thirty years 
ago; this procedure. Because you need, not only the information, 
but you have to have entrepreneurs that think about that 
information in a different context. 

Wave Sensor; Example of Technology Transfer 

Wiegel: The next stepand this is the wave recorder. One of the 

university staff, Lyn Magel, working with the ship model towing 
tank at Richmond Field Station thought, "Why don't I just take 
this camera and take that piece out of it, and mount it on the 
towing carriage when we ' re moving over water waves , and measure 
the distance down to the surface and then record it." 

As the model ship is being towed down the tank in waves, you 
measure the waves. He thought, "I don't care about the camera, 
but that's an awful nice way of trying to measure waves." You 
don't just do it, because now you have to get it intonot a strip 
recorder, but a digitizer, and then put it on a magnetic disc and 
develop a program to analyze the input so you see how these 
things go. Technology transfer, information retrieval it 's just 


part of it. It's how do you put these together and come up with 
new concepts and new ways to use things. This is what requires 
that Silicon Valley type of concept. 

Swent: Mentality, yes. 

Wiegel: The mentality is: what can I do that's different, and better? 

Swent: I have some notes here that I'll just toss out. In 1960, you 
developed a practical means for calculating the shape and 
kinematics of breakers. Was that a technology transfer kind of 

Wiegel: When was that? 

Swent: In 1960. 

Wiegel: Gee, I don't even remember. 

Swent: You don't remember, okay. Perhaps we'll fill in that later. You 
also gotthis was before then even you developed the first 
quantitative data on the relation of waves. This is a separate 
thing . 

Wiegel: That was again one of those things where--science--you don't 

always do these by plan. This must have been back in the late 

Swent: The dates that I have are 1949 to 1957. 

Wiegel: That may have been when it was published and so forth. We were 
measuring waves up off of Oregon and also waves in northern 
California and central California. I remember talking with John 
Isaacswho was still here; he hadn't gone to Scripps Institution 
of Oceanography yet- -and he said, "We ought to see if we can't see 
these coming to Oregon first, waves coming from the Gulf of 
Alaska. Then let commercial fishermen and others know that 
they're going to be here in California in a day or two." 

So I was looking for correlations between locations. I 
found something else that I wasn't looking for at the start- -very 
good correlations from the statistics of a given record between 
the mean of the wave height and the maximum wave height and things 
like that. 

A British mathematician/ scientist by the name of Michael 
Longuet-Higgins was working on it also, and there was a fellow at 
Wood's Hole, Dr. Seiwell. This was all independent; three people 


doing this work independently. We all came up with about the same 
sort of thing, only Longuet-Higgins came up with the theoretical 
aspect and I just had the data. So that was almost luck. Bob 
Putz here at Berkeley came up with about the same theory at about 
the same time, but then shortly after he and Frank Snodgrass 
advanced the theory and practice substantially. 

Swent: How were you aware of what he was doing? 

Wiegel: Well, the British and the U.S. worked close together on waves. 

This was still an outgrowth of the amphibious type of work and the 
cross-channel landings. 

Swent: How did you communicate with each other? 

Wiegel: By letter originally, but then Michael visited here, and then a 
couple of years later, I was asked by the navy to visit a number 
of groups in the U.K., and also in France and the Netherlands. 

Swent: This was part of that expansion to an international awareness. 

Wiegel: I've always been very internationally oriented, because these 
things are all international. A person here, another person 
someplace else. You become a little community. 

Swent: Evidently, the first foreign people that came here were from the 

Wiegel: The first Fulbright scholar in engineering to come to the U.S.-- 
some Fulbright scholars go from the U.S. to other countrieswas 
from the Netherlands, Egbert Prins, and he came to Berkeley. 
Egbert eventually became the director of the Delft Hydraulic 
Laboratory, which is the biggest hydraulics laboratory in the 
world. The Dutch have always had good engineers. 

Swent: That leads me to another thing that I thought we might at some 

point discuss: in the Netherlands of course it's perfectly clear 
that the control of water and the coastal zone is of national 

Wiegel: We always talk about the Dutch boy with his thumb in the dike. 

Swent: That's right; it keeps the nation alive. In this country, that's 
not so clear. Now, we have most of our population living on 
coasts, but there's still a large portion of the taxpaying public 
that doesn't care whether there's a beach or not. 

Wiegel: I don't think they even think about it. I think they just think 
that beaches are there and they should be there. 


Swent: These billions of dollars that they're spending to nourish beaches 
for private use. Has there been any resentment of this? 

Wiegel: Not billionshundreds of millions. From 1950-1993, the U.S., via 
the Corps, spent $403.2 million, an average of $9.3 million per 
year. A lot of this goes back because of one person; a campaign 
by one person primarily, Orrin Pilkey, a professor of geology at 
Duke University. 

Wiegel: In my opinion, his conclusions, which are widely publicized, are 
based on selected examples that match his opinions, not a 
representative spectrum of beach behaviorat the best, very poor 
science; some of it almost non-science. 

Swent: He's the one who wrote the book, The Corps and the Shore? 

Wiegel: That's the one, but he's written a number of things. I know him 
well. Some of the things Orrin [Pilkey] says I agree with; other 
things I simply disagree with. I've told him many times that some 
of the things he says are just simply incorrect; period. There's 
no scientific basis whatsoever for some of his comments. When he 
was youngit's my understanding; I think he told me thishis 
parents had a home on a beach someplace, and it was destroyed 
during one of those big storms. Whether it was a northeaster or a 
hurricane, I can't remember. So his whole way of looking at 
things has been biased from a very bad personal experience, which 
is understandable. This is what I understand. 

It's fine to have a point of view, but I still think 
scientists should try to separate out correct science from stuff 
that doesn't have a scientific basis. I don't like to get into 
personalities . 

Swent: Personalities affect our positions. 

Wiegel: I realize that. The Dutch are going through a big change too. 

This has to do with how people's perceptions change. In the early 
1950s, there was a severe storm in the North Sea, and we talk 
about a hundred-year event, and a two-hundred-year event, and a 
f ifty-year but most of these aren't based upon any statistics, 
they're just people talking. But the event that hit the 
Netherlands and parts of Belgium, southeastern England was and 
this is based upon hard statistics about a one-in-four-hundred- 
year event. 

There were hundreds of people killed; hundreds. Thousands 
of hectares, or thousands of acres inundated by salt water. 


Towns, villages were destroyed; farm animals killed. The U.S. and 
NATObut mostly the U.S. --with their equipmenthelicopters, 
DUKWs--that's the amphibious vehiclewere great in working with 
the Dutch authorities to rescue people and animals and things like 
that. They then started what is known as their Delta Plan to 
protect the Netherlands from such a terrible event in the future. 
This is what really started their modern coastal engineering, just 
like our amphibious operations started ours in the United States; 
it was this event in the Netherlands. 

Swent: That was when? 

Wiegel: Probably 1953. Professor Thijsse was the professor there and the 
director of the Delft Hydraulics Laboratory, which was a small 
laboratory at that time; it developed into a large one. But also, 
many new young people came out of physics and engineering to work 
in that field because it was a national disaster, and they put in 
a tremendous amount of effort, and they developed what was known 
as the Delta Plan. It had to do with how to protect the lowlands 
with levees, tidal gates; with the Rhine River and the Schelde 
River having to flow into the North Sea. I was over there first 
in 1954, and several times later. More recently, I was there at 
an international meeting; I was still chairman of the Coastal 
Engineering Research Council--! was general chairman of the 23rd 
International Conference in Coastal Engineering in 1990, held in 
Delft. This was much later. 

At that time, 1990, the Dutch gave a series of papers on 
what they had done on the Delta Plan, and we visited the last of 
the big structures which was just being completed on the Schelde. 
By then a whole new generation of people had grown up, asking why 
are you doing this? Why don't we just let things flow? You see, 
no knowledge of hundreds of people being drowned --apparently, the 
average person can't read about this and get any comprehension. 
You have to see a disaster, to live through it, I think, in order 
to have it hit you. The young generation I don't like to say 
thatthis is the so-called "generation theory of history," which 
sometimes works, and sometimes it doesn't. Certainly the 
generational theory of history hasn't worked at all in Yugoslavia; 
they still remember what happened a thousand years ago and are 
still fighting the same wars they fought a thousand years ago. 

So the Dutch people have had a big change. They do all 
kinds of beach nourishment, incidentally. 

Swent: Do they? 

Wiegel: On a percentage basis, they do much more than we do. The Spanish 
do much more than we do; the Portuguese do much more than we do; 


the Germans do much more than we do; the Japanese also 
percentage-wise. I think it's because of the fact that they don't 
have as much coast, and a lot of the Dutch like to go to the 
coast. The main source of income for Spain is the use of the 
coast for tourists and so forth. I can get into this again a 
little later, I think. I'd like to just wrap up the State 
Technical Services to say that the person that was of great help 
beside Hy Olken who did a lot of the technical work was Frances 
Eberhart. She was the executive secretary for the Engineering 
Advisory Council of the university in the president's office. 

Also, Harry Wellman asked her to serve as special assistant 
to me on the state technical services programbecause through her 
other work for many years with the engineering advisory council, 
she knew many of California's major engineers personally, and was 
greatly respected by them. Many of them were either on the 
advisory council or had met with members of the advisory council 
and so forth. I just want to be sure that people who did the work 
then are credited for itthey really did so much. Fran Eberhart 
certainly did this. 

I would like to quote here a statement made by Clark Kerr, 
President Emeritus of the University of California: "A great 
secret of the administration of the University of California is 
that it is not really administered by the dean or the department 
chairman or the chancellors or the president. It is administered 
by an extremely good group of administrative assistants who really 
run the place." He then mentioned Fran Eberhart as a model for 
all of them. 1 

As I said, most of the information is gone, but I do have 
some of it which I've now decidedbecause so much of it is 
connected with library stuff and retrieval--! will turn it over to 
the Water Resources Center Archives so that 

Swent: We haven't really mentioned your archives yet. 

Wiegel: That I think we'll get to at the end. 

Swent: Should we do that later? 

Wiegel: --under mentoring. 

1 This was given at the banquet of The Symposium to Honor Morrough P. 
O'Brien, 23-24 March 1987. ["Mike O'Brien A Master Builder of Berkeley," 
by Clark Kerr, Shore & Beach, vol. 55, nos. 3-4, July-Oct 1987, pp 31-33.] 
Fran and Howard Eberhart were at the banquet at the Faculty Club. 


Swent: Because that's terribly important. 

Wiegel: You can see I've always been interested in information retrieval 
and things of that sort. 

Swent: It's the theme that goes all the way through, doesn't it? 
Wiegel: The other was the use of television for education, I think. 

Introducing Television Instruction through University Extension 

Swent: Yes, and SCUBA [Self -Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus] is 
another thing I thought we might, at some point, mention. Some of 
these technological things that helped a lot. 

Wiegel: The televisionas I mentioned, thirty years ago, people were 

using public television for education- -and at Stanford, just about 
that same time--Joe Pettit was Dean of Engineering at Stanford 
then. Joe is a Cal graduate--! think, 1938 or something like 
thathe was in electronics engineering, and became dean of 
engineering at Stanford, and then later on, president of Georgia 

In the early 1970s, George Maslach, who was dean here at 
Berkeley, asked me to look into the use of television for 
engineering courses. One of the members of the university 
Engineering Advisory Council--! can't remember the person's name 
now- -was pushing this very much; he knew what Stanford was doing. 
Stanford was broadcasting these courses throughout the Peninsula. 
They had an antenna up on Black Mountain, which is to the west of 
the Stanford campus, and they were doing a very good job. So I 
looked into it, and Joe Pettit was very helpful to me. I met with 
him several times about it. Our university had a small television 
office which was mostly to videotape a few things, and to use 
close circuit TV for overflow classesnot engineering, however. 
We had some funds available--! 'm not sure where those funds came 
from- -to establish a little studio and transmitter. We thought it 
might work out. 

I did a lot of work on this and got a lot of information. I 
remember meeting with Bob Connick, who was acting chancellor at 
the time. I spent an hour or two with him on it at his request, 
because the problem that bothered me wasn't one of the technical 
problems; we could do it technically. Jim Gumming did most of the 
technical development. It wasn't getting it started, because 
somebody had given money that we could use to build a studio and 


build a transmitter and so forth. It was how you could fund it 
operationally. Stanford had no trouble; they could simply charge. 
Stanford's a private university; people are used to paying. 
People weren't used to paying the university. But if we did it 
via extension, then maybe we could charge, because the extension 
had to be a hundred percent self-supporting. 

We were talking about televising regular courses; full for- 
credit courses. We had to set up a method that people could 
contact the professor. If you take a course on campus, if you 
have got a question, you just go ask. There's an interaction, and 
you don't have this interaction so much via television; although 
we worked on ways where a person receiving it could push a button, 
a light would go on, and the professor would know that somebody 
wanted to ask a question in a remote classroom. A couple of 
companies were willing to set up remote classrooms to receive it. 
Some already had such a facility because they were receiving 
courses from Stanford. 

We didn't want to compete with Stanfordthis wouldn't be 
fairwe wanted to offer things that Stanford wasn't able to 
offer, but still the local industry wanted. I guess that somehow 
the funding worked its way out, because I did go down there to the 
studio in Mclaughlin Hall just last Friday and there was a list of 
five graduate courses and one undergraduate course being given 
this spring; all in electrical engineering and computer science. 
In fact, almost all were in computer science. It makes use of 
both live broadcasts, but also video recording. That is: 
cassettes will be sent over to a place; they don't have to receive 
it live. I believe it's now done worldwide. I don't know, 
because I've been out of this for a long time. So that's one 
thing I 

Swent: You got in and started. 

Wiegel: --started. As I say, they must have somehow worked out the 
problem for funding because it's still in operation. 

Swent: That was in the 1960s? 

Wiegel: That was the early 1970s; 1972 or 1971 or something like that. 
It's been in for twenty-five years now. 

Swent: At least. 

Wiegel: That was just catching up. 

Swent: Yes. Some wave motion goes on in the interview. 



Publications Resulting from Conferences and Workshops 

Wiegel: What is it we're supposed to be talking about today? 

Swent: We wanted to talk about your work in the wider engineering 

community. It seems to me the publications might come later, 
because weren't they an outgrowth of your committee work, or would 
you rather begin with the publications? 

Wiegel: I think I've already mentioned a couple of publications like the 
book I wrote on oceanographical engineering, and the one I edited 
on earthquake engineering. This ties directly in. I did pull out 
one of the earlier ones here. It's back in the mid-fifties. 

Swent: Let me just read the title; may I? 
Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: Coastal Engineering Instruments. Beautiful cover photo of the Bay 
Bridge, isn't it? "Proceedings of the First Conference on Coastal 
Engineering Instruments, Berkeley, California, October 31 to 
November 2, 1955. Edited by R.L. Wiegel, published by the Council 
on Wave Research, the Engineering Foundation, 1956." 

Wiegel: What the Engineering Foundation was: there was something called 
the Engineers Joint Council. It's still in existence. It's the 
presidents of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and 
American Society of Electrical Engineers, and Mining Engineers and 
others. The big engineering societies. The presidents of these 
meet in New Yorkat least they did, once in a while. They had an 
operational arm which was called the Engineering Foundation. 
They would fund certain things, and they still do; they still fund 
certain conferences. About five or six years ago, they funded a 
conference which I attended, on the possibility of global warming, 


the possibility of sea level rise, what this might mean to 
infrastructure and other things along the coast and things of that 
sort. I had just come back from a trip to France, and the U.K., 
and the Netherlands for the navy, and we also--at the same time I 
was in Grenoble at the fifth conference in coastal engineering, 
which was the first one held outside of the United States. I was 
a mechanical engineer... 

Swent: That was in 1957? 

Wiegel: 1954 was when I was in Europe for the first time after the war. 

Swent: Right. The fifth conference was in '54 in Grenoble. 

Wiegel: That's correct. So I knew many of these people. In fact, I was 
doing all the detailed work because Professor Johnson was on 
sabbatical leave. 

Swent: They had established this Council on Wave Research in 1951, and 
you were the executive engineer. 

Wiegel: I was the executive engineer. I mentioned to O'Brien and Johnson 
that we really needed a specialty conference on instruments: how 
do you measure things, how do you analyze them, how do you store 

Swent: Was this 

Wiegel: It was accepted. 

Swent: Because it was your interest? 

Wiegel: Yes, I was interested. I was designing instruments and working 
with people who designed them and so forth. So it was accepted, 
and I organized it. It was held at the university, at the 
International House, I think. I remember Tommy (M.J.) Tucker and 
also Carruthers from the U.K. came over; the French, the Dutch. 
There weren't a great number of us in those days, but they 
included John Isaacs, Bill Bascom, Frank Snodgrass, and Don 
Pritchard. When I was going through this and looking at some of 
the authorsthere's one of them listed who I would like to 
mention- -Glenn Schurman. He gave a paper on storm wave force 
meter. The reason I mention Glenn Schurman is--I think he did his 
Ph.D. at Caltech, but he was in the research group at La Habra, 
but then he became interested in the operational group; it was 
called Standard Oil Company of California then. Eventually he 
became head of allwhat became known as Chevron later onall of 
Chevron's operations in the North Sea and in the U.K. He became 
the managing director of Chevron U.K. and then was brought back to 


be corporate vice president of engineering and then corporate vice 
president for production worldwide at Chevron, and on the board of 
directors. Glenn gave a paper at this conference. I had 
forgotten all about that until I picked this book up. 

Anyhow, it's not just a publication; it's thinking of what's 
needed and then getting a group of people to get together in 
giving this. We did it, and this publication which the 
Engineering Foundation underwrote the cost of, was used worldwide 
because it was the state of the art. One of the reasons I guess 
that they said to go ahead and do it is that the fifth conference 
on coastal engineering which was in Grenoblebecause Professor 
Johnson was on sabbatical, I was asked to really take care of it. 
I did it, and I was over there several days ahead of time because 
I was in Europe for the navy for other reasons in Britain and 
France and the Netherlands, and in Rome for the IUGG congress 
[International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics]. 

I can still remember the French in Grenoble asking me to 
please phone the U.S. ambassador to France in Paris and ask him to 
come down and give the opening of this conference. How old was I 
then? 1954. So I was thirty-two years old. I wasn't about to 
make a phone call to the embassy-- 

Swent: Really? 

Wiegel: --in France. So I did contact someone back home in the U.S.; in 

those days, trying to make a telephone call was almost impossible. 
It's hard to believe now how difficult it was to make a telephone 
call trans-Atlantic from a place that was not a capital. 
Thorndike Saville, Sr.--you notice the History of Coastal 
Engineering of the U.S. was by Thorndike Saville, Jr., and myself. 
We were graduate students together, but his father was dean of 
engineering at NYU, and it happened that at that time, he was 
president of the Engineers Joint Council. 

So I mentioned this to the French and that was great because 
he was going to be there. So they knew they had, and they 
introduced him as, the premier engineer in the United States. I 
can still remember getting off the hook; you can imagine me 
getting through to the ambassador, but this worked fine. That's 
the sort of thing, you see, with publications. You have got to do 
this , and you have got to think of these things . Nowadays they 
call it networking, don't they? We have always networked; only 
with letters and telephones and things of that sort. 
Incidentally, a telephone call to a leader in a particular field 
is in many ways superior to computer networking- -ask this 
authority what are the best two or three publications on the 
subject of interest. Another way that we get things published is 


to have a little specialty conference or workshop. We actually 
worked in these, with the discussions included in the proceedings. 

I was editor of Shore & Beach for a little over eight years, 
up until last year. When Hurricane Hugo-- 

Swent: Who publishes Shore & Beach? 

Wiegel: Shore & Beach is the journal of the American Shore and Beach 

Preservation Association. When I became editor, I turned it into 
a reviewed journal. It's also archival. "Review" is pretty 
clear-cut what is meant; "archival" is not so clear-cut, but as 
far as I can see, it means it's available in libraries on a 
permanent basis. But that's important. To me, archival means 
it's kind of generally available for people to check out of a 
library. I don't mean that you can find it in your Kensington 
Library (a neighborhood public library) or something, but I mean 
certainly the San Francisco library should have it, or the 
University of Pennsylvania, or Cambridge University. 

So it was archival, but I turned it into a refereed journal. 
I also thought after Hurricane Hugo hit and did so much damage in 
South Carolina, that it would be well to have an issue that was 
focused on that. So the following year, I got some people's 
interest in thisBob Dean at the University of Florida, Margaret 
Davidson who was the--I think she headed up the Office of Sea 
Grant in South Carolina, and Billy Edge who was a consulting 
engineer in Charleston at that timeis now professor of coastal 
engineering at Texas A&M--they organized a workshop in Folly 
Beach, near Charleston, on Hurricane Hugo and we put out a special 
issue. It was much larger than a normal issue because the local 
Sea Grant agreed to underwrite the additional cost. 

So you could get a publication out of a workshop where you 
have something that really should be studied. What happened? 
What did it do? What were people doing to recover? 

Swent: You had the workshop first and the publication followed that? 

Wiegel: The publication followed it. Things like that are very 

successful. I'm not going to talk about regular publications 
where you just send them to the American Geophysical Union, or 
American Society of Civil Engineering. But another type of 
publication that's very important are from the National Research 

Swent: What is the National Research Council? Whose baby is that? 
Wiegel: It's a baby of Abraham Lincoln, I guess. 


Swent: I guess so, isn't it? 

Wiegel: The National Academy of Sciences was established under some sort 
of an act of Congress; I don't remember the background to it. I 
think it was when Abraham Lincoln was president. 

Swent: I think you're right. 
Wiegel: I think so. 

Swent: I'm just trying to get a little clearer what your relationship 
with them would be. 

Wiegel: At some stage, the National Research Council was established which 
was really, you might say, the operational arm of the National 
Academy of Sciences. Then many years later, the something of 
health--! forget what it's calledbut the medical people-- 

Swent: National Institutes of Health? 

Wiegel: I forget what it's called. But then the National Academy of 

Engineering was born. So there's the National Academy of Science, 
the National Academy of Engineering, and I think it's probably the 
Institute of Health. These are honorary things. But the 


Wiegel: I mentioned the Institutes of Healthit wasn't. While you were 
changing the tape I checked; it's called the Institute of 
Medicine. Those are the three honorary organizations. But the 
National Research Council is the operating end; it does research 
evaluations /state of the art assessments very often. One or more 
government agencies will ask for a study or Congress will ask for 
a study, and unfortunately many of these have become very 
politically sensitive, as you well know. 

Swent : Yes . 

Wiegel: Especially at the medical end. One of the subjects that was 

studied of direct importance to the field I've been in--it was 
done in the late 1980s, or early 1990--and it was called Managing 
Coastal Erosion. This was done because FEMA--Federal Emergency 
Management Administration- -which is the one that you read about-- 

Swent: We hear a lot about that. 

Wiegel: --concerned with floods and hurricanes and earthquakes. It was 
established, of course, originally because of how to respond in 


case the U.S. was hit by nuclear action, and you had to have some 
way to set up some form of operations outside the military 
immediately to repair things or get things operational again. But 
it's much broader than that. Thank goodness, it mostly considers 
other things . 

So Managing Coastal Erosion was one, and then a more recent 
one was published about a year ago: it's called Beach Nourishment 
and Protection. These are working groups that are established and 
funded mostly by government agencies and they try to get them 
funded by several government agencies. So you build up a balance 
of stresses there. 

Swent: Did this publication come out of a workshop? 
Wiegel: It's not a workshop; I'll mention what it is. 
Swent: All right. This is a full hardcover book. 

Wiegel: Oh, yes. As somebody said, "By National Academy standards, it's a 
best seller." 

Swent: Is it? 

Wiegel: Yes. They had to reprint it within six months of it being 
published; they were sold out because of worldwide demand. 

Swent: It was published by the National Academy Press in Washington, D.C. 
in 1995; sponsored by the Committee on Beach Nourishment and 
Protection, Marine Board Commission on Engineering, and Technical 
Systems of the National Research Council in 1995. 

Wiegel: It barely made it. It was really December of 1995. 

Swent: Really? So this was the outgrowth of theyou tell what it was. 

Wiegel: In a way. I've been on a number of these National Research 

Council committees. When I was younger, I chaired several of 
them; one of them being on the safety of off-shore oil structures, 
("Verification Guidelines for Offshore Structures") for example. 
That was a politically hot issue. 

Swent: I'm sure it was. We'll talk about that in a minute. 

Wiegel: The one on beach nourishment was over about two and a half years, 
and we metthe members --Orrin Pilkey was one of themBob Dean. 
The way the members are chosen, we- -when I say "we," that's the 
editorial "we" the National Academy realized that you had to have 
people that were biased because almost everybody that was a 


technical expert of something is going to be biased some way or 
another, and you wanted technical experts. So what you wanted to 
do was: at the start, what are the biases, and then how can we 
have a balance of biases? That's the point. 

Swent: Representation of all the biases. 

Wiegel: We represented the biases because otherwise you're not going to 

get experts. You'll get people that don't know anything about the 
subject, and that isn't what the academies are about. So we'd 
have in-depth meetings. We'd first just--this is the way it's 
operated- -you get together and you discuss what you might do-- 
before, this is done within the academy, it worked out things that 
should be done- -you'd done a lot of homework before and this is 
back and forth and so forth. You got kind of a statement of what 
your overall mission was. When you first meet, you now say, 
"What do we need to address this mission? What kind of technical 
things do we do?" 

Different people will be assigned tasks at the next meeting 
will you please report on this, and you report on this, and you 
report on this and you get together again. Then, in this case of 
beach nourishment, it's quite evident we should go out and see 
some of things because the scope had been expanded. I should say 
I take a lot of credit for this because I had written to the 
chairman of the Marine Board of the National Research Council- - 
which I had served on years agostating that I thought they 
needed a technical assessment of beach nourishment. I had read so 
many articles in the papers like the New York Times, and I know 
some of these people: Corey Dean, of the New York Times, who is 
one of its science editors. I said there's so much 
misinformation, what's needed is really a technical assessment. 

Sponsoring Technical Assessment to Correct Public Misinformation/ 

Swent: I think you mentioned in this history article the problem with 

monitoring; that they love to get things going but then they don't 
pay attention to them after they're started. 

Wiegel: Monitoring-- 
Swent: That's different. 

Wiegel: Here I'd like to make a very serious statement, because I've done 
a lot of thinking about this, and I've had a lot of experience. 


This is my opinion: politicians do not want to know about 
something once they've made a decision, because the findings might 
well show they made the wrong decision. This an opinion I've 
formed. Once they've decided we're going to spend this money on 
this--I don't care what the subject is--I don't think they want to 
find out if it didn't work. This is one of the reasons why it's 
difficult to get money to monitor things. We can do the technical 
monitoring; we can get some money. But it costs a lot to maintain 
detailed files of this and that. If you're talking about what was 
the economic impact, what was the social impactthese are the 
things they don't really want to find out about. That's my 
personal opinion, and I think I'm right. 

About four or five years ago, I was at a meeting at the 
National Academy of Engineering that was held at the Beckman 
Center in Irvine. That's not UC Irvine, this is apart- -Arnold 
Beckman of Beckman Instruments gave a lot of money to the National 
Academies of Science and Engineering because he said, 
"Everything's in Washington, D.C. You have got to get away from 
Washington, D.C." So he said, "I'll put two, three, four million 
--whatever it is--to build a new center for meetings." The Irvine 
Corporation said, "We'll give you the property free and it will be 
immediately adjacent to UC Irvine, which seems to be a nice 
reasonable place to have it; next to a university and of course 
there's an airport nearby." 

There was a meeting there, and it was chaired by the 
president of the academy of engineers, Bob White, and it was on 
the environment. Who was the Canadian who was deputy secretary 
for the U.N. for environment? 

Swent: I don't know. 

Wiegel: I think his name is Maurice Strong. This was the top person. He 
was head of the Stockholm meeting and head of the Rio [de Janeiro] 
meeting, and then the top people from some different companies- 
Japan was there and so forth. This was an academy event- -other 
people were invited, but largely they were members. The president 
of Caltech, Tom Everhart, was there; I knew him well and we were 
sitting together. Anyhow, I got up and I said, "I'd like to ask a 
question. All these environmental issuesbecause my experience 
in my own field is that we never seem to be able to get money and 
do a good study and monitor and find out what has been the real 
effect of something. Is this general or is that just specific in 
my area?" 

The response wasand this was a considered response this 
is a general problem. They don't get the money to really do 


adequate monitoring. This is one of the reasons I feel the way I 
do. So that's the digression. You asked about monitoring. 

Swent: You were talking about assessment t and they're certainly closely 

Wiegel: I had written to the chairman, and he asked me to make a 

presentation at the next meeting of the Marine Board, which I did. 
That meeting was in Monterey. It was accepted and modified, but 
it ended up that it was more than just technical. When I say 
"technical": engineering and science is what I meant. They wanted 
legal considerations, they wanted economic considerations, and 
then political management considerations. So on the committee 
that was established, there were several people who were very 
knowledgeable in their own field but didn't know anything at all 
about the coast; or almost nothing. So we decided we needed 
several field trips. They were interesting people, and I learned 
a lot from themwe all did, from each other. 

We had to get out; we had to see some of these things. We 
had to see areas that were degraded; we had to see areas where 
nourishment had been done; we had to talk to people locally. One 
site, for example, Ocean Beach, Maryland, which is shown on 
television every time there's a northeaster there. In Florida and 
southern California. We had to get additional funding because 
this all costs money to go out on field trips for large numbers of 
people. These things are hammered back and forth. Orrin Pilkey 
was on the committee, and I spent quite a bit of time with Orrin. 
I said I want to be sure that the worries that you have are all 
addressed. He said, "Yes," and he came up with a number of 
things, and this is a unanimous report. 

And yet in that book of his that you just mentioned, he 
says, "Of course, you all know that when you're on the committee 
you sometimes go along with them and you don't really mean it." 
This is about the only personality I will get into, but to me it's 
a strange attitude for a scientist. If there's a scientific 
thing, you hammer it out, and you don't agree if you don't agree. 
You say, "I disagree. This is why I disagree." This I think is 
an example. These are the ways publications get out too, and 
these are very useful publications. And will be used worldwide; 
we know that, from the number of sales that have been made all 
over the world of that publication. 

Swent: Was there a publication on Managing Coastal Erosion? 

Wiegel: It was another hardcover. 

Swent: There we are, yes, okay. You had mentioned that you had that. 


Wiegel: That's a 

Swent: That was National Research Council. 

Wiegel: Yes. It was a little earlier. 

Swent: 1990, Committee on Coastal Erosion Zone Management, Water Science 
and Technology Board, Marine Board, Commission on Engineering and 
Technical Systems, and the National Research Council were all the 
groups that sponsored that. It was put out by the National 
Academy Press, Washington, B.C., 1990. This, again, was the 
result of a conference, or series of conferences? 

Wiegel: Series. 
Swent: I see. 

Wiegel: This is kind of sad, because the chairman of this was Bill Wood, a 
professor at Purdue, and he died of a heart attack relatively 
young just last month. I received a phone call from friends of 
mine back there telling me about it. He was an up-and-coming 
young person. Interesting, too, because on the side at Purdue 
Universitynot only a very good scientist, but he started and was 
coach of the women's water soccer team. He had been a nine-time 
Ail-American swimmer at Michigan State University. I found this 
quite interesting. This was about as broad a stretch from- -but he 
was always a community active type of person. 

Swent: Was there a publication as the result of --there's a first 

international conference on waste disposal in 1959. That was an 
important one, was it? 

Wiegel: That was very important. I gave one of the papers on that. That 

Swent: "Mixing of Buoyant Flows?" 

Wiegel: No; this one was on measuring ocean currents. Erman Pearson was a 
professor at Berkeley. He was a professor of sanitary engineering 
here at Cal. He went to the University of Washington as an 
undergraduate. He was a football playertackle, I believe, and 
he was all-conference tackle. He was a big man, I'll tell you. 
He was very, very bright, and he was one of the real leaders in 
water quality. Berkeley has been lucky. McGauhey was the one 
that hired him, and McGauhey was chairman of civil engineering 
when I came on the faculty here. 

McGauhey was chairman of civil at that time. Pearson was 
doing quite a bit of work on water quality in the ocean; 


estuaries. When I say the ocean, not deep sea, but immediately 
adjacent to the coast. He had all these international contacts 
too, so that was an international meeting; it was held at 
Berkeley. For years it was about the only book on the subject. 

Swent : What was the book? 

Wiegel: It was probably just called the proceedings of the conference. 
[Waste Disposal in the Marine Environment. Edited by E.A. 
Pearson, Pergamon Press, 1960, 369pp.] 

Swent: The proceedings of the conference. Was this when you first got 
interested in this mixing? 

Wiegel: No, I was invited to give it because Pearson knew I was interested 
in mixing. 

Swent: --because you already were. 

Wiegel: It was the other way. That's another digression. It was at that 
meeting that one of the papers given by a British specialist--! 
forget and I can't pronounce the word, but it's where you look at 
how epidemics occur. 

Swent: Epidemiology? 

Wiegel: Epidemiology, and the study of these things, which is very, very 
tricky. He was from Britain, the U.K., and they were tracking 
downit was something like a fever, and I forget--it wasn't 
scarlet fever, but it was a very serious one. They all knew it 
was because it was--say at Brighton; I forget where, but one of 
the big seaside resortsand they all knew that it was from the 
sewage being dumped into the ocean and people swimming in it until 
they started to really try to track it down. It turned out, no, 
it wasn't. Typhoid. I remember, Typhoid Mary was what they said. 
This turned out to be a Typhoid Mary a person who was selling ice 
cream cones at the beach. 

Swent: Oh, my. 

Wiegel: This shows you one of the difficulties that those people have 

trying to sort things out. Everybody "knew" what it was, only it 
turned out not to be that. Then they got to finding out there 
were other big studies done, one in Rio de Janeirobecause it had 
a big sewer outfall, big population. I don't want to downgrade 
the disposal of sewage in the ocean, because there's other types 
of thingstoxics and they get into fish and so forth; but 
getting a disease directly by swallowing salt water with bacteria 
or something in it, is practically zero. 


Two reasons: one, the type of enteric diseases, salt water 
kills them, they don't live very long in salt water, that type of 
bacteria- -which is very fortunate; the second is, people don't 
swallow salt water very often. A kid swimming in a lake or a 
river will ingest fresh water. That's a real serious problem. 
But you only take about one swallow of salt water in your lifetime 
if you can help it. So it's not that big a problem. 

Politically, of course, all politicians like it; that's 
another thing I learned. I hate to say this, but they don't seem 
to be interested in what you find as scientists or engineers. All 
they want to do is--the next election say, "Look, I appropriated X 
dollars for it to be studied." Maybe it's just me that feels that 
way, but I have kind of a bad opinion of their real interest. 
Their real interest is getting re-elected. 

Swent: Getting elected, yes. 

Wiegel: I think I mentioned to you--once, on a commission I was on-- 

Senator Ralph C. Dills, I believe it was, telling mebecause I 
was worried about getting things fixed up, and he said, "Bob, a 
person never gets reelected by dedicating a filled pot hole. A 
new bridge, a new this or a new that, but not a filled pot hole." 
So this problem of maintenance is always difficult, and engineers 
are faced with maintenance all the time. Right now the classic 
one is either to replace or repair the Oakland section of the Bay 
Bridge. But, this will get a lot of attention. 

Swent: They seem to be making the decision on the basis of interviews 
with the man in the street . 

Wiegel: Well, I still have to go back to Sir Winston Churchill: "Democracy 
is a terrible system, except compared with all others." Interview 
the man in the street; many of them. That's the important thing- 
is to get a big sample. 

Swent: If you get enough of them, maybe you "11-- 

Wiegel: It's like our committees on the National Research Council; you 
want a variety of conflicts. If you get a big enough sample, 
you're going to get a variety of opinions. 

Swent: Then you'll get some good ideas. 

Some International Conferences on Coastal Engineer ing /Councils 

Wiegel: I think that's a sample there of--I should mention the names of 
the people who worked on the fifth conference of coastal 
engineering because it's nice to see the people that who did the 
work get credit. 

Swent: Oh, yes. 

Wiegel: Pierre Danel, who was the French engineer and the head of the 

research laboratory for the NEYRPIC--N-E-Y-R-P-I-C--which was the 
biggest turbine manufacturer in Europe. He was a genius; he 
really was. He made all of the engineers and scientists read, 
read, read. I forget whether they had to read an article a week 
and sign that they had read it--but also, in his information 
retrieval system, he asked each person what other title, or what 
other subjects should it be catalogued under. They had to write 
it in, and then he'd have them put a hand-written card in the file 
system; so the more it was used, the easier it was to retrieve it 
from different ways. 

Some person reading the article might say, "This footnote in 
here is very important," or, "The fact that they used this type of 
instrument is very important and one subject should be the name of 
an instrument that was used." So every time anybody used it, you 
increased the ability to get back to it from some other way of 
looking at what the subject was. I don't know anyone else that 
does that. 

Swent: Good idea. 

Wiegel: The other was Professor Kravchenko, who was a professor of 
mathematics at the University of Grenoble. We've had close 
contactswell, Pierre Danel died many years agobut even today, 
Professor Weyhausen here had very close contacts with Professor 
Kravchenko, until Kravchenko died recently; that's lasted now 
sinceforty years. So these things are valuable. 

I would like to mention one other thing, because I think 
it's really important: as I said, I've always been interested in 
international things, and when I was chairman of the Coastal 
Engineering Research Council, I had a lot to do with having the 
international conference in coastal engineering set up in Spain, 
and then a few years later one in Italy, in Venice. 

Swent: Let's get the dates on those. 


Wiegel: The one in Venice would have been 1992. The one in Spain was 
probably 1988. 

Swent: It was. That was the twenty- first in Malaga, Costa del Sol. 

Wiegel: A couple of years later, Doctor Palao, who was the head of the 

local organizing committee, and was also director general for all 
ports and coastal development in Spainhe was on a high level. 
He was an engineer, but a high level official. He said that 
holding that meeting in Spain was extremely important, because for 
the first time, the high level government --i.e. , his minister of 
public workssaid, "I didn't realize that the Spanish engineers 
were this good internationally." So he said it was very 

Something somewhat similar was told me about two years later 
after the one in Venice, by Professor Ugo Tomasicchio, that this 
had done a tremendous good for Italy- -the Italian engineers and 
scientiststo have the international conference there. So these 
things can be very valuable. 

Swent: You had them in wonderful places. 

Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: Cape Town... 

Wiegel: Cape Town. 

Swent: Taipei. 

Wiegel: The last one was in Orlando, but the one before was in Kobe 

Swent: Kobe. 

Wiegel: --and we were there in early November 1994, and in January two 
months later was when the earthquake hit, and the hotel we were 
all staying at and that's interesting coastal engineering- -I'd 
been out in Japan thirty- five years ago as a member of the 
U.S. /Japanese science exchange program. I was out twice, two 
years in a row. There were only five people from each country: 
one was on coastal; the next was on tsunamis. For the one on 
coastal, we looked at all the various ports that were being 
developed, and one of them was Kobe. They were bringing all this 
soil and rock down from the mountains there, and filling a part of 
the bay. 

This is a huge bay; it's much bigger than San Francisco Bay. 
It's not a closed bay; it's more of an open bay. So you have the 


mountains coming downand Japan doesn't have much room; they have 
got all kinds of mountains, but they don't have much usable space. 
So the whole port area was built on fill, and it was obviously 
unconsolidated fill. The same thing happened here in the San 
Francisco area during the Loma Prieta earthquake, only it was much 
worse in Kobe. 

Wiegel: In 1989--that, because of liquefaction, there was a couple of 

reasons, one of which was part of the port of Oakland liquefied 
and settled. That's what caused such great damage to the port of 
Kobe. The hotel we were at and the convention center was on a 
man-made island connected by a causeway and bridge, just off 
shore. That all settled--! didn't go out after, but friends of 
mine who went out after said the hotel was there; it was on a 
whole series of very deep piles, and all the land around it had 
settled about a meter--i.e. , about three feet. So here was the 
hotel, and you could see the piles underneath, reinforced-- 
concrete piles, of course. 

Swent: So the hotel survived all right? 

Wiegel: The hotel survived. 

Swent: That's a tribute to the engineers, isn't it? 

Wiegel: But it also was another example that you have to do a lot to the 
fill on these things. The amount of engineering has got to be 

There's another thing that should fit in there, and that's 
commissions, associations, council, and boards. This is opposed 
to committees as such. The most long-lasting for me--and this 
ties in with some of the other questions that you asked earlier, 
and I'll get to it nowwas what was originally called the Council 
on Wave Research formed about 1950 under the Engineering 

Swent: Everything came out of that Long Beach conference. 

Wiegel: That came out of the Long Beach conference; O'Brien and Johnson 
thought of that. They organized it, and each paper was by 
invitation; each was by invitation. After that, one of the people 
who was a senior engineer in New York and a professor at Columbia 
University (Boris A. Bakhmeteff) said, "You really need to have a 
council to study waves and what they do." It was established at 
that time, and Dean O'Brien was chairman of it, Joe Johnson was 
secretary, and they asked me to be the executive engineer. 


Later on- -because, you see, the Engineering Foundation will 
only have a council for five years or ten years , but then it ' s 
either disbanded or will have to find a home someplace else--and 
the American Society of Civil Engineers said, "We think this has 
got to stay in existence, but we think it should be broader." It 
was transformed into the Coastal Engineering Research Council; and 
at that time, O'Brien was chairman of it, Joe Johnson was 
secretary, and I was vice chairman. I was active in it, and I 
think it was 1978; it was in Hamburg, Germany that they asked me 
to become chairman of it, and I was chairman of it until 1992 when 
I knew that I didn't have the energy I had before. I didn't know 
what was wrong with me then, but I knew I didn't have the energy. 
So I chaired it from 1978 to 1992. 

Swent: A long time, fourteen years. 

Wiegel: It's quite a long time. 

Swent: You retired at the meeting in Venice? 

Wiegel: That's when I turned it over-- 

Swent: That was the last one that you chaired? 

Wiegel: Yes, and Bob Dean became the new chair of it. 

Swent: The meeting in Hamburg was when you-- 

Wiegel: That's when I-- 

Swent: --began. 

Wiegel: It's still going. It has grown. You saw--the proceedings of the 
first conference of coastal engineering would have been the same 
size as this one on coastal engineering instruments- -say three 
hundred pages or so. The last one which was just held will be 
four volumes, but the last one published until now is Coastal 
Engineering, 1994--this is the one that was held in Kobe, Japan. 
It's in three thick volumes; it's over 3,500 pages of proceedings. 

Swent : Oh , my . 

Wiegel: This is what has happened: it is expanded, it is worldwide. One 

of the reasons is that there's an awful lot of money in the world. 
There's a lot of poor distribution of wealth, but there's a 
tremendous amount of wealth. There's just all kinds of people 
that have enough money and enough leisure time that they can go 
places. Beaches are one of the places they like to go; certainly 


if they have children they like to go to the beach. Kids love to 
build sand castles. 

I have to tell you a story: I was in Egypt, and I was 
invited with a couple of other people for the United Nations 
Development Agency. It's about the Nile Delta and some of the 
problems they're having there. So we were there meeting, and we 
met with the governor of Suez, the governor of Alexandria- -the 
four governors along the Mediterranean coast at one time or 
another. I was in this new area whichjust as in Spain, just as 
in the south coast of Turkey, just as in Miami Beach--to the west 
of Alexandria- -which was all desert and that leads into Libya- 
condominiums going up; fine beaches. 

So we're down looking at them, and I see these three 
Egyptian kids building a sand stepped pyramid. I took a 
photograph of them because kids the world over--. You get this 
nice, wet sand, and you build something out of it; and of course, 
being Egyptians, I guess, they're building a pyramid, not a sand 
castle. [laughter] I thought that was wonderful. 

Swent: [laughter] It is. 

Wiegel: But the thing is that people like to be on the coast. There's 

some very apparently deep psychological reason for it. People are 
looking into this. It's a worldwide thing. A few years ago, I 
was over in Thailand. I flew into Bangkok--! 'd been there several 
times before, but I wanted to go see these new developments on 
Phuket Island, which is on the southwest peninsula side of 
Thailand. It's on the Andaman Sea. They have some of these new 
hotel resorts which are the same type as the luxury ones out on 
the Hawaiian Islandsones that cost three, four hundred million 
dollars. A lot of Italian tourists go there, and big charter 
flights come in from Hong Kong loaded with tourists; another one 
from Tokyo loaded with tourists. 

People like to go to the coast; they like beaches. From an 
economic standpoint, this is very important because you can only 
sell so much manufactured goods. How many pair of shoes can you 
have? How many jackets can you have? There are some distribution 
problems; we all know that. But in the developed countries, 
there's other ways you have got to develop jobs. People have to 
use what surplus money they have for other things . Tourism is one 
of the great ones. I think you just went, or are just about to go 
on a trip some place, I think you said. I know my wife and I are. 
We just got back from Hawaii, and we'll be going to the UK. 
People do this. Beaches are one of the great places people like 
to go. 


I did a study of Miami Beach- -on the beach nourishment 
thereand it was published a couple of years ago. One of the 
bits of information I got was the number of beach uses--i.e., 
numbers of people that went to the beach for a day in Miami Beach 
since it had been renourished compared with before; it was 
substantial. The increase in tourism income- -the number of 
tourists who go to Florida and spend some of their time on the 
beach--a lot of them go to Disney Worldbut a lot of them go to 
Disney World and then to a beach. Or in winter, many, many of 
them simply go to Florida from Europe, simply for the weather, and 
stay on the beach. 

Europe--f irst it was Spain, and then it was Italyand I 
know much of both of the coasts and then Turkey--! 've been there 
a couple of times, because the south coast of Turkey is 
developing. It's not just tourists from Germany, but it's from 
Europe in general going to the south coast of Turkey. The Arabs 
moneyuses a lot of this area in Egypt that I have just mentioned 
to you west of Alexandria. So all kinds of money from the Saudis 
and not Lebanon, because Lebanon doesn't have much surplus, and 
they have a marvelous climate in Lebanon anyway. So these are 

Mombasa: this is down on the east central coast of Africa, 
in Kenya big new resort areas on the beaches in Mombasa. Charter 
flights from Frankfurt; charter flights from London and so forth. 
So it's a worldwide development. South America of course- 
Argentina and that area- -they make use of their beaches very 
extensively. Rio de Janeiro--! think everybody's aware of the 
fact like the Brazilians like their beaches. Australia, Japan, 
Mexico. Maybe this answers it in part; the other part is sailing, 
marinas, and surfing. Now, this gets you into conflict. 

Sitting on the beach little kids want to go in the surf or 
build sand castles, older ones want to surfboard, other people 
want to fish. You build cities; they have got waste disposal. If 
people want to drive to the beach, where are they going to park? 
All of these things build conflicts. So more and more, what we as 
engineers are working with, are the political people as to how do 
you try to resolve these conflicts. We put in our technical 
portion. That's what we're good at. Resolving the political 
things--! 'm not sure they can always be resolved. 

Swent: Maybe not. 

Wiegel: Orville T. Magoon- -you've met Orville and Billy Edge have 

organized a series of conferences that have been very helpful 
though. Coastal zone management, and the ASCE published the 


proceedings. Engineers are involved in this worldwide now, and 
our students find it interesting and challenging. 

I remember when I was acting dean, one of the bits of advice 
I got from Banner Davis was the two classes of problem--! think I 
mentioned this: some you could solve, others you simple cope with. 
I'm afraid some of these are the type you cope with. When you 
have great numbers of people and they all want to go to about the 
same place- -whether it be Yosemite, or whether it be Santa Monica 
Bay- -you 're a democracy, you say "yes," but then you say, "Gosh, 
you're damaging what you want to go see." This is what we're 
trying to work out today, isn't it? Lots of people are working on 
that and it's worldwide; it's a worldwide problem. 

I think I know about every mile of the Normandy, Brittany, 
Atlantic, and Mediterranean coast of France because I've been 
there a number of times the French love to sail, and they've got 
new little towns, little developing places that never were 
developed beforewith marinas. This is what they like to do. 
This is one way of trying to absorb one of the problems in 
France, as you know, is the big unemployment- -same in Germany. 
You have got to develop new types of jobs, and these aren't in 
manufacturing and so forth; it's in these various service types of 
things . 

So the Coastal Engineer Research Council we serve a very 
good purpose. We had no intention of being an international 
council; and it is a council of the American Society of Civil 
Engineers. We appointed ASCE members in other countries to the 
Council- -from Japan, The Netherlands, Australia. It's just there 
was nothing else around, so everybody started to come to our 
meetings, and it was successful. Well, if something's successful, 
you continue it. It's still going. As I say, the next one will 
be in Denmark next year. 

Swent : You had one in Denmark long ago. 
Wiegel: Yes. We're starting to repeat. 
Swent: You're repeating now. 

Wiegel: In the year 2000, it will be in Sydney, Australia, which will be a 
repeat, and in the year 2002, it will be in south Wales. It was 
kind of interesting, because the representative of the Institution 
of Civil Engineers (London) said when he was making a 
presentation "You've accepted the next in the year 2000 in 
Sydney in New South Wales" he said, "Let's have the year 2002 in 
Old South Wales." Of course, that wasn't why it was accepted; 


they had made a very good presentation, and the Institution of 
Civil Engineers is going to host it. 

Swent: The conference was in Denmark in 197A. 

Wiegel: Yes, and in next year, 1998, it will be in Copenhagen again. 

Swent: What about Cape Town? You haven't mentioned Cape Town. You were 
there in 1982. 

Wiegel: I had all kinds of political problems with that one. It was going 
to be in Venezuela, and I got a phone call that they couldn't get 
it together because it required some money and this and that, and 
at the last minute they couldn't get it together. I was on my way 
to Australia for the conference there. I had to make the 
announcement that the next one, which had been accepted for 
Venezuela, couldn't be held. The representative from South Africa 
said, "We can host it." But then we had problems. 

I had to contact state department and all kinds of things. 
This was all within a couple of days. So the South Africans got 
an agreement from their government that anyone who is accepted by 
an external review to give a paper would receive a visa--I mean, 
unless they were criminalsyou know what I mean. That was one of 
the things we insisted on: anyone who had a paper acceptedand 
this was by an external review, no South Africans. That was 
agreed to, and we had it in writing. 

That was when there was so much pressure with respect to 
South Africa. But our opinion was that we were engineers and 
scientists and we all work together; we work closely with people. 
It's not the engineers and scientists that cause these problems; 
these are university people. So we decided to go ahead, and I got 
in trouble with a number of people. But in hindsight, they said 
it was the appropriate thing to do. 

Swent: Who? What kinds of people? 

Wiegel: I don't want to get into individual names. 

Swent: But what? Were they from other countries? 

Wiegel: Yes. One of them in particular--! said, "Well, can you explain 

why your countryone of your biggest construction firms is doing 
a major job in Cape Town right now?" That kind of took care of 
that. That was money. Two different countries which were very 
pious, but when you looked into it, found they were working with 
South Africa because there was money in big construction 


An Innovative Sand Breakwater at a Namibian Diamond Project 

Swent: Did you have any trouble getting your American permit to go there? 

Wiegel: Nobody had any trouble. It's a beautiful location. I was able, 
fortunately, to go up to Namibia to the diamond- -where they were 
working along the coast. 

Swent: Oh, yes, the west coast. 

Wiegel: It's just north of the Orange River in Namibia. This is 

interesting because the Orange River is the river that feeds 
through the main diamond source in Africa. Sand comes down the 
river and other sediments. A very small part of the gravel is 

Swent : D i amond s . 

Wiegel: For thousands of years the river has transported material to the 

coast, and then what they call littoral driftthat is the current 
along the coast right on the beach, driven by the wavesthis 
moves sand and gravelthis is the so-called littoral transport of 
material, and in that sand and gravel are these diamonds. So what 
they've done: they've bulldozed the sand off the beach, because 
diamonds are a little more dense, so they're on the bottom. They 
didn't just start bulldozing sand off the beach; there was first 
exploration by mining engineers, geologists. They found where the 
diamonds were; they were in cracks surface cracks in the bedrock. 
In other words, you took the sand off and got down to the bedrock, 
then you got gravel out of the cracks of that bedrock there, and a 
certain amount of that gravel is diamonds . 

So they bulldozed the sand off the beach into the surf zone; 
about a kilometer long, and then a cofferdam to shore. But in 
order to maintain it out there and this is a true invention- -what 
engineer thought to do this, don't ask mebut they decided if 
they put a lot of horizontal wells they call them points from 
the inside of the beach side of the sand and pump out the salt 
water that penetrated from the ocean, that this sand breakwater 
could be maintained. It worked. Who thought of that; why they 
tried it- -I haven't any idea. It's lost, but a great idea. 

The chief civil engineer of the whole diamond works there 
was did his master's degree here at Berkeley in civil engineering 
right after the end of World War II , and that ' s how I happened 

Swent: Do you remember his name? 


Wiegel: I can't remember his name. But I remember vividly him telling me 
he had been shot by Germans during World War II and left for dead 
--but he survived. 

Swent: What company was working there? 

Wiegel: Anglo American Corporation, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of 
Debeers. But Anglo American Corporation is the actual mining 
company for diamonds. 

Swent: There were a lot of other people trying to get in there. 

Wiegel: Yes, but this is the big operator. You don't just go in. You're 
flown in by charter plane, and after you land, an escort is with 
you the whole time. You just don't wander in this area, believe 
me. So then they moved all the sand-- 

Swent : 

So these were horizontal pipes were used to pump the water out? 

Wiegel: Yes. They moved the sand off the beach out into the surf zone. 
But now: how do you maintain it there with all the wave action? 
Somebody thought about putting in horizontal wells and pumping the 
salt water out, and somehow this would make it better, and it 
does. Other people are now trying this concept out in different 
parts of the world to try to maintain regular beaches by doing the 
same thing. Back to Namibia- -then they get down to the bedrock, 
and it's down there with men with whisk brooms. We said, "Why 
don't you try this or that?" 

"We've tried everything anybody has ever thought about. 
Every kind of mechanical equipment, every kind of separator, every 
kind of everything. There is nothing like a person with a whisk 
broom and a pair of eyes to be able to segregate the 'most likely 1 
from the 'obviously not.'" 

This is taken in and it's washed, and put into a centrifugal 
separator, and you can sort it out by densities. Then finally, 
when you get the choice of the choice, it goes out on a black 
velvet conveyor belt, and you can see clearly which are the 
diamonds, and they're then picked out. Then they wash them in 
kind of a weak acid, because if I looked at it, I would think it's 
just another pebble. Then they wash them; then you can see the 
color. But they come in all colors. My favorite were the yellow 
ones. Of course, they don't say, "Here, have a sample." This is 
all behind glass with a person right next to you. But it was 
really interesting, and that was a very good opportunity. We were 
there to see the beach operation primarily. 


Swent : 


Swent : 

Swent : 

I'd been to South Africa before, at other places. They have 
very good coastal people down there. They have had some work 
published by the American Shore and Beach Preservation 
Association, and I was a director and vice president of it for a 
decade, and I was editor of Shore & Beach. I was asked to be 
president of it, but that's when I didn't have the energy, and I 
said no. I would serve as chair of a search committee for a 
president, but I wouldn't be able to accept it myself. I'm still 
kind of active in it; I attend their conferences. 

There are two things that I wanted to bring in at some point: one 
was your work in maintaining the high level of these papers --your 
insistence on jury reviews for the papers. I'm sure sometimes you 
were pressured to accept papers that you thought were not up to 


I think what it is: I'm old enough; I've been around enough; they 
don't want to take a chance with me, so I was never pressured. 

How did you get to that? 

Oh, I sent them out for reviews, 
three people to review. 

Every paper was sent to at least 

You were given credit for maintaining a very high level of papers 
in these things. 

Maybe it's because I'm a professor, and I'm used to looking at 
student papers; I don't know. You're judging them all the time, 
aren't you, and you're saying, "This isn't up to snuff; now you do 
a better job." I look, and I know the kid had fallen asleep about 
three in the morning; I knew what happened; I'd done the same 
thing. I think being a professor is very useful from that 
standpoint because you're used to judging things. You review a 
paper for I think three reasons: one is that you are looking for 
something interesting- -remember this journal is for a broad-based 
group of people, and some of them are scientists or engineers, but 
many of them are not. So I continued the policy of my 
predecessor, Joe Johnson: that was, I didn't want any equations in 
this journal. I wanted it stated in words or sketches, 
photographs --we used a lot of photographs, and we used a lot of 
sketches. I wouldn't rule it out completely, but basically, no 
equations. So the first thing in the choice of papers is, do you 
think this is of interest to a large number of people? That's the 
first thing. 

The second is that: are there factual problems? Very often 
there are. There are things that are wrong, and with these expert 
reviewers you can catch those kind of things. The third is: have 


they just overlooked something? Because of course it may be 
obvious to the person or persons who wrote it, but it isn't clear 
to somebody else because they have another set of information in 
their mind compared with the people who are reading it. If you 
have three reviewers, you can pick up quite a bit of this. These 
are three good reasons to review, and it makes for a better 
journal. It's hard work, but I think very well worth while. 

I came back from a trip--I had been up to Alaska in the 
north slope, got backI knew something was wrongwent over to 
Thailand and Japan, and then went to the doctors, and found out 
what it was . Within about a month I was in the hospital for open- 
heart surgery so 


Wiegel: I have got most of my energy back, but it's not complete. 

Swent: I don't think you've mentioned your and at some point, we must 

get it on the record--! can't remember whether you mentioned your 
surgery on the tape? 

Wiegel: Maybe not. I've had two major 
Swent: You've had some major health setbacks. 

Wiegel: However, except for that, I've been very healthy. I almost never 
get colds or illnesses of any sort. My daughters say that except 
for my terrible problems, I'm very healthy. But I had acoustic 
neuroma, this took over an eight-hour operation in the inner ear. 
But then a little over two years ago, I had open-heart surgery 
because they had to replace the aortic valve with they don't use 
plastic; they tried plastic, but those don't last with either a 
pig valve or a calf valve that they insert. Then, as they say, 
once they got you open, they do lots of other things. So they 
took the veins out of my leg and by-passed my arteries and so 

Swent: So this is only two years ago? 

Wiegel: That was a little over two years ago for that; the other was about 
eight or nine years ago. I got most of my energy back, but still 
I'm getting to the age where you don't have as much energy as you 
used to have anyhow. 

Swent : That ' s an awful lot . 


Wiegel: But I'm not worried about flying any more, except that I won't go 
anyplace that I can't get back on a non-stop flight to San 
Francisco in case I have to. 

Swent: Right. 

Wiegel: But that did cause me to make some major changes in what I was 
doing, of course. 

California Advisory Commission on Marine and Coastal Resources 

Wiegel: You've alluded to public service a couple of times, and we'd get 

started a little bit and so forth, but I would like to spend a bit 
of time on that. The commissions --and these are, I guess, legal 
type of things--! served on two commissions in California: one was 
the California Governor's Advisory Commission on Ocean Resources. 
That was established by Pat Brown when he was governor. That was 
changed, and it became the California Advisory Commission on 
Marine and Coastal Resources. I was on the tail end of the first 
commission and then I served on the second commission throughout 
its entire existence, which is 1968 to 1974. 

Swent: This was by the governor 's-- 
Wiegel: Yes, it was Governor Reagan. 
Swent: --appointment. 

Wiegel: It was established by act of the state legislature, however. 

Thereby law--on the commission would be three members of the 
state assembly, and three members of the state senate. I remember 
[Senator] Dill being one of the senators, from Los Angeles. The 
assemblyman that I remember was quite a young personable 
assemblyman from San Diego by name of Pete Wilson. 

Swent: We've heard of him. 

Wiegel: Who later on became mayor of San Diego, and then United States 
senator, and then governor. He always was interested in the 
coast; he was really interested in it. When he was on the 
commission, he wrote an act, but it wasn't accepted because he was 
too young. That's when I learned some more about politics in the 
state assembly. It would have had quite a bit in it which came in 
the California Coastal Commission Act, which was by proposition- 
initiative. But Pete Wilson had written something with much of 
that in it as part of that. 


Our commission went out of existence when the California 
Coastal Commission came on. They were entirely different things: 
ours was advisory; the California Coastal Commission is 
regulatory. So there's all the difference in the world there. 

Swent: Did you get to the point where you recommended regulations though? 

Wiegel: We recommended a number of things. I was chairman of a couple of 
its committees. One was on power plant citings, for example. You 
need vast quantities of water to cool power plants, and we thought 
it's better to use the ocean if you can, rather than fresh water 
in California. 

Swent: You did quite a little work down at Diablo Canyon. 

Wiegel: That came later. I guess the reason I was asked to chair that 

committee is because I was doing work on mixing processes; that's 
my guess. So I was the one on the committee. Incidentally Jack 
Bonner was on it. Jack eventually became president of PG&E; he 
was a Cal graduate back in the early thirties. That was very 
interesting. The persons that chaired that council were really 
outstanding people. 

The first was Bennie Schaefer, who was professor at Scripps 
at UC San Diego and he was a fisheries expert. He had been 
science advisor to Udall when Udall was secretary of the interior. 
Fisheries people have to be very, very broad. They need all the 
marine biology, marine chemistry- -but they need to know economics 
and politics. Bennie was one of the ones working on setting up 
these international fisheries agreements to try to have what you 
call sustainable natural resources. Bennie was one of the people. 
He died some years ago, but boy, he was a broad-based person. 

Following Bennie was Wib (W.M. ) Chapman, also a fisheries 
expert. He had been dean of the Fisheries School, University of 
Washington. Then with the U.S. government as their representative 
to the International Tuna Fisheries Commission, and was director 
of Marine Resources of Ralston Purina Corporation while chairman. 
Wib, like Bennie Schaefer, died while serving as the chair. 

Another one was Dave Potter, who was a physicist; underwater 
sound. He was the head of the General Motors defense lab in Santa 
Barbara at that time, and he eventually became undersecretary of 
the navy, and then General Motors brought him back as president of 
Delco, and then he headed up, was group vice president for General 
Motors for all heavy equipment . He ' s another extremely bright 


These people who chaired the council all had the ability to 
listento many inputs, all day long, and to sort out what were 
the most important items and then to summarize that. They all had 
this ability. 

Robert "Bud" Krueger, who was in resources type of law and 
things of that sort, followed Dave Potter as chair. You see, we 
had two fisheries experts as chairs, then a physicist (underwater 
sound) as a chair, and then a lawyer as chair. It was good to be 
on these because you learn so much about these different things, 
and you remain friends for the rest of your life, too. That was a 
very, very interesting experience. 

Swent: Is that when you got somehow involved with the Native Americans? 

Wiegel: The only thing I can remember getting involved with the Native 
Americans was not with them directly. 

Swent: "Indians" as we used to call them. 

Wiegel: Yes, certainly. It was indirectly, because I was asked to be a 
consultant for the redevelopment agency of Crescent City after 
they had the tsunami, a "tidal wave". This was thirty years ago. 

Swent: We really haven't mentioned tsunamis yet; we'll have to do that. 
Wiegel: I think we have a lot to cover next time. 
Swent : Right . 

Wiegel: So anyhow, I was looking into all the stuff that we do: the 
technical literature in underwater earthquakes and what was 
happening. We did do a lot of work on the Mendocino escarpment; 
real good science. Out of that came an absolutely first-rate 
Ph.D. thesis. One of the things that I ran intoyou may have got 
that from Orville Magoon, because both of us have been interested 
in tsunamis, as you know. Up in Crescent City, I wanted to find 
out: did the Indians have any tribal knowledge? That is, oral 
knowledge that's handed down, and most people like that are good 
observers. So I found out that there was a person doing a Ph.D. 
thesis in cultural anthropology at Cal. 

So I got a hold of this person, and I said, "Did you find 
out anything in what you're doing?" One of the things that he 
told me about was that the Indians up in Crescent City had a 
belief that if you put a ring of abalone shells around an area, 
this would protect it from tsunamis, but you must put these around 
an area up on a bluff. [laughter] This is what I liked. So you 
had two things going for you: you had one which I could go along 


with very well, and that's building on a higher elevation. That's 

Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 
Swent : 

where the hospital is up at Crescent City, 
referring to; I don't know. 

I don't know. 

Maybe that ' s what he ' s 

I'd forgotten all about that. So we did a lot of interesting 
things; we had a lot of meetings. If you look on top of my file 
cabinet, you'll see two stacks of reports. Each one is an annual 
report or a report of a meeting. In those, we made many 
recommendations. A number of them did find their way into the 
California Coastal Commission and things of this sort. I can't 
tell you how much, but a number of them did. 

Someone did listen. 

Or read. You have to have patience. I'm not politically 
oriented; I'm just not. That's a different sort of person, that's 
all there is to it. They're very good in what they do, but I'm 
science /engineering oriented, and hopefully I'm good in what I do, 
but it's different. 

It's very different; yes, it is. 

Orville Magoon, you seewho you've met--he was one of the first 
to recognize that people have got to stop fighting with one 
another and work with one another. That's why he started that 
Coastal Zone Conference. He did it; other people helped, Billy L. 
Edge was a major collaborator. He's always been good at getting 
people to help and he always had had good people to help. The 
first meeting on the Coastal Zone was in 1978 or something like 
that in San Francisco. 

That was when he was working for the Corps? 

He was still with the Corps. 

Coastal Zone Management I think it was called? 

Yes. Because that was the point: people have got to talk to each 
other, and listen to each other. You don't resolve problems by 
being antagonistic; they're not the ones that resolve things. 
It's the other people who get together and say, "This is a good 
point from you; this is a good point from you. I understand why 
you want to go that way." Then you start resolving these things 
and Orville is very good at this. That meeting grew into another 
and another and another, and again, it became the worldwide 
meeting on coastal zone management. In one way, this is what he's 


doing in this one in March in San Diego, but it's a little 
different, because that's got a lot of science base in it. 

I just got a copy of the program with who's giving what 
paper and there's a lot of scientific-based information going into 
it as well as the management and the legal stuff. Broad: fish, 
kelp, wetlands, beachesyou name it. Everything connected with 

Office of Naval Research Natural Hazards Review Board 

Wiegel: Let me mention one little thing first, because I just ran across 
something when I was going through my notes which is interesting. 
It was just in existence for one year. It was the Office of Naval 
Research Natural Hazards Review Board. This was 1973 to 1974, and 
earthquakes had just caught their attention pretty strongly. 
Bruce Bolt here at Berkeley was on it, I was on it, Harry Seed was 
on it. The chair of the committee--! can't remember his name 
right now, but he was at Caltech and a seismologist. 

We wrote a report on earthquakes as far as naval bases were 
concerned. This included Subic Bay in the Philippines and so 
forth; overseas bases and bases in the U.S. I had forgotten all 
about this until I was trying to get some background information. 
Could I read you two sentences? 

Swent: Please, yes, of course. 

Wiegel: It's a letter from Admiral Tyrrell to the chief of naval research 
dated 18 April 1980. It said: "Sometime ago, the Office Of Naval 
Research undertook a study to help us determine the potential 
vulnerability of a naval shore establishment to earthquake damage. 
The results of the study were extremely useful and contributed to 
a decision to fully investigate the earthquake safety of 
activities located in areas of high seismic risk. The six-year 
program of investigation funded at one million dollars per year is 
under way. This will result in substantial operating of 
facilities and improve earthquake safety which will enhance the 
navy's ability to carry out its mission." 

You do these things, and you're sometimes never sure whether 
any action is taken, but here was a case where action was taken. 
This triggers back what happened to the Port of Oakland, what 
happened to Kobe--ef fects of earthquakes on filled areas. This is 
what we were looking into and we made recommendations about that 
very subject. This was over twenty years ago. 


Swent: And you only worked for one year? 

Wiegel: Yes, off and on. You make your recommendations. The next step 
took money, because they had to do in-depth engineering studies. 

Swent: But you recommended those studies? 

Wiegel: We put in the recommendation, yes. I'd forgotten. 

Swent: It was important. 

Wiegel: That was important. 

Swent: Yes, it was. 

Wiegel: The Marine Boardwhich I referred to before, is part of the 
National Research Council--! was on it for two terms of three 
years each, the maximum you could servebut I was on its 
predecessor, Ocean Engineering Committee of the National Academy 
of Engineering. Later, I also was an ex officio member because I 
was chairman of something or other. But I was on it for years. 
Back in the late 1960s, the state department was interested in 
getting cooperation on ocean engineering/science/resources/ 
operations amongst the countries; not just coastal, I'm talking 
about oceans. This is marine transportation, fisheries, offshore 
oil and gas, with Japan and European countries. 

Engineering Committee on Ocean Resources 

Wiegel: Because of some of the things I had donepeople knew me in Japan 
because I'd been on two of these things with the Japanese and the 
British and the Dutch knew me. So I was asked if I would look 
into the establishment of an international organization to be 
advisory to UNESCO on ocean resources, they called it. There was 
a scientific SCOR: the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research; 
which was a standing committee of UNESCO. The state department 
wanted something similar with engineering, but they talked about 

So I started to bounce back and forth to Europe. I'd give 
lectures. I remember once flying all night and then chairing a 
meeting at nine in the morning in Paris. I had energy in those 

Swent: I guess so. 


Wiegel: I couldn't do it today. 

Swent: You weren't flying on the Concorde, I don't suppose? 

Wiegel: No. We flew what they called "sardine class." I did a lot of 

this, and we eventually established ECOR- -Engineering Committee on 
Ocean Resources. I guess because I had done much of the work in 
getting it together, they asked me to serve as the founding 
president; this was other people that requested this. So I served 
as that, and I said that I wouldn't serve another term. I didn't 
think it should be done; I thought a person should only serve for 
a three-year term. It's still in existence. I forget who's the 
secretariat; and I think it's in the U.K. right now. The 
secretariat was here in the U.S. for sometime, but I think it's 
now in the U.K. 

Swent: This was also connected with UNESCO? 

Wiegel: Yes. For a couple of the UNESCO meetings, I was the state 
department of f icial- -whatever they call it--at meetings. 

Swent: Delegate maybe? 

Wiegel: No, delegates are voting. Official observer I think they called 
it. So you could respond if they had questions. But it was 

Swent: It must have been. 

Wiegel: I had to sit in over there in Paris and so forth. I got to 

wondering: how many time have I been to Europe? I started to go 
through, but I can't countbut I have made certainly more than 
sixty trips. Of course, I've done all kinds of traveling to Asia 
and so forth. 

Swent: But sixty to Europe alone. 
Wiegel: It's been more. 
Swent: Oh, my. 

Wiegel: But for a while I think it was three or four a year. It was quite 
interesting to establish something, and to do it by consensus, and 
get it to go. We did give quite a bit of advice to UNESCO, but it 
was broader than that. 

Swent: What sorts of things? 


Wiegel: Offshore oil had a lot to do with it. The only reason why there 
hadn't been any real problem in the North Sea was that the 
economic boundaries between the U.K. and Norway and so forth were 
established before anybody had thought there was any oil or gas 
there; it was all done for fisheries. When gas and then oil was 
discovered, they had these international agreements already in 
existence, and that was very fortunate. 

Swent: But there has been trouble about establishing fisheries 

Wiegel: Fisheries will always be a problem. It's a big problem today, 
worldwide. There are other problems. One of the big problems 
between China and Vietnam and the Philippinesthe threehas to 
do with little, tiny islands out there in the South China Sea 
region. Nobody could care who's sitting on them, but because of 
the economic zones around them and this is an area that's 
undoubtedly got oil and gas, they all claim them. These problems 
exist today and they can trigger wars . I can get into that next 
time; I've done so much international work because of those kinds 
of things. Anyhow, it was interesting to be the one that really 
put it together and it's still operational. 

Swent: So you were looking just at the resources of the ocean? 

Wiegel: This was mostly it. 

Swent: So that would be fisheries, fish, pollution control, and 

Wiegel: --oil. 

Swent: --oil. 

Wiegel: There's another organization I had to meet with, and it's the one 
that sets the standards for safety for ships. 

Swent: What did you call it? 

Wiegel: IMO--International Maritime Organization. 

Swent: But you used a word just a moment ago that I didn't quite catch. 

Wiegel: I think I said that other organization that I had to then deal 
withnot deal with, but learn from. That's a very formal 
international group, and the U.S. member on it is the commandant 
of the U.S. Coast Guard. That may have been what I said. But 
that was this other organization that I had to interact with. 
That got me into the safety of off-shore structures because the 
coast guard would be in charge with the safety of floating 


structures. There are a lot of floating structures. The Interior 
Department with the U.S. Geological Survey is responsible for the 
safety of fixed structures. That's interesting. 

Swent: The Department of the Interior? 

Wiegel: The Department of Interior. That came about very interestingly 

because the so-called Santa Barbara oil spill was not an oil spill 
at all in my terms. An oil spill is something that spills out of 
a ship or when a pipeline breaks . In drilling for oil out in the 
federal waters off Santa Barbara, they went through fracture 
zones, and apparently there was this one segment that was down 
maybe two thousand feet below the bottom--! don't know what the 
distance is, but something like that. 

There wasn't a casing installed in a long segment, so oil, 
by the pressure of the gas, came up through this well, but part of 
it wasn't cased, and it moved out into a fracture zone, and then 
that got up into another fracture zone and that eventually got up 
into the water. So it wasn't a spill; it was a geological 
problem. So Congress said to the Geological Survey, "You've got 
to be responsible for it." So here the Geological Survey had no 
staff whatsoever that knew any thing- -even their own good 
geologists they didn't know anything about the design of an 
offshore oil platform that was fixed. But they were told to do 
it. They had to build up technically qualified staff. 

Eventually, I chaired the National Research Council 
committee on the safety for those things, or the recommendations 
for safety. 

Swent: That would be safety not only of personnel-- 

Wiegel: Well, the Coast Guard was in charge of safety of personnel, but 
then it became much broader because the Coast Guard was given a 
lot of oil spill responsibilities-- 

Swent: --environmental responsibilities. 

Wiegel: --environmental, and personal safety. With almost no additional 
funds. They were told, "Do all this," but not given the funds to 
build up the staffs. They had an impossible situation. They're 
good people, but you can't do very much if you don't have the 
money to build up your specialized staff. 

Swent: That was a very explosive political issue too. 


Wiegel: The next one, the last one I wanted to talk about was the Coastal 
Engineering Research Board in the army, but that's going to take 
some time. 

Swent: Should we leave that? Okay. 

Wiegel: I was on that for eleven years. 

Swent: That was a big one. 

Wiegel: That was a big one. 

Swent: That's after they had moved to Vicksburg? 

Wiegel: No, it was before. I was on it for two five-year terms, but I was 
on it for eleven years, because that's when they moved to 
Vicksburg. All the records were misplaced for a while, so I was 
on for another year. I think that was what it was: that simple. 
There's no way we could ever figure out how ten years became 
eleven years. It occurred right when the move was made from 
Washington, D.C., to Vicksburg. [laughter] 

Swent: [laughter] Simple housekeeping mix-up. 

Wiegel: I think they can count; I'm not worried about that. Maybe we 
should do that. 

Swent: It's already twelve o'clock. 
Wiegel: I'm kind of tired too. 

More on the Use of TV in the College of Engineering at Gal 
[Interview 6: March 12, 1997] ## 

Swent: When we ended last time, we were planning to talk about the 
research board, but you had some other thoughts before that. 

Wiegel: Once you're off, suddenly you think of something, and with respect 
to the use of TV in the College of Engineering at Cal, I don't 
remember whether I gave the name of the person who really did all 
of the work on the hardwarethat is, the type of equipment for 
televising and videotaping and things of this sort. Berkeley had 
a television group which consisted of two people, but in 
engineering, we had our own person that worked with them, but he 
really did all of the planning for us. It was Dr. Jim Gumming. 


Swent: I don't believe you have mentioned his name. 

Wiegel: He did a great amount of work over several years, and when it 
became operational, for the first couple of years he was the 
engineer that really ran the thing. I thought that this was very 

Swent: Yes, that's good to mention. 

Wiegel: I should also mention that I used myself as a guinea pig in one of 
the early-- 

Swent: Did you? 

Wiegel: --televised classes and gave a full graduate course in the early 
days. That way, you could get other people to do it if they knew 
that you had done it yourself. The other is about the Coastal 
Engineering Research Council [CERC] . Tremendous amount of work 
was done by Bob Dean, Billy Edge, Orville Magoon, Thorndike 
Saville, Jr., and Ron Noble. These are always collaborative 
efforts. These were the U.S. representatives on the Coastal 
Engineering Research Council. In addition, we had a 
representative from Japan, Kyoshi Horikawa, who was professor at 
the University of Tokyo, and became president of the Japan Society 
of Civil Engineers, and is currently president of a private 
university in Japan. We had a representative from AustraliaDoug 
Foster. Leonoardo Zeevaert was from Mexico. One from the 
Netherlands was Professor Eco Bijker, for many years. Although it 
was an American society of civil engineers, it became 
international through no planning; it just occurred. When this 
happened, we made sure to appoint people from other countries. 
These were all members of the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Swent: Is there also an international organization of civil engineers? 
Wiegel: No, there's no international organization. 
Swent: Congress of something? 

Wiegel: No. That was one of the reasons that I was asked many years ago 
to get something on ocean engineering- -ocean resources. But it's 
not an organization like the American Society of Civil Engineers 
or something like that; it's a very small organization with 
representatives of each of the member countries. It becomes too 
unwieldy. We have the International Union of Geodesy and 
Geophysics; they no longer can hold a complete congress because 
it's too big. They have to break it up into geophysics and 
oceanography and seismology and other different portions of it. 
The world's too big now. 


Swent: It has gotten too big, hasn't it? 
Wiegel: Yes, it has gotten too big. 

Swent: You do have, however, this international consortium now on ocean 

Wiegel: It's a conference that's held every two years. We've tried to 
restrict its size. It's gotten bigger and bigger, and we've 
worked very hard to not allow it to get too big. But even so at 
the last conference, which was last year, there were five sessions 
simultaneously. So you spend your whole time wondering, "Which 
session is the one I should be in, out of a choice of five." 

Swent: That's difficult. 

Wiegel: I don't care for those. I know they have to exist, but I prefer 
smaller ones. The American Shore and Beach Preservation 
Association, for example--our annual meeting that we held last 
year was in Chicago and it was concentrated on the Great Lakes; 
the equivalent of oceanography of the Great Lakes, and the coast, 
and the geology of the local region and so forth. There, for the 
two and a half days of conference, you could hear every paper that 
was given and participate. I prefer that, but I know you can't do 
it except rarely nowadays unless you have what you call a 
workshop. I did mention one of the workshops we held: it was on 
Hurricane Hugo. 

Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: If you want to take it with you and look-- 

Swent: Thank you. 

Wiegel: --just to have an idea about it. 

Swent: This is the Shore & Beach issue from October, 1990. Thank you. 

Wiegel: That gives an idea of what can be done in the workshop. Also, at 
the last session, you asked about my activities in tsunamis. 

Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: I've given a little bit, and it will fit in appropriately in a few 
minutes from now-- 

Swent: All right. Just didn't want to skip it. 


Wiegel: --when I can discuss it. Then you also asked me about the 
definition of hindcast-- 

Swent : Yes . 

Wiegel: --just as you were leaving. 

Hindcasting Wave Conditions 

Swent: I keep running into forecasting and hindcasting; and forecasting I 
understand, I think, but hindcasting I'm not sure about. 

Wiegel: That's a very good question. It's like in any trade or profession 
you have your own jargon. When I speak of forecasting or 
hindcasting, I'm talking about waves: water waves, ocean waves, 
and surf, the waves breaking on beaches. This came about from the 
World War II amphibious operations, having to forecast what would 
be the surf conditions as a site for the military to plan on. A 
great amount of research was done on relating the winds blowing 
over the ocean to the waves that they generate, or even more 
fundamentally, the atmospheric pressure distributions over the 
ocean; from those forecasting what would be the winds generated by 
them. I shouldn't say forecastrelating what winds would be 
generated by those pressure distributions. 

Then after calculating the winds through numerical models 
(we call them now) , to calculate what would be the waves that 
would be generated by these in the open ocean. Then with the 
information and the physics, we were developing on what happened 
to waves as they moved onto beaches; what would be the surf 
conditions. Then through other work: how would these surf 
conditions affect the operations of the landing craft and the 
personnel. You probably know if you have ever seen anything like 
the movie, "The Longest Day," great losses of life occurred; not 
just enemy gunfire and so forth, but people drowning. There was 
great loss of life. 

So, you're trying to forecast the weather in advance, and 
then from the forecast of the weather calculate what would be the 
waves and surf caused by the conditions. Hindcast is what we use 
for engineering purposes. We look at old weather systemsthese 
aren't old forecast weather systems, but real measured weather 
conditions, and then use the same procedures to calculate what 
would be the characteristics of the waves and the surf generated 
by those meteorological conditions. Those we call hindcast. 


Swent: Is this an evaluation of a previous record? 

Wiegel: Yes. 

Swent: You had the winds, but did you have the wave conditions? 

Wiegel: But then you see we would be measuring the waves so that we could 
compare the calculations with the measurements to test the 
numerical models. That's where the word "hindcast" came from. We 
were hindcasting the waves, but from real measured meteorological 
conditions, and then using those calculations to compare them with 
measurements to check the validity of our theory. We also use it 
now to build up statistics. For example, when we went to operate 
in the North Sea, for the design of offshore oil platforms, we 
made use of twenty or thirty years of previous meteorological 
measurements in the North Sea to hindcast the waves that were 
developed by those conditions, and then from that we got the 
statistics that we used to design the offshore oil platform. 

Now, since I did this type of work, they've developed a new 
term, something called nowcast. We have forecast, hindcast, and 
nowcast. Nowcast is where you use actually measured 
meteorological conditions that come in from these weather buoys 
and satellites andbecause of the high speed computing system 
that we havewhen I say "we", the United States Navy hasthey 
predict what will be the waves right now from information coming 
in all over the world from various measurements. Those are called 

Swent: I have here the program for the ocean conference, "California and 
the World Ocean 1997," that's going to be held later this month. 
I noticed they gave a whole session on the CIS 

Wiegel: That's really where you are. 

Swent: But they're using that on a lot of the coasts. 

Wiegel: Yes. To me, it's almost unbelievable what they can do nowadays. 

Swent: Think of all those calculations that you made so painstakingly. 

Wiegel: I prefer the system today. 

Swent: It's certainly much easier, isn't it? 

Wiegel: I much prefer today's systems. They've done a marvelous job. 

Swent: It's taken a lot of the drudgery out of those kinds of 


Wiegel: And then improved the accuracies too. You can check so many 
things. There's just no comparison. We don't have any new 
physics, though; we are still working with the old physics. We 
still include F=ma; maybe we got into e*mc 2 with some things. 

So now I guess we can talk about the U.S. Army's Corps of 
Engineers; the Coastal Engineering Research Board; the Coastal 
Engineering Research Center. I think I mentioned earlier that the 
Army Corps of Engineers goes back to George Washington, and 
military engineersin fact, the word "civil engineers" came into 
being a few hundred years ago to distinguish between what was done 
in the civilian areanot just the United States, but in England 
and France and every place else as opposed to military. This, of 
course, was dams; bridge building has traditionally been civil the 
world over. 

The term "civil engineer"--at least in the English language 
--started to be used only a couple of hundred years ago. It's a 
relatively new term; less than three hundred years ago. It was at 
about the same time that Admiral--! have to always tie things 
togetherabout the same time that Admiral Nelson was growing up 
as a boy in England and looking at a harbor down on the southeast 
coast, Wells in Norfolk. There was a person doing a consulting 
job in that same harbor, and as far as we know he's the first 
person to use the title and call himself a civil engineer, John 
Smeaton. It's a relatively new term. 

So in the United States, the only engineers that existed 
when the country came into existence were military engineers . 
George Washington was an engineer and surveyor. The military 
always needed to know where they were and where they were going, 
and fields of firethis all required surveying. They were called 
topographic engineers because they studied the topography. 

Swent: West Point was established as an engineering school, wasn't it? 

Wiegel: For the first many, many years, the superintendent of West Point 
was always a military engineer. I like to think of --the first 
coastal engineering project in the United States after it became 
the United States- -was under the direction of President George 
Washington, and it was a lighthouse up in Maine. There was 
another one at Montauk Point on Long Island a few years later. 
These were coastal structures for navigation purposes. The 
military were always closely connected to harbors for defense. In 
other words, navies historicallyin the Mediterranean going back 
to the Phoenicians, and the Greeks, and the Romans, and so forth 
they built navies, harbors, ports, and so forth. So the military 
have always worked closely with ports and protection and coastal 
defense works. 


Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 

In the U.S. Constitution, there's something that people 
refer to as the Interstate Commerce Clause. Well, there's no 
clause that's the Interstate Commerce Clause. I don't know where 
the term came from, but there is a clause in there that can be 
construed, and has been construed, to give the federal government 
certain power over the states, for interstate commerce. This is 
the so-called Interstate Commerce Clause. The physical fact is 
that a couple of hundred years ago, the only way you really could 
get most materials from one part of the country to anotherfor 
example, from Boston to New York or to Baltimore or to Charleston, 
South Carolina- -was by shipping. 

Congress said that it was a function of the federal 
government to maintain navigation because it was between states; 
not within states, but between states. You had to have certain 
regulations as to navigation aids, certain depths of water 
because it's no good having a ship with a certain draft that moves 
in and out of one port that can't go into another port. So 
somehow you've got to regulate these things. The Corps of 
Engineers was given this responsibility. Then, at some later 
date, in the early 1800s 

I think we should try to move on up to the present a little more. 

Yes, but that's how they got into it. Because of the effect of 
these navigation structures on the contiguous beachessometimes 
beneficial, but usually harmful, to the beach--in the early 1930s, 
Congress agreed that the Corps of Engineers had some 
responsibilities and they established by law what was called the 
Beach Erosion Board. 

That's what later, in 1963, became this 

Correct. That was in existence for about thirty years, and then 
they expanded itthis is again by law they disestablished the 
Beach Erosion Board and established the Coastal Engineering 
Research Board and at the same time, the Coastal Engineering 
Research Center. Two separate entities, but very closely 

The board and the center? 

Yes. The board consists of four general officers and three 

Civilian Member on the Coastal Engineering Research Board 

Swent: Did you have a connection with that? 

Wiegel: I spent eleven years as one of the civilian members on the Coastal 
Research Board. 

Swent: How did that come about? 

Wiegel: How did I get on it? I had had several small research contracts 

with the Coastal Engineering Research Center to do research at the 
University of California, and then when the coastal engineering 
and the centerand when by law--I don't know by law or practice, 
whateverthey had to have a certain turnover of both the military 
members and the civilian members. One of the civilian members 
died Professor Art Ippen of MIT they asked me if I would be 
willing to serve as Professor Ippen 's replacement. I said, "Yes, 
of course I would." So I was given a five-year appointment, and 
then a second five-year appointment. 

During that time, they moved from Washington to Vicksburg 
and the records must have gotten mislaid or something, so I was on 
for eleven years rather than the ten years. When I was on it, the 
full board that is, with the generals and it was presided over 
by the deputy chief of engineers the major general that is the 
deputy chief of engineers for civil works. We had two full 
meetings per year of the board, and these would be in different 
areas of the United States coastal meetings. It might be the 
Great Lakes, it might be the Gulf of Mexico, it could be New 
England, it could be California, Washington. They made sure that 
they went to different regions. 

Then the three civilian members would meet on two other 
occasions at the request of the full board to study certain 
technical problems that they would like more attention given to. 
For example, they might ask us to look at the proposed research 
program two years in advance for the Coastal Engineering Research 
Center. So we would spend a lot of time doing that, and of 
course, prior to one of those meetings of the three civilians, you 
did a lot of homework. 

Swent : I'm sure . 

Wiegel: You didn't just go to the meetings. You had many documents; you'd 
look at the research plans, but you also kept yourself current 
with the research activities that were being done by the Coastal 
Engineering Research Center. At first that was at Fort Belvoir, 
Virginia, but then it later moved it was in the early 1980s, 1983 


or something like thatto the Waterways Experiment Station at 
Vicksburg, Mississippi, which is a big army research establishment 
that was formed originally to study the flooding of the 
Mississippi River. Then during World War II, it expanded into all 
kinds of military operationspavements, bridges, geotechnical 
all kinds of real military engineering. 

At my final meeting of the board, I was presented the army's 
Outstanding Civilian Service Award. I appreciated this very much 
and was very pleased to have been of service to them. 

Swent: In the early days well, in the 1930s--Berkeley and MIT seemed to 
be two of very few places that were doing this type of research, 
and gradually more and more universities have gotten into this. I 
wonder why the Vicksburg Station was there a point at which there 
was a decision whether to continue this work only at universities 
rather than setting up this government research facility? 

Wiegel: I can't really tell you that. The reasons work was started at 
Berkeley was because of one person 

Swent: O'Brien. 

Wiegel: --Mike O'Brien. It was that simple. There was some work also at 
that time being done at Caltech. 

Swent: And O'Brien, of course, came from MIT here. 

Wiegel: Yes, but Caltech, I now said. There was some work being done at 
Caltech. O'Brien got his engineering degree at MIT. Of course, 
they've always had good people in any kind of engineering- -both 
MIT and Caltech. But Caltech expanded during World War II into 
ship motion and mooring of ships; why the ships behave as they do 
in harbors. Ships, unfortunately, don't just remain stationary in 
harbors, they move around because of waves, winds, tides, and 
currents. Some of that was done there; some within the navy, of 
course, was done. But the military- -you have to go back to World 
War II, and that is the floating breakwaters they were looking at. 
That's military. So the Corps was doing some of that. 

Swent: I'm just wondering why they set up their own research facility 
instead of continuing to use universities. 

Wiegel: Well, when they first set up, it wasn't at Vicksburg. I'm talking 
about coastal. It was in Washington, D.C., and it was a small 
wave tank; just a small wave tank built in Washington, D.C. They 
did some studies there, and O'Brien built a small wave tank at 
Cal. A small wave tank was built at MIT, and there was a small 
one built at Caltech. These were just little things for students 


so they could use it, with one person helping them to do 
something. These weren't anything elaborate whatsoever. Not much 
was known about physical hydraulic modeling. 

O'Brien had been a Freeman Scholar; I think he was the 
second Freeman scholar. In those daysthat was the late 1920s-- 
he went to Europe and studied under a couple of the professors in 
Europe; one in Germany and one in Sweden. This is where physical 
hydraulic modeling was done. None of this was done in the United 
States at that time. So O'Brien started it here, and as I said, 
there was one at MIT and one at Caltech. The Army Corps of 
Engineers built one in Washington, but during the war they--i.e., 
the army- -had to study some of these things which were strictly 
military operations. I forgot, they also had one at Vicksburg. 

Swent: I'm talking about your period on the board now when you got into 
the scene: were you reviewing applications for research or 
anything like that? 

Wiegel: No. 

Swent: How was the decision made to do research here or at Vicksburg or 
at Fort Belvoir? 

Wiegel: I can't tell you that. You mean, why did they decide to do more 
and more internally, rather than to feed it out like ONR--Office 
of Naval Research--does-- 


Swent: It just seems that there might be more duplication. 

Wiegel: Sometime, before it was in Vicksburg, when it was still in 
Washington, or they may have moved to-- 

Swent: Some place that began with "d." Dalla-- 

Wiegel: It was something or other reservoir in Washington, D.C. I never 
remembered it because I would get in a taxi and-- 

Swent: --just go. 

Wiegel: It was next to the Army Map Service, and they all knew where the 
Army Map Service was . The building there was the one next to the 
Army Map Service. At some stage, they moved to Fort Belvoir in 
Virginia, which is very close to Washington, D.C. The Corps of 
Engineers School is there and things like that. 

Swent: Is this where you had your meetings? 


Wiegel: No. When I would go to the one in Washington, D.C., that was 

before I was on the board. This is when I had research contracts 
with the Corps of Engineers like I had research contracts with the 
Office of Naval Research; I had them with the Army Corps of 
Engineers. (I did not do research for the Corps after I became a 
member of the board, except to conclude our ongoing contract.) At 
some stage at that timeit must have been in the 1960s--one of 
the National Research Council's boards--! don't know the name 
then, it would be called Ocean Affairs boards nowthat's the 
oceanographers. They had made a strong recommendation that the 
Army Corps of Engineers research activities in coastal engineering 
be expanded dramatically. 

That was made by a committee deliberating for a year or so. 
These were the same ones that had been looking at underseas 
warfare for the navy, or helicopters going over landing areas, and 
things of this sort. I wasn't on that. But anyhow, they did make 
recommendations that the research activities of the Army Corps of 
Engineers be expanded dramatically in the coastal area. At that 
time, they started to build some of their facilities, but also 
they built a big wave tank. The first, what we call prototype 
wave tanks. It was one in which you could generate a water wave 
six or seven feet high, and two hundred feet long. 

That was done to study the protection of the reservoir side 
of earth-filled dams. Reservoirswinds blow over them, which 
generate waves, and they had erosion problems how to protect the 
dams? They didn't build it to study breakwaters; they built it to 
study dams. The same facility it was obvious that you needed it 
to study breakwaters. So this was the first of the worldwide 
prototype-size facility. So it was almost by accident that some 
of these things occurred. They got bigger and bigger and did less 
research contracting out. 

That is where I think they were wrong; I still think they 
were wrong. I mentioned this to them when I was on the board. 
I've mentioned this to them many times; this is no secret. I 
think they have made a mistake by trying to do too much 
internally. They need to do a certain amount internally, because 
there are really military things that have to be done. Those are 
better done on a military facility. 

Swent: Why? 

Wiegel: Some of the things you may want to have classified. 

Swent: It's easier to classify the information there? 


Wiegel: Yes. I think I mentioned just in closing on Monday that since the 
collapse of the Russian Empirethe U.S.S.R.--the whole concept of 
strategic planning by the United States, by NATO, and so forth, 
has been undergoing tremendous changes. People are not really 
sure what to do. 

Swent: No, you had not mentioned this, Bob. 

Wiegel: The Fleet Admiral Nimitz lecturer on national security affairs 
last yearthat is, in 1996--was Harry Summers, Jr., a retired 
Marine Corps officer--he is a member of the International 
Institute for Strategic Affairs. He has taught at the Marine 
Corps School, he has taught at the Army War College, and he has 
written two bestseller books: one on the Gulf War and one on 
Vietnam. These are considered to be the classic scholarly books. 
Looking at these from the standpoint of military strategy, he 
talked about military strategy in the twentieth century and where 
it might be going in the future. 

One of things he mentioned was that the United States Navy 
currentlythis is last year is giving up its "bluewater" 
strategy, which traditionally had been the very definition of the 
navy that's your aircraft carriers, your submarines, your anti 
submarine warfare for what they now are calling the "brownwater" 
strategy that is, operation in the littoral in the shallow water 
because you didn't know whether you were going to have land troops 
in the Arabian Gulf, Somalia, Haiti. You don't know where it's 
going to be. 

There was a little note just recently in one of the issues 
of the magazine Science, 3 January 1997. They were writing about 
where the research was going to be done for the navy. If I may 
quote: "But now, because of things like Somalia and Desert Storm, 
the emphasis in on littoral, i.e., coastal warfare, and on getting 
landing craft safely onto hostile shores." I think the person is 
rather naive; the real problem is supply. You can get the 
personnel on shore by helicopters and so forth. But still, there 
is a big military thing, and the army and the navy work closely 
together on some of these things. Some things you don't want 
everybody to know about. 

Swent: And yet, they were able to farm those things those out to 

Wiegel: The basic research always. In the early days, we could do 
classified work. Now it's close to impossible, the way 
universities and faculty are today, to do classified research. 

Swent: What's the difference? 


Wiegel: Engineers don't mind doing it, but professors of history, and 
English, and the liberal arts don't believe that universities 
should do these things, and they've got a point. One of the 
functions of a university is teaching; making knowledge available. 
If you're working on classified information, you're not making 
this available to your students, are you? Either that, or you're 
doing something wrong with your classified results. So there are 
some good points. There are things that are much better done in a 
military establishment, and should be done there. With these two 
things I just mentioned, I think more is being done at the present 
time along those lines, but I don't know what it is. 

Swent: So you were on the Coastal Engineering Research Board for eleven 
years; mostly in the 1970s, right? 

Wiegel: I must have served into the early 1980s. 

Swent: Then you were chairman of the Coastal Engineering Research 

Wiegel: That's entirely separate. I would like to mention about the army 
and the Coastal Engineering Research Center and its predecessor, 
the Beach Erosion Board. They developed two manuals; the second 
one was called Shore Protection Manual. This book is still in 
existence. It is used worldwide. This is a distillation of all 
the information they got together two decades ago on coastal 
processes. It's two thick big volumes, eight and a half by eleven 
inches, printed by the US Government Printing Office. Well 
illustrated, lots of tables, graphs for engineers to use. This 
has become the worldwide design manual; period. It is also used 
in teaching. 

All over the world, they complain, and they say, "Why don't 
you update it?" Well, the Corps of Engineers does put out the 
Coastal Engineering Technical Notes--CETNs. These are small, 
five- or six-page publications on individual types of subjects and 
problems which are produced as needed; which provide all of these 
updates. It is a U.S. government thing and sent to the Army Corps 
of Engineers' operating districts, and libraries such as the Water 
Resources Center Archives here at Berkeley. So they're generally 
available. This keeps these things up to date. It stems from two 
things: one is the navigation and the military portions; but then 
the recognition that when you build these things, you can cause 
damage to the beaches. I assume you've been to Santa Barbara? 

Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: Santa Barbara is a completely artificial harbor. The people in 

Santa Barbara wanted a harbor for commercial fishing and pleasure 


boats, so they built a breakwater out into the ocean. Because of 
the wave conditions down there, this immediately caused the 
trapping of sand on the western side of the breakwater. The waves 
were still impinging on the beach on the eastern side, and moved 
the sand to the southeast. That's fine. But now, the sand that 
normally replaced it coming from the west couldn't get there. It 
built up against the breakwater and then filled in part of the 
harbor, and the harbor was becoming non-operational. So this is 
an example. Then it was decided to dredge the harbor, place the 
sand to the east on the beach to replace the sand that was 
deprived from it. 

Swent: Is that bypassing? 

Wiegel: That's called sand bypassing. That's an example; you've been 

there. Oceanside, California, is another one. That was built by 
the military during World War II at Oceanside for Marine Corps 
training. It did the same thing as at Santa Barbara. Along the 
east coast, you don't build these out into the ocean. What they 
do is make use of the inland waters , and then modify the entrances 
and build jetties to stabilize entrances. These structures cause 
beach erosion very often. Beach erosion on one side and sand 
deposition on the other. Congress recognized this and said, "You 
have got to do a study." I think going back to the 1940s 
sometime, you had to have the study of a reach of two miles on 
either side of the entrances, to predict what would happen. Today 
we would call it an environmental impact statement. They were 
doing it then. There were some good reasons for this. 

Swent: So there is a historic difference between the way the West Coast 
and the East Coast have done these things? 

Wiegel: It's a geologic, oceanography difference. 
Swent: Yes, right. 

Wiegel: On the West Coast here, we have a very narrow continental shelf. 
On the East Coast and the Gulf Coast, we have a very wide 
continental shelf. 

Swent: So that's what makes the difference? 

Wiegel: So the geology and everything is very different. The only thing 
you can say is that there's sand, there's waves, and there's 
tides, but the mix of these is very different. 

Swent: Always different. 


Wiegel: Very different, yes. You have to do a lot of what they call site- 
specific types of studies. 


Swent: I don't want to interrupt with this, but I was just wondering: 

when you look at a picture like thatI'm looking at the cover of 
the "California and World Ocean" conference program- -when you look 
at that, what do you see? 

Wiegel: I see a conflict of interest. I see two people with surfboards, 
and they want the waves for themselves. I also see some people 
down here on the beach. They probably just want to get out there 
into the waves and don't want to be hit with a surfboard. I would 
say this was middle of winter, and I would say that a good deal of 
this had been covered with sand during the summer; the winter 
storms had taken it offshore, and a few months later most of it 
will be coming back on the shore. I could see kelp on the beach, 
so I think there's been a storm just recently because it had torn 
the kelp from its rock anchor. I see people with their homes on 
the coast because they like to build their homes and look at the 
beach and look at the waves . 

Swent: Here are some rocks in the foreground. 

Wiegel: That's why I'm saying- -those may have been mostly covered in the 
summer and fall- -I think that looks like southern California some 

Swent: I presume it's around San Diego; I don't know. 

Wiegel: I would think so. I can't spot it. I'm sorry, I thought I knew 
every inch of coast in that region. 

Swent: It doesn't say anywhere on the program where it was taken. 

Wiegel: No, but I can't spot exactly where it is. It wouldn't be an old 
picture because of the size of the surfboards; those are current- 
day standards. 

Swent: So you see a lot of things in that picture? 

Wiegel: I take all kinds of photographs. I have somewhere in excess of 
nine thousand 35-millimeter slides in that closet in the corner 
there. Nearly everyone of them has a notation on itdate, 
location, and perhaps some detail. 


Swent: All pictures of coasts? 

Wiegel: Almost all coastal or hydraulic structures. Most of them are 
mine; that is, I've taken them. There are slides that other 
people have taken that have been given to me as a duplicate set. 
If there had been a hurricane and somebody had gone out after and 
taken a series of photographs, sometimes they were kind enough to 
give me a set. This will be the project I'll continue right now. 
I've got about 1,100 of them catalogued. I'm using a professional 
program called "Papyrus" in order to catalogue them, and I look at 
each one on this viewer, and I type on the computer the various 
subject matters that these should be catalogued under. I stopped 
when I got up to 1,100 because I was at the end of the amount of 
information I could get on a disk. But now, you can get these new 
disks and have a hundred megabytes. I just had one put in in 
January. So I now have a hundred-megabyte storage disk, and 
starting next week, I will get back to it. It will be about a 
full year's work to catalogue those. When I'm finished, the whole 
collection and computer catalog will be turned over to the Water 
Resources Center Archives. 

Swent: What form? Are they 35-millimeter slides? 

Wiegel: Thirty-five millimeter. If you don't ask, somebody will ask, and 
I will look into it again: "Why don't you put them on a disk?" 
Because of two reasons: the scanning for color and the amount of 
storage necessary for just one color photograph to have it good is 
tremendous. The technology is not yet here. 

Swent: It will be. 

Wiegel: It will be. But that's no problem. If I have it all catalogued, 
thenand every one of these is being numbered as I gothen, it 
will be no difficulty whatsoever to scan them. That's what I'm 
hoping for; not only to catalogue, but it will all be eventually 
on a disk of some sort, at least a selection of the best ones. 

Swent: Wonderful resource. 

Wiegel: It's worldwide. I think it's very necessary. I think this is 

important. Our Professor Einstein our Albert was professor here 
at Berkeley for years, and his main field was sediment transport 
in rivers, river flows, natural rivers, sediment transport in 
rivers, and he did some of the early work in coastal sediment 
transport. He had some wonderful 35-millimeter slides that he had 
taken in different parts of the world. He labeled where he took 
them and dates, but he hadn't written why he took them. When he 
gave a lecture, he used these slides, and he'd tell these 


wonderful stories about what he saw, but he didn't write on the 
slides what you should look for. 

This is what I hope to be able to do: to make these 
available so that they can be used technically by other people. 
In other words, not just because it's a photograph or something, 
but what it is you see there; what you should tell the students 
that you see. That's what I'm working on. That will takeas I 
said, I estimate from the work I've done so far that it will take 
me at least one full year. By that I mean eight in the morning to 
about three in the afternoon. It will take about a year's time to 
finish it. 

Swent: Where did your interest in photography come from? 

Wiegel: In the early days when I got on this project, people did a lot of 
photography. John Isaacs and Willard Bascom--we called him Bill 
Bascom. Bill was a very good photographer just like he was a very 
good writer. Not many scientists are good writers. Bill was a 
mining engineer; maybe mining engineers are. But as a mining 
engineer, his main field was tunnels. But then he got into 
oceanography by chance. He did all kinds of work over the years. 
Just working with people like that, you started to take photos, 
that's all. So I took a lot. 

Parker Trask, who was a geologist--! shared an office with 
him when I first got on the faculty. He was the one who started 
the study of geologic engineering here at Berkeley in the college. 
He would always take photographs of things because in geology, 
there's just no other way; you had to photograph something. 
That's it; it's just the people I was working with and so I just 
continued. Then I found out that the secret of getting some good 
photographs is to take a lot of them. If you take a lot, you get 
some good ones. 

Swent: I just want to get these dates in here; I checked them. You were 
on the Research Board from 1974 to 1985. Then you were chairman 
of the Research Council from 1978 to 1992. 

Wiegel: That's correct. 

Swent: Were you a member before you were the chairman? 

Wiegel: I was vice chairman for years. Before that, I was the executive 
engineer of its predecessor. So I was on it from an operational 
standpoint from its founding. 

Swent: So as chairman of the council, what was your responsibility? 


Wiegel: To just get things going. The biggest responsibility, of course, 
was every two years we had the international conference on coastal 
engineering which would be in different places. I became chairman 
at the conference in Hamburg in 1978, and then I was general 
chairman of the next ones that were in Sydney, Australia, and Cape 

Swent: I think we covered that pretty carefully last time, didn't we? We 
covered that adequately. 

Wiegel: We covered all of that heavily. I think so. But also in the 

ASCE, I was in many other things. At one stage, I was chairman of 
the executive committee of thethey had major divisions: 
structural engineering division, geo-tech, and then there was the 
division on waterways, ports, coastal, and ocean (WPCO). This is 
pretty broad. I was chairman of the executive committee of that 
division (WPCO) some place in the mid-seventies I guess. I've 
done a lot of committee work. 

Swent: A lot of that. I guess we covered that pretty well last time. 

Wiegel: I think we went into that. Public service is the one that we 
haven 1 t- -maybe this is all public service. 

Technical Advisory Council for Tsunami Protection for Hilo, Hawaii 

Swent: Everything is, yes. So let's move on to more public service. 

Wiegel: On tsunamis. I thought under public service, I would mention 
doing something for a city or a county or a state or a foreign 
government. These are all public service. One of the early ones: 
I was a member of the Technical Advisory Council for Tsunami 
Protection for Hilo, Hawaii. They were all Japanese professors, 
except myself on it, but Doak Cox of the University of Hawaii was 
the person who organized it. I was on it, and wethat is, our 
council, met there a couple of times in Hawaii, and we came up 
with the recommendations as to what Hilo should do for long-term 
planning to protect themselves from tsunamis by set-backs, 
elevations and modified structures (pile-supported). This is the 
same sort of thing they talk about for hurricanes and so forth 
now, but we did this back in 1962. That was thirty-five years 

The advice was largely accepted: setbacks, bringing soil in, 
increase the elevations. I remember one recommendation which was 
mine which was accepted, and if you go to Hilo you can see it: if 


you wanted to build something like a hotel close to the ocean at a 
low elevation, build it with structurally sound columns, but build 
the first floor (ground floor) so it could just be wiped out. The 
tsunami could come in one side and go out the other side; open. 
You have the columns to support the hotel, which is really above 
it. That's what the hotels are like in Hilo. Also, the insurance 
companies took it over for other parts of the islands and used the 
same sort of reasoning, and many small buildings are built on top 
of piles, with a carport below on ground level. That's a type of 
public service. 

I think I should mention: tsunami is a Japanese word and it 
simply means translated, "big wave in bay." In the early days we 
didn't know too much quantitatively about how they were formed. 
We now understand this very well. In 1946, there was an 
earthquake up in the Aleutian Islands, and in hindsight, I'm 
positive what happened: it triggered a massive underwater 
landslide. Absolutely massive; miles long it had to be, and 
broad. The motion of all that mass of material, of course, 
displaces water. It generated the big waves which traveled across 
the ocean. They travel at a speed which is equal to the square 
root of gravity times the water depth. Which means in the open 
ocean of the Pacific, they travel at about four hundred miles an 
hour. If you were four thousand miles away from it, and it's 
traveling four hundred miles an hour, that means that ten hours 
after it was generated in the Aleutians, that tsunami would hit 
that place. Or if it were eight thousand miles, that would give 
you twenty hours. So you have some time there that you can do 
things such as evacuations if you have ways of measuring it, if 
you know these things-- 


Swent: We may have skipped just a tiny bit: Hilo is more vulnerable to 

Wiegel: The geography of Hilo, the offshore bathimetry--water depth. But 
the details of the water depths, and the volcanic cliffs are such 
that they trap and enhance. If you take a lens and put it in the 
sunlight, you can concentrate the light waves and you can get a 
very high density, and you can cause a piece of paper to start to 
burn. If you have the inverse type of lens, you can disperse 
light. The underwater bathimetry affects water waves in a similar 
manner, and certain underwater configurations will cause the 
concentration of waves . So the build-up can become high at some 
places; at other places they'll become low. 

Hilo is a place where the waves are built up. Hilo is very 
interesting. It's at the confluence of the lava flows from Mauna 


Kea and Mauna Lea, so they suffer from lava flows historically 
from two volcanoes. There's a river that goes down through them; 
they have local earthquakes there associated with the volcanoes; 
and then their configuration is such that they get hit by these 
tsunamis. The one in 1946 was generated up in the Aleutians. The 
one in 1961 was generated off Chile and caused a lot of damage and 
loss of life. 1957--I think that one originated up in the 
Aleutiansdidn't cause loss of life, but caused a lot of damage. 
So Hilo is unfortunate in its situation. 

Swent: How did you happen to be invited to be on this? 

Wiegel: I had been doing this work going back to the Bikini test. At the 
start, I said why I happen to be here. In 1960 or 1961, after the 
Chilean event, I had looked into some of the effects of tsunamis 
along the coast of California. So this is why I was asked to do 
it. Then, in 1964 was that really great earthquake up in Alaska. 
That was much bigger than the 1906 San Francisco quake. If one of 
that size hit California, we'd have tremendous damage and loss of 
life here. That was a huge one. The area near Valdez 
incidentally, the oil spill at Valdez was--I hate to use the word 
"trivial," but compared with what happened in 1964, it was 
trivial. I'll get into that, because it kind of worries me as to 
how much money is spent in some things and how almost zero money 
is spent on other things. 

Now with the advances in plate tectonics and all this, we 
understand the relationship; but the reason why those mountains 
come down right to the ocean- -if anybody has ever taken that 
beautiful boat trip from Valdez across the soundif you happen to 
have clear weather, it's magnificent with the glaciers and 
everything. But the reason it's there, is that it is seismically 
active, and land is moving up and down and sideways, and when it 
goes fast, fracturing, you have an earthquake and your seismic 
waves are set off; the earth quakes. A piece of property roughly 
fifty miles wide and several hundred miles long moved! It moved 
with the speed of sound in a fracture in the rock. I forget how 
fast that is, but that's fast. One end to the other in minutes. 
It's almost instantaneous. It moved up or down, some as much as 
fifty feet vertically. This is the land, much of it underwater! 

Going on, surveys were made after and compared with surveys 
that were available from before, the permanent --no, nothing's 
permanent up there- -but quasi-permanent along that several hundred 
miles, and a lot of it was underwater. It's like moving a paddle 
rapidly through water: you see waves generated; if that paddle is 
several hundred miles long and it moves up to fifty feet, you 
generate a series of big waves. Those hit the Hawaiian Islands 


too and they hit northern California, Crescent City--and there was 
quite a bit of loss of life in Crescent City. 

So I was asked by the redevelopment agency of Crescent City 
if I would please give them advice. The tsunami was in 1964, so 
in 1965, I know that I prepared a report for Crescent City. Then, 
it was up to the Crescent City redevelopment agency to build or 
have set-backs, and I came up with estimates of what might happen 
in the future, and estimate of set-backs and elevations. I 
described this a little bit, because I mentioned at that time 
about the Indian legend. In engineering, we would call it a 
redundant system: we'd have more than one way of doing it. The 
abalone shells could be one, but the fact that the shells were put 
up at maybe fifty feet above sea level was another part of it. 
It's a redundant system which I believe in. 

Then, because of that, I was asked to go to Japan where the 
Pacific Science Conference was being held, to give the general 
lecture on the protection of cities from tsunamis. Then at a 
later date, I was on the National Academy of Engineering Committee 
on it and so forth, and I chaired the part of the work on what 
research should be done long-term on ports and cities and 
infrastructures and things of this sort, in regard to tsunamis. 

I'd like to go back to the Valdez area because this is 
important. Many years later, there was an oil spill, and it was a 
big one, and it caused a lot of damage on a short-term basis. It 
did clear up. Everybody sued everybody. In fact, many scientists 
believe with the things you're forced to do in clean-up, you're 
better off if you wouldn't do them; you're better off just letting 
nature take care of some of these things. But when you got this 
tectonic displacement, and in parts of it now, and I've seen miles 
in which all the tress are dead because the ground had gone down, 
the salt water penetrationpart of it is flooded with salt water. 
But aside from that, the ground water was displaced by salt water, 
and so twenty or thirty years later, there are thousands of acres 
of trees all dead because their roots were down in salt water. 
These are really long-term effects. So nature-- 

Swent: You can't sue anybody for it. 
Wiegel: Nature has got some big punches. 
Swent: Yes, indeed. 

Wiegel: So you spend all kinds of money for one thing, and I guess maybe 
the other's just so massive--still these things worry me that we 
over-react to some things, and then in my opinion, we under-react 
in other things . 


Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: So those are some of the things on the tsunamis. I've done many 
kinds of public service work. 

Nature's Always Responding to the Last Major Event 

Swent: I'd like to ask you a personal question: do you put any of these 
things in a religious context? 

Wiegel: No. 

Swent: Do you have any religious motivation? 

Wiegel: No. I guess the closest I come to religion is that I'm so 

impressed with nature; with all the marvelous aspects--! like 
flowers, I love trees, and waves, of course. I'm just always 
impressed, that's all. But I don't worry particularly. Part of 
this goes back to one person I worked with, John Isaacs. I think 
I mentioned this several times before. He's the only person I 
know of who I really think of as true genius . He read all kinds 
of things. He didn't need much sleepalways working or reading-- 
and thinking. But he was able to put all kinds of things 
together. He became a civil engineer, but he went to Scripps and 
started his work on marine biology, and was elected to the 
National Academy of Sciences for his advances in marine biology. 
I understand he had never had one course in marine biology. 

He came up with whole new ideas on fisheries , the food 
chain, and things of that sort. There's histories of him because 
he was a remarkable guy. He would shake his head over why people 
would get so upset by, let's say, a cooling water system put in. 
He said when he observed the warm water discharge from a cooling 
plant, the fish all seem to like it; they prefer the warm water. 
He said that for some reason people think that things in nature 
are static and they're not. Nature is always changing, the mix 
of the diversity varies. We're always recuperating from 
something: the last flood; the last drought; the last hurricane; 
the last no winds for a year; the last volcanic eruption; the last 
earthquake; the last El Nino; that last whatever is the inverse of 
the El Nino: La Nina?--just the opposite. Nature's always doing 
this. I guess that's the closest I've come: nature's always doing 
these things, and it's just absolutely remarkable how it responds, 
and I just thoroughly enjoy observing what nature has been doing. 
That's all. You might say that's my religion. I've got a lot of 
confidence in nature. I'm the inverse of the worriers. 

Advising on the Coastal Construction Control Line in Florida 

Wiegel: A few years ago I was asked to chair a committee in Florida to re- 
look at what they call the coastal construction control line. 
This had to do with hurricanes, and in northeastern Florida, 
equally important for the beach are northeasters; the big 
northeasters. That's the sort of storm we have here in coastal 
California, only we wouldn't call them northeasters; they would be 
our big storms coming from the Gulf of Alaska. So they had 
established coastal construction control lines; that is setbacks 
having to do with sand dune erosion and beach erosion and with 
elevations. This is all based on hard data, but with predictions. 
Any time you're taking a small data base with a few hurricanes or 
northeasters and the little observations you have, and then you're 
trying to estimate the likelihood for a big one that comes in the 
future. That's getting pretty soft, but it's the best you can do. 
It's done county by county in Florida. 

They had been established in many places, but there were a 
couple of counties where they hadn't been accepted yet, and one 
was Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County has got some well-known 
people who live on the coast: there are the Kennedys, Bush's 
mother . 

Swent : So the government has to protect their beaches . 

Wiegel: No, not to protect the beaches--to establish a coastal 

construction control line, to minimize damage to coastal 
buildings . Somebody once said that the government hears 
everybody, but some they hear more clearly than others. So they 
wanted to re-look at their procedures. There was a group of about 
five people that were asked to do it. I just expected to be on 
it, but they asked me if I would chair it, which I did. I think 
this served a good purpose. I can't go into them, but we made 
certain recommendations. This hopefully gets into policy; so all 
we can do is make recommendations based upon what we consider the 
best science. You have got to update these things. This is 
something that really worries me about so many of these rules and 
regulations, whether it be air quality or water quality or set 
backs. They're based upon conclusions that people reach at a 
certain time based upon the information available then. 

Twenty or thirty years later, you've got--I hope you've 
got! --better information. Certainly I hope you have got better 
ways of analyzing this information. There should be ways of 
changing these things, but it's almost impossible. Once you get 
into policy and law, and you have got a court decision and a court 
case, it's terrible. People don't want to change; inertia. Here 


in Florida, they did, and so we made certain recommendations. 
That's hopefully in the procedures now, but perhaps not; I don't 
know much about what's being done. But that's a type of public 
activity and public service. 

Evaluating Orange County, California, Reports and Recommendations 

Wiegel: The most recent study I have done--I just wrapped it upwas for 
the Army Corps of Engineers and the County of Orange in southern 
California. That was to look at a series of reports that are 
about two foot higheight and a half by eleven inch, printed on 
both sides of data and measurements and analyses for Orange 
County in southern California. These will be used by the 
Department of Beaches and Parks, Public Works of the county, to 
come up with plans which will then go to the board of supervisors 
for Orange County for the future. Now we get into conflicts. 
Some people like a beach to sit on; some people like a beach to 
walk on; some people like to walk their dogs; other people say, 
"Get those dogs off my beach;" some people like to surf; some 
people like to fish; some people like to sail; some like to 
picnic; some like to play volleyball. There's all kinds of 
things . 

Orange County is highly populated along much of the coast. 
It's Newport Beach, it's Huntington Beach, it's Laguna Beach. 
This is expensive property if you're right on the beach. Anyhow, 
I've gone through that. 

Swent: We should add that some people like to drill for oil on it. 

Wiegel: They've drilled a lot in the Huntington Beach and Seal Beach area, 
and this is a problem because there's been a lot of subsidence. 
They talk about global warming and sea level rise, and they get 
upset about the sea level rise. I've been pointing out for a long 
time, that they should look at a place like Long Beach, Huntington 
Beach, along where there is recent substantial subsidence the 
beach and the shore doesn't care whether the sea level went up or 
the shore went down; it's where the ocean is relative to the land. 

There's a big wetlands area in Huntington Beach: Bolsa 
Chica. The Bolsa Chica wetlands are too wet. They've subsided 
because that was the Huntington oil field, and it's all down 
several feet. So they asked the engineers to develop gates, 
weirs, and pumps and so forth so it wouldn't be as wet. 
[laughter] I'm not joking. I understand. They wanted to go back 
to about where it was and have some representative what I would 


call a wet wetland; the other which is kind of a dry wetland. 
There's good reasons. I shouldn't laugh. It's just that it's 
kind of funny that the wetlands are too wet . 

Again, if we didn't do it, nature would be doing something 
because the only reason those wetlands were there was the Santa 
Ana River was discharging in the region, and a few miles to the 
northwest, the San Gabriel River, and then a little further up, 
the Los Angeles River. These things change. Prior to about 1840, 
the Los Angeles River was discharging into the ocean at about 
where the Los Angeles International Airport is now; that was the 
mouth of the L.A. River. That's why all those sand dunes are 
there. That's why the property was vacant on which to build Los 
Angeles Airport; there were sand dunes. 

In about 1825, there was a big flood. We don't know much 
about it, but there was a huge flood. The river jumped its banks 
--this might not have been the first time, this might have been 
the hundredth time it did it- -and wound its way down and 
discharged into Wilmington Lagoon, which is where Long Beach is. 
So the mouth of the Los Angeles River is now down there, whereas 
150 years ago, it was some place else. Nature did that. There 
was another flood in the 1860s or 1870s when the San Gabriel and 
the L.A. River joined together. It just joined together down in 
that area. Now they're separated. So the reasons the wetlands 
are there- -all these kinds of things were going on, creating new 
land at the ocean's edge. Now we have people living every place, 
and we're going to have more people. People like southern 

Swent: Yes, they do. 

Beach Nourishment Advisor in Barrow, Alaska 

Wiegel: So that's the sort of thing. Another one I found interesting- - 
because everybody wants to have their beaches nourished. 

Three years ago I was asked to be a member of an advising 
group and go up to Barrow, Alaska. This was by the North Shore 
Borough, and Barrow is the largest Eskimo community there is. 

Swent: I've been to Barrow; it's really the end of the world. 

Wiegel: It's the end of the world. If you've been there, you'll remember 
up to the north there's a sign that says: "Look out for Polar 
Bears." The person I was with (he chaired our group) had been the 


director of the naval research facility for that whole area, and 
he said, "That's real. That's correct." He said they're a 
dangerous animal. They will attack for reasons which we don't 
completely understand; not being provoked. 

Anyhow, they were having problems with the beaches and they 
wanted advice, so we went up and we were on the committee and we 
made certain recommendations and so forth. I don't knowbecause 
that was not long enough ago- -whether or not it's being done. 
They were worried about their beaches and they wanted nourishment. 
They wanted a dredge to come in and put more sand on the beach. 
It's not just your Miami Beaches that want beach rehabilitation. 

Swent: They're not lolling around in the sun up there. 

Wiegel: They're not lolling around in the sunthere were ice floes just 
offshore, even in late July and early August but they want their 
beach. It was interesting because from a geologic standpoint, 
it's absolutely marvelous to see that area because it's all 
permafrost. It's entirely different from anything that I was used 
to. A couple of the people on the board were geologists who had 
spent years studying the north slope. In other words, every 
summer they would go up and spend their summer field trip doing 
the geology of the region. They (the Eskimos) had the money 
because of the North Slope oil, so there's money to do these 

Swent: What did you recommend? 

Wiegel: We recommended that they dredge, and how far offshore they should 
go to get the material and then bring that onto the beach. It was 
tied in very closely with some of the recommendations that we made 
in that National Research Council report because two of us were on 
the National Research Council committee; I assumed that's why we 
had been invited up there. That way they figured they'd get some 
really independent opinions. 

Examining the Nile Delta 

Wiegel: I've gone to many different countries. I think I mentioned 
earlier to Egypt for the Nile Delta erosion problem with the 
beaches there, between Alexandria and the Suez Canal. There's 
something interesting about that, because it's just been in the 
last year that I've seen a couple of articles that appearedone 
in Science, one in the American Scientist that mention a major 
change in what has been a misconception. Prior to this last year 


in the technical pressyou would read about the Nile Delta 
erosion, blaming it on the high dam at Aswan. A U.S. scientist 
now blames it on the spreading of water and sediment in the farm 
lands by irrigation. The high dam has helped modify it, and the 
water spreading and sedimentation has modified it, but the main 
reason for it is for years, there have been two river mouths, both 
now dammed. There are only two branches of the Nile today; going 
back two thousand years there were seven branches. That's why the 
Nile Delta is big. But today there's only two branches. I think 
for the last fourteen hundred years there's only been two 
branches. A few kilometers upstream from each mouth, they had 
builtdecades agowhat they call barrages. Those are low dams; 
they use the French word. So the two mouths of the Nile, the 
Damietta and the Rosetta, were dammed. I'm now quoting the 
minister of irrigation: what he said when we met with him: "The 
Egyptians either use, or misuse, or lose all of the water in the 
Nile." Use: irrigation; misuse: maybe there's better ways; lose: 
evaporation, percolation through the bottom and sides of the 
irrigation system. Except for about one or two weeks each year 
when they open the gates in the barrages to flush out the waste 
that accumulated in the lower Nile, no water gets to sea; period. 
It's gone: used, misused, or lost. So the Aswan has nothing 
directly to do with it. The Aswan dam and the evaporation of the 
reservoir and in the long term because you don't have floods, it 
won't bring additional silt, but it was all done before. That is 
a public service sort of thing. 

Advising on a Port for Papua New Guinea 

Wiegel: The Papua New Guinea work was public service I think. I made four 
trips there in the mid-1970s. That was when Papua New Guinea was 
to get its independence and the Australian government wanted to 
make several gifts. They had, over decades, set up some pretty 
good school systems; good hospitals. The Australians had done a 
pretty good job. The Indonesians in West Irian had been terrible, 
but the Australians did a very good job. One of the final gifts 
was some way the country can earn money to do these things in the 
future; and, they have tremendous hydroelectric capabilities. One 
of the ones is the Purari River. 

In the highlands of Papua New Guinea I think it just rains. 
I don't think I ever saw the top of the mountains; I saw clouds. 
The run of the river is such that you can get tremendous numbers 
of megawatts of hydroelectric power out of it, but you have got to 
use the electricity for something. The concept was to develop 
aluminum mills because just across the Torres Strait is the York 


Peninsula of Australia and there are huge bauxite deposits. 
Possibly the greatest deposits there are. It's easy to barge this 
acrossgoing from bauxite, you have to first go to alumina, and 
then the alumina to aluminum requires very high-energy processing. 
Hydroelectric is the best because it's a batch- type process; you 
want it to go on and off. So in hydro, you can open the valve, 
start the turbines, generate the electricity. It's a good system. 
They needed a port to go with it, and I was doing the third-party 
advising on the port. 

Swent: That must have been very interesting. 

Wiegel: I thoroughly enjoyed it. Where we were is out in the boondocks. 
But we went in and out of Port Moresby. I have to admit, when I 
went through some notes, I found that I had given a lecture at the 
noon meeting of the Rotary International in Port Moresby, Papua 
New Guinea; it was interesting to me to recall that. 

Swent: Are you a Rotarian? 

Wiegel: No, I'm not a Rotary member but I was asked to speak to them. 

Study of Sines. Portugal, Breakwater Disaster Led to Watershed 


Swent: I enjoyed my visit with Orville Magoon; he certainly is an admirer 
of yours. 

Wiegel: We've worked together for thirty or forty years. It's been a long 
time. We invite him regularly to give lectures here on 
breakwaters and other sorts of coastal things. Our students 
always enjoy his lectures--his enthusiasm. Going back to 1978, 
there was a big storm in the north Atlantic off of France and 
Portugal. The Portuguese had just finished a breakwater at Sines, 
which is about a hundred kilometers south of Lisbon. This formed 
a completely artificial harbor at that area, and it was the 
biggest industrial complex development in Portugal. They had 
spent huge sums of money because the big ships were to come in; 
the ore carriers, the oil tankers, deep draft, and building plants 
and shipyards of the new big industrial complex. 

The breakwaterthe ocean end of itthe furthest end was 
in the deepest water of any breakwater built any place in the 
world. This sort of thing you extend yourself always. This 
storm caused devastating damage. At that time, I think it was 
estimated at something like eighty million dollars. Remember this 


is twenty years ago; eighty million dollars of damage done 
overnight to the breakwater. We were in Hamburg at the Coastal 
Engineering Conference, and Billy Edge and Orville Magoon had 
received, from somebody in Portugal- -whether it was a government 
minister I don't remember nowbut they would like to have an 
independent look at it. So we talked about it and Mike O'Brien 
was just going off as chair of the council, and I think I was on 
the Marine Board at that time. 

So we discussed it, and thought, "This is something that NSF 
[National Science Foundation] might fund, to go over and, while 
everything is fresh, look at it". So Billy Edge chaired that 
group. Joe Caldwell, who had been the technical director of the 
Beach Erosion Board, but I think at that time had the top civilian 
position in the Army Corps of Engineershe had been the top non- 
general, which means he would have the equivalent of a two- star 
and a really bright guyagreed also to go, and then a couple of 

So they went and cooperated with the Portuguese, including 
the Portuguese navy, and did diving. Both Orville Magoon and 
Billy Edge are scuba divers, and they dove with the Portuguese and 
collected all kinds of data on what happened. It wasn't to point 
fingers, it was to collect data while it was still fresh. They 
prepared a report called "Failure of the Breakwater at Port Sines, 
Portugal." Three of us at Berkeley were asked by the American 
Society of Civil Engineers to review the draft because everybody 
was threatening to sue them if they published it. Not everybody, 
but they were threatened to be sued if they published it. It was 
O'Brien, Ben Gerwick, who was a professor of construction here, 
but also a very well-known construction engineer worldwide and 
myself. We reviewed it and said, "All they're doing is putting 
the facts down." 

The ASCE's advice by their lawyers was to publish; so they 
did. It was a very good thing because that has been read and re 
read by everybody in coastal engineering: Failure of the 
Breakwater at Port Sines, Portugal, by Port Sines Investigating 
Panel, ASCE, 1982, 278pp. But that was the start of a complete 
change in our viewpoints worldwide on what was happening. It's 
hard to believe, but the Americans, the Dutch, the British, the 
Germans, the Japanese, the French, the Italians we were all 
wrong; we missed something. It has to do with what we call scale 

Some things behave very differently in small scale that is, 
model sizethan they do when they're big. One of the things was 
--let me show you something. [A small model unit was taken off 
the shelf and displayed.] When you get into the deeper water, the 


waves that can hit a breakwater are bigger. For a breakwater in 
shallow water, the biggest wave will have broken in deeper water. 
So we find because of the characteristics of rock that comes out 
of different quarries, that you can't get rock big enough in some 
places to stand up to the size waves you're going to have in deep 
water. Engineers had been designing breakwaters using cast 
concrete units as armor. They started with a French design called 
tetrapod. These were cast out of concrete. This is just an 
example; there's many kinds of different ones: tetrapods, 
hetrapods, acropods. Everybody's got their own name. 

Swent: Tetrapod would mean four feet. 
Wiegel: Probably, I would think so. Yes. 
Swent: And it's a four-footed affair. 

Wiegel: As long as they were less than a certain size they were quite 

adequate, because people didn't want to put steel in them for a 
couple of reasons: one, it cost a lot more; but secondly, any 
cracks and you get corrosion. Remember you're in the ocean, and 
it is a very corrosive environment. We asked one of the people 
here, Bill Godden, who was professor of civil engineering at 
Berkeley, and had done a lot of work on the earthquake resistance 
design of structures, both theory and making models shaking 
tables shake highway overpasses and shake bridges. He said, 
"Well, of course you have got this scale effect as you're making 
your model out of the same material or approximately the same 
material as the prototype." 

Here is the simplest way of putting it: if something gets 
bigger, it gets bigger as the cube of the size, and the weight 
goes up then with the cube of the size. But the ability to 
withstand the stress goes up as the cross-sectional area, which is 
the square; it's the ratio of the weight to the area that is 
important. As it gets bigger and bigger- -if you got it big 
enough, it wouldn't even be able to stand on those four feet, it 
would just break. That's the static effect. Now dynamicif it's 
moving- -somebody said, "You don't see an elephant jumping around 
like a grasshopper." If an elephant tried to jump, an elephant 
would break the bones in its legs. So you see, there are both 
static and dynamic effects. 

This is hard to believe, but this had been overlooked. 
Everybody's tests of these big things had been looking at the 
movement and displacement; not the breaking, because none of the 
model units would break. Godden said, "If you model this down to 
have the correct strength characteristics in your model, it would 
be so delicate you would have to treat it as if you were placing 


raw eggs in there." Then he came up with a way of modeling a 
material that would have those characteristics and would break in 
the model if it was going to break in the prototype. So that 
group did a worldwide public service, and I wanted to mention 
because I knew you had talked with Orville Magoon and he was 
instrumental in much of these changes. 

Swent: He used the word "dollos." 

Wiegel: Dollos. It is another type of cast concrete armor units, and the 
one used at Sines; they were 42 metric tons each. I'm afraid my 
sample of the dollos is over at the library as a part of the Water 
Resources Center Archives exhibit over there. That was the type 
that was used at Sines. That happened to be the particular type 
that was used at Sines, but I can't show it to you because it's in 
an exhibit. 

Swent: That's the one that did not hold up? 

Wiegel: None of them would hold up. They are okay in relatively small 
sizes, but not when they are very big. 

Swent : No . 

Wiegel: Since then there's been another one that's been developed, but 

it's not yet been used in prototype. The Army Corps of Engineers 
developed that and it's called the "cor-loc". That's a trade name 
patented by the Corps of Engineers. Nowadays with numerical 
models, they've done very extensive calculations on the computer 
of the stresses and all of these things. They've done hydraulic 
model studies. Most people think that this will be the way that 
we'll go in the future, because now that we understand what has 
happened, as engineers you can develop better ways of doing these 
things . 

Swent: They are sort of interlocking. 

Wiegel: They interlock. 

Swent: It's sort of like jacks, is what I was thinking. 

Wiegel: Pierre Danel! That was his whole idea: he said it's a child's 
jack. Exactly; they interlock. That way they have hydraulic 
stability because they interlock, but the problem was the stress 
in the material due to the gradually settling of the static load, 
but also then the dynamic load. If you've ever been in the ocean 
when a wave hits you--. You ought to be there when they're twenty 
feet high or thirty feet high and they hit something. They exert 
tremendous forces. That's what some other people have done. Our 


input was to encourage it, to help them do it, and then to review 
the report. 

I wonder if that would be enough on the public services? My 
consulting I barely got into. Both public service and consulting 
are very useful when you teach; to bring to the students the real 
problems. We talk about engineering and science, and there's an 
awful lot of overlap. Certainly engineers use an awful lot of 
science, and a lot of scientists are very good engineers. It's a 
spectrum. In addition, you have to deal with the economics, and 
then you have to deal with political realities of these things. 

The O'Shaughnessy Seawall; A Lesson in Good Engineering 

Wiegel: If you work in public service and then in consulting, you can 

bring this to the students' attention. Then you can take photos; 
you can show them slides of these kinds of things. For example, I 
was trying to think yesterday of a good example I could give, 
because I would like the students to go out locally and see 
something close by. We could go down to the Marina at Berkeley, 
and you can see a breakwater, you can see small craft moored and 
this and that. Go over to Ocean Beach, San Francisco, and along 
one part of it you have the seawall called the 0' Shaughnessy 
Seawall, which was put in back in the middle 1920s and it is still 
there despite the fact that you read articles that say seawalls 
don't last, by certain well-known people in the state of 
California. I tell them, "Will you please go out and just look at 
the O'Shaughnessy Seawall and then retract your statement?" What 
don't last are usually things that haven't even been designed, 
just built, or if they have been, they haven't been designed well. 
Also, they probably have not been maintained. 

But usually what people call seawalls: somebody's contractor 
has just gone in and put a few posts down and a few rocks or 
something and doesn't know what they're doing and they don't last. 
But they can last. Of course, I used the O'Shaughnessy and so 
forth to show how things change. Mr. O'Shaughnessy was city 
engineer and he's also the one that built- -with Hetch Hetchy--the 
whole San Francisco water supply system. As you know, the city of 
San Francisco is very conservationist-oriented except when it was 
suggested that the dam be taken down and their water supply would 
disappear, and they suddenly had second thoughts. People aren't 
always consistent. 


Swent: That's right. I should say we're looking at a cover photo of an 
issue of Shore & Beach which is a beautiful aerial photo of Ocean 
Beach in San Francisco. 

Wiegel: --and O'Shaughnessy Seawall. What I love: the name Great Highway. 

Swent: The Great Highway, yes. 

Wiegel: I do like it, though, because I like sand dunes. 

Swent: Those dunes don't stay in place, do they? 

Wiegel: No, dunes move. All the dune grass is natural, but natural to 

South Africa, I think, not to here. What's wrong with jacaranda 
trees and African violets? The world is filled with these good 
plants from other places. Anyhow, the point is that I wanted to 
show that. Then what I want the students to do is to go just a 
little bit down the along the street adjacent to the Great Highway 
down to Taravel Street. In those days there was the Taravel 
Tunnel, so you parked your car and you could walk under the dunes 
to the beach. Now it's all redone since they put in the big sewer 
outfall and you have got to go up and walk over the top of the 
highway and dunes to go to the beach. I say, "Take a look at the 
Taravel Seawall. You won't see it." The Taravel wall was built 
in about the early 1940s, and it's only about one city block long 
--it consists of a series of sheet piles tied together, and then a 
concrete cap. 

Swent: What kind of piles? 

Wiegel: Sheet piles. In other words, they're not circular, they're three 
inches by eighteen inches, and many feet long and then they 
interlock so you build a wall out of them. You won't see it 
because the idea was to build a seawall that if you have a series 
of severe winter storms--and the sand of Ocean Beach is moved by 
the waves out into the surf zone during stormsthat you'll 
protect your sand dunes and your highway because the wall will be 
there. Then when the beach recovers naturally, the wall will be 
covered ; and that ' s what happens . 

It was completely covered up for decades up until the great 
El Nino winter of 1982-1983, when it was exposed again. Then one 
year later it was completely covered. If you go there you won't 
see anything that looks like a wall because it's all covered with 
sand. There's an article in this same issue of Shore & Beach-- 

Swent: Which issue is this? What's the date on that? 


Wiegel: The date is January, 1985, by Paul Berrigan. It goes into the 
history of it. It's kind of interesting, because when it was 
exposed during those storms; but the corporate memory of the 
Public Works Department of the City of San Francisco--nobody was 
left that even knew it was there. Fortunately, Professor Joe 
Johnson at Berkeley said, "I know all about it." He told them 
about it. I use this because you can do things, and you can 
protect valuable propertythis is one thing I try to teach my 
students. There are sometimeslike if you have got a big 
pipeline and you have got to make sure that pipelinethe sewer 
outfall going along underneath the Great Highway is not exposed 
somehow. You want to protect something, but you may not want to 
look at what protects it. You'd like it to be there, but not seen 
except every twenty, thirty, forty years or so when you need it. 
So there are things you can do. 

I think something that is similar to the Taraval Seawall, on 
a larger scale and I hope it will completely cover with sand- 
it's mostly covered now is up at Bolinas Bay at Seadrift. They 
put in the riprap- -not riprap, but a very carefully placed stone 
revetment on a sand slope and geotextile base, built during that 
same winter in 1982-83 after severe beach erosion. There's been 
all kinds of problems between the coastal commission and the 
county and the property owners about this. But fortunately, the 
wind gradually blows the sand off the beach and it's gradually 
covering the rock. I think originally, the owners wanted to bull 
doze sand up and cover it, but were not prmitted to do so. But 
it's kind of interesting. Some of the owners are putting in dune 
grass where the sand now is. One of these days, my guess is that 
it's going to be a dune- -much of it is already. But if they have 
another El Nino winter like they did in '82- '83, the revetment is 
there to protect things. 

Swent: --when they need it. 

Wiegel: Yes. So there are things that can be done. You don't have to 
have ugly things. You can do things that are better than that. 
That's why I like my students to go look. From this standpoint, 
consulting, public serviceall, I think, makes for better 

Swent: I know the students feel the same way because when they write 

things about you, they always comment about that sort of thing. A 
couple of things that I do want to get into the record: one of the 
things that you're known for was your dedication to your students, 
and the fact that although you did all this enormous amount of 
public service and consulting and so on, that you made sure that 
you got back for your classes; and at tremendous personal cost at 
times. I know you were doing a lot of red-eye flying, but you 


were not just the kind of teacher who went away for weeks and left 
your classes. You always put your teaching first. 

Wiegel: Yes, always. There was one other thing, too: Professor Joe 
Johnson. On many of the subjects we could jointly lecture. 

Swent: You helped each other? 

Wiegel: Yes. We would make sure that one of us was always here; always. 

Swent: Your students appreciated that; they were aware of that and 
appreciated it. 

Wiegel: Yes. They also were aware of the fact that they wanted to hear 
about real engineering; not just the theory of engineering. We 
use all kinds of theory, but there are still many things that are 
still not what you call theory. 

Adjudicating a Dispute over a Breakwater in the Strait of Hormuz 

Swent: You have to adjust sometimes. 

Wiegel: You have to adjust. So there are many of these things. I was 

going back through some of them. One was in Bandar Abbas in Iran 
--that's right on the coast down at the Strait of Hormuz --that's 
the little, narrow strait between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. 

Swent: We know now where that is. 

Wiegel: Yes. I was there. There was a problem with the breakwater they 
were building. German engineers designed it. There was an 
Italian contractor; Iranian owners. I flew all the way over 
there. That's a long flight; I had to go from here to New York, 
New York to London, London to Teheran, Teheran to Bandar Abbas. 

Swent: Half way around the world. 

Wiegel: That was a red-eye red-eye. I remember going from New York from 
London and then on down; they sent me first class and that was a 
Boeing 747, and my seat was up in the bubble and they had great 
containers full of the absolutely marvelous nuts-- 

Swent: Pistachio? 


Wiegel: --pistachio nuts. That may have been what caused my heart problem 
later on, I don't know. I think I read they have the richest fat 
content of any nut. [laughter] 

Swent: [laughter] Oh, really? 

Wiegel: But anyhow, I got there and I found that I had really not been 
told the whole thing. They wanted me there to adjudicate a 
dispute. I think what I did was correct. I did tell the students 
about that, too; what sort of thing you get into as an engineer. 
It had to do with the quality of the rock at the quarry, high 
percentage of fines. It's the thing that engineers get into, too. 
You get to a place and you don't have the quality of material 
available you would like to have; but they still want the project 
built. You have to build roads, you have got to open a new 
quarry. You come from a mining background; you can take cores and 
everything, but you really don't know what the rock is going to be 
like until you open the quarry because it has to do a lot with the 
residual stresses it, and when you are now blowing it up and so 
forth it may all fragment; you may not get big blocks-- just all 
kinds of complications. 

But the interesting thing was that almost everyone I talked 
to said, "You'd better get out of here pretty fast because there's 
going to be a revolution." I did my work and I got back. I had 
to get back fast because I was teaching. Two weeks later, or 
maybe three weeks or maybe a month is when the revolution came. 
This has always gotten to me. I told people about it. For some 
reason, our government --with all of their resources seemed to 
have been surprised, and yet everybody I was in contact with out 
there whether they were the Germans, or the Italians, or the 
Iranians, told me there was a revolution coming. So I've just 
been really worried about our intelligence ever since; how they 
could have missed it when everybody there seemed to have known. 

Swent: What were you adjudicating? 

Wiegel: The contractor wanted to use a lot of sand in the core of the 

breakwater, and what percentage could they use because it would be 
a lot cheaper to get, a lot easier to get, but nobody had really 
tested it; they just wanted to do it. I said you don't just start 
something untested in a remote place like this, because where once 
you go you won't be able to come back and do maintenance on it. 
That was the sort of thing. Of course, nothing happened because 
the revolution came and the whole project-- 

Swent: --wasn't even built. 


Wiegel: Everybody walked away. I have no idea as to whether it was ever 
even completed; I don't know. I've never been back. 

Kittimat, Canada; Local Tsunami 

Wiegel: Kittimat was up in AlaskaI'm sorry, Canadathe Alaskan Project 
was another one. That's one of those long fjordsdeep water. 
That's where the big aluminum plant is, and that's where the 
underground hydroelectric power plant is at Kittimat. It's a 
really interesting engineering thing. They were putting in some 
piles to modify the small fishing port there, and it triggered off 
a landslide in the underwater terminus of one of the creeks and 
that generated a tsunami. 

Ocean-wide, it would be nothing; locally, it caused a lot of 
damage. Right across the fjord was an Indian village. This is 
another of my experiences with tsunamis and so forth. The biggest 
wave went right up on over the top of the bank into the village 
and caused a lot of damage. No loss of life, fortunately. That's 
consulting. But again, is that consulting or it public service? 
You're doing it as a consulting, but really it's combined. 

On the Board of Engineers of the Mica Dam, World's Second Biggest 
Earthfill Dam 

Wiegel: Mica Dam, on the Columbia River, is in what they call the Big Bend 
area of the Columbia. At that time it was the second biggest 
earth dam in the world. The biggest was some place in the 
U.S.S.R. This was certainly the highest earth dam. The geology 
of the region was such that they were worried about the 
possibility of a high speed landslide coming down in a known area 
of landslides and generating tsunamis which would over-top the 
dam. So I worked with them, and then recommended tests to be done 
at a hydraulic laboratory at Vancouver. I made a number of trips 
up there and-- 


Swent: You said that this was in Vancouver, British Columbia. 
Wiegel: That's where the hydraulics laboratory was. 
Swent: Where the laboratory was. 


Wiegel: They then appointed me to the board of engineers of the dam. 

Hunter Rouse from Iowa State Universitythis is what's called a 
treaty dam, because the Columbia River originates in the United 
States, flows north into Canada and then makes what they call the 
Big Bend-- 180 degree and comes back down to the south. Because it 
originates in the United States, and then in Canada, and then 
comes back into the United States, it's called a treaty dam. You 
don't just build a dam. Years ago, people had the good sense to 
say the Columbia River has to be looked at as an entire river. 
This was probably in the 1930s based upon the Tennessee Valley 
Author ity--TVA is my guess. You have got to look at the whole 

So this dam was built, not to be used to generate 
hydroelectric power at that dam at that time, but to adjust the 
flows down the Columbia River so that it would hold flows and work 
in conjunction with the Grand Coulee dam. You could make higher 
use of the hydroelectric generating capacity of the Grand Coulee 
by holding a lot of this water up at Mica, and discharging it on a 
scheduled basis. But because of other things that were occurring 
at that timein the first place, the tunnels were being built for 
the hydro thing and the intake so that everything would be ready. 
So when they wanted to build a hydro, all they would have to do is 
come up with the generators--! shouldn't say "all." You're 
talking about a huge engineering project. 

It turned out that because of development in Canada and so 
forthand then this Pacific electric power grid system that was 
coming and going all the way down to L.A., San Diego 

Swent: --for the power. 

Wiegel: --for the power. They started to put these in almost immediately. 
They were worried about the possibility of overtopping of the dam 
and the geologists that were working with it, because this board 
of engineers were the tops no question about it. They had worked 
on dams all over the world. Because of what we found and the 
possibility, as an insurance, they modified the design and 
increased the elevation of the dam. Well, you don't just increase 
the elevation of a dam; you increase everything. 

Swent : Everything . 

Wiegel: You're talking about huge quantities of rock. That was really 
very interesting work. 

Swent: It was because of your knowledge of overtopping-- 


Wiegel: --that they had brought me aboard. And I recommended that a 

hydraulic model be built, which was accepted and the work done in 
Vancouver. We witnessed some of the tests, and reviewed the 
reports and findings. 

Swent: --that you came in? 

Wiegel: Yes. They knew what they were doing, and had other people for 

most aspects, but they put me on the board of engineers for this 
portion. I stayed on it for three years. 

Swent: Was it particularly because of the overtopping prediction? 
Wiegel: Yes. That I was on the board? 
Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: Yes. The others were on the board because they were geologists 
and specialists in soil mechanics, or spillways and tunnels and 
things of that sort. That was interesting, because it gave me the 
opportunity to work with the five or six top dam people on a 
worldwide basis. They were the ones that had been to India, 
Pakistanall of these places. I learned much from them. 

Swent: And dams were something you had not been particularly involved 

Wiegel: Except way back in the early days with spillways. When I taught 
advanced hydraulic structures, I would teach the design of 

Swent: So you had the knowledge? 

Wiegel: Yes. I could have designed one of those, functionally; not as 
well as they did, but at least I knew how to design a spillway. 

Designing Steel Platforms in the Forties Field. North Sea 

Wiegel: Another onecompletely differentthe Highland platforms in what 
they call the Forties Field of the North Sea. That was in British 
water, and I was consultant for quite a while on the wave- loading 
part of the design of that steel platform. That was one of the 
real big platforms on the wave-loading of it you have got to be 
careful. There's all kinds of things connected to the design of 
it, but the loading by waves on the platform which is the crucial 
design load. 


I remember talking to the chief engineer of it after they 
launched it, and they fitted it, and they got it up to the site 
with the flotation and they started to fill it with water so it 
would settle to the bottom. He said, "That's when you get 
ulcers." Is every calculation correct? Is it going to roll over, 
or is it going to down like it's supposed to? It went down like 
it was supposed to. 

Swent: Where was it built? 

Wiegel: It was built in the north of England on the North Sea; I can't 
remember the town--Teeside, I think. They've built a series of 
them since then. That was the first one they built; I can't 
remember the name of it. 

Helping to Design the Cognac Platform in the Gulf of Mexico 

Wiegel: Another oil platform that I did work on was called the Cognac 

platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Shell Oil Company was the lead 
and operator, and at that time, it was in the deepest water ever. 
It was in a little over a thousand feet of water. This is a 
platform. It was taken to the site by barge during two successive 
summers, was taken in three different parts and put together at 
the site. We all got one of these nice, little plastic cubes from 
the first production. 

Swent: This is a plexi-glass cube: "First production, September 14, 1979; 
water depth, 1025 feet." There's a little capsule in there with a 
little bit of oil in it. 

Wiegel: We used to joke about the Cognac field that Shell Oil must really 
have expected Cognac because the cost of this platform was so 
great, we wondered if they could ever get enough oil out to pay 
for it. Well, it turned out that you could. 

Swent: They did. 

Wiegel: They did. But nobody up till then thought you could ever do 

anything in that depth of water. Now, of course, they do it in 
deeper water. It's unbelievable what they can do now. 

Swent: What has made the difference? Why are they able to do it now when 
they weren't before? 

Wiegel: They learn something from each one. The newestand that will be 
built shortly; I don't think it's finished--! think it's going to 


be in the Neptune field in the Gulf of Mexico, but it will be in 
several thousand feet of water, and it's called a spar buoy 
platform. A spar buoy is like a long pipe; long, relatively small 
diameter, compared with its length. If you put a pipe out in the 
ocean, and you balance it properly by floating tanks positioned 
inside the spar, it will remain almost vertical. Depending upon 
its size and the wave characteristics, it's going to move, but it 
might be normal to the wave surface, or it might be vertical, but 
you can do it so it's vertical by proper design. It will be in 
almost two thousand feet water depth, and moored to the bottom. I 
notice that the offshore technology conference this yearwhich is 
always held in May in Houston, Texas the big technology award is 
going to be to Ed Horton, whose company developed that concept. 

A Tension-Leg Platform, a New Technique 

Wiegel: Incidentally, Randy Paulling, a retired professor here in naval 

architecture, has done a lot of consulting on that. So there are 
new techniques. I did a little work on what is called a tension- 
leg platform, and Paulling has done a lot. Tension-leg. What 
that concept is: you have a big buoyant structure, and it's 
connected bythe simplest concept is with cables, just moored to 
the bottom and the cables are kept in tension because of the 
large positive buoyancy of the structure. You can expand on this; 
and get into deep water, but then you don't use cables; you use 
big risers that are hollow .like pipes. Only much thicker walls. 
So it's kept under high tension, and moored to the ocean bottom, 
and then you drill down through it. 

I remember Bill Bascom and Ed Horton, who did most of the 
basic development of this concept they had formed a company [Deep 
Oil Technology, Inc.] in Long Beach together with a major 
construction firm [Fluor Corporation and Ocean Science and 
Engineering, a joint venture] --they were at our house for dinner 
many years ago. They said that there were about a half dozen oil 
companies interested in building the second one, but none 
interested in being first. Eventually Conoco had one designed and 
built (by others), for the North Sea's Button Field, in about 
1980. Incidentally, Ed Horton 's uncle was the famous Hollywood 
comedian, Edward Everet Horton. 

They've come up with these things. They're marvelous what 
they do. I remember when we did this Cognac platform, they joked 
that it was like a box to put the Empire State Building in, to 
give you an idea. The size of it is such that the Empire State 
Building would nearly fit inside it; except you have all of the 


cross braces, but that gives you an idea of the size. These are 
marvelous; nowadays they're multi-billion dollar structures. 

Pipelines: Patagonia/Alaskan North Slope 

Wiegel: I was just looking for some interesting projects, and one of them 
was when a French engineer who phoned me up once, and I had to 
come back from a trip and meet him because his company, ETAP, had 
installed a submarine pipeline down at Patagonia from the Tierra 
del Fuego Gas Field, which is in Argentina going across the-- 

Swent: Magellan Strait? 

Wiegel: Yes, the Straits of Magellan. They were having a problem with the 
pipeline where it came ashore through a cobble beach. So I worked 
with him on that as to how they might repair it. I mention that 
because at the other geographical extreme, I did engineering for 
Santa Fe International on a pipeline up on the North Slope of 
Alaska. So I've worked on pipelines across the Magellan Straits 
and on the North Slope of Alaska. This is a pipeline up in the 
air, parallel to the ground, with wind blowing across it and 
possibly causing substantial vibrations and so forth--how energy 
from the wind might cause it to vibrate and how to dampen it and 
things of that sort, the purpose was to design it so it wouldn't 
vibrate enough to cause damage. Those were interesting. 

A Breakwater for Manfredonia. Italy 

Wiegel: Another one is in Italy on the Adriatic Sea in a city called 

Manfredonia. Don't ask me to spell Manfredonia. That was rather 
novel. The engineers, because of the soil conditions and the 
depth of water, wanted to make a breakwater by putting in piles 
and then use precast, prestressed concrete slabs and mount them on 
the piles vertically. So it was just a vertical wall. I did the 
estimate of the waves and the calculation of wave-induced forces 
on it. It was built. In 1992, I was in Venice and my wife and I 
decided we were going to drive down along the Adriatic, so we 
rented a car for a couple of weeks and went all the way down to 
the boot. 

Anyhow, at Manfredonia--this was in October, after the 
tourist seasonthere was a nice hotel there, and my wife went in, 
and I double-parked the car, and we wanted a room for a night. 


She got the manager- -"Fine, no problem whatsoever." My wife came 
out and she said [he had asked), "Why do you want to stay here?" 
She said, "My husband was a consultant on this harbor twenty- five 
years ago, and he wants to look at it." Then they could 
understand, but, "Why are you here?" [laughter] 

Swent: How funny. 

Wiegel: So I remember that. 

Another one was down in Australia, Bass Straits. That's off 
the southeast coast of Australia down towards-- 

Swent: Tasmania? 

Wiegel: --Tasmania. There are gasfields off there, and one pipeline came 
to shore and they wanted a second one. This gas was transmitted 
up to Sydney, and this was all the gas in Australia at that time. 
I guess another pipeline went over to Melbourne, but they wanted a 
second one from the platforms to shore, and it had to go through 
the surf. So I was asked to go down and I spent some time down 
there working with them to try to get the information and to 
estimate how deep to bury it; beaches and offshore sand bottoms 
are variable with time. It's a place called Ninety-Mile Beach and 
it really is ninety miles long. There's one little, small town. 
This was out in nowhere. That was for Esso Australia which is 
part of Exxon Corporation. I just thought I'd mention a number of 
these kind of projects worldwidethese different places to give 
an idea. As I said all of these fit in. I guess another thing 
that I should mention: I'm a great believer in written 

You Absolutely Have to Read; the Importance of Archives 

Swent: I was going to say we haven't mentioned your reading, and you're 
known as an avid reader. 

Wiegel: I read. I'm almost like Bill Gates in that way. He said he reads 
everything including the labels on ketchup bottles. This is very 

Swent: I don't know how you find time to do all that. 

Wiegel: You have got to read; you just absolutely have to read. On all of 
these jobs, whether it's public service, or commissions, or 
consulting, I get reports and papers. I'm always cataloguing. I 


turn them over to the Water Resources Center Archives. There are 
probably on the order of twenty- five thousand of these. These are 
all available to the students. When I was still teaching, I made 
the students go in and learn how to use these things, because I 
said as engineers, the first thing you want to do is find out what 
data are available, what information is available, and look it up. 
This is the way you do Ph.D. theses: you do surveys first; then 
you home in and find out, "This isn't known. This is something 
about which 1, as a graduate student, can learn something new." 
You'll find out what is known first. It's the same when you're 
designing something. 

So this is all in there, and my students got used to using 
them. I think they'll tell you in the archives that they still 
come back and they may work for an oil company or a consulting 
firm or the California Coastal Commission staff or the state of 
California or the Corps of Engineers. It's a very good source and 
it still continues to be built up. 

Swent: You have your own cataloguing system, I understand. 

Wiegel: I'm cataloguing it. I'm just sorry it's not on computer, but it's 
cards. I thought about putting it on computer; there's no way. 
That's for somebody else. This putting on the computer and 
indexing my 35mm slides I'll do, because nobody else can do that. 
It's in my mind; I have to look at those slides. I labeled every 
one when I took them. I don't mean they're a whole bunch of 
slides with no labels, but I have got to put other information in. 
This otherthe Archives, anybody can go and put that on a 
computer eventually. I think this pretty well covers the-- 

Swent: I think your archives are very important. I'm glad we mentioned 

Wiegel: At the end, I thought something else was coming through my mind. 

Swent: I was going to ask you if you wanted to comment on one little 

thing I saw here. This was about the Shore and Beach Preservation 
Association; its goals. It seemed to me these are very broad 
goals, and in a way-- 

Wiegel: I'm sure it is very broad. 

Swent: They may have changed through time. "Coastal preservation, 

enhancement of coastal recreation opportunities, and wide use and 
development of the coastline." Some of those, I think, may have 
changed with time. Have they always had those goals? 

Wiegel: Those were the original goals. 


Swent : 
Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 

Swent : 

Were the original goals? 

Yes. The background of that was 

That was from 1926. That's seventy years ago. 

The state of New Jersey was the first where you really had 
development of the coast for tourists. This goes back to the 
Civil War. 

But preservation, enhancement, wise use, and development? That's 
a big, big order. 

That's right. The conflicts get more severe all the time because 
there's more people. On the New Jersey coast in summer, you had 
people from the population of New York and the population of 
Philadelphia. The first big development was at Cape May and 
people from Philadelphia came out by railroad. The governor of 
New Jersey was really worried about it, and there was one very 
perceptive person there, and at the same time in New YorkI'm 
trying to think of the person who's responsible for Central Park 
and Jones Beach- -the famous person of New York with the 
development of all these public parks and everything in New York 
City. He was part of itRobert Moses. These were long-vision 

How do you think we can balance those things now? 

The numbers of people are huge. I say it about Miami Beach, and I 
say it about Honolulu, Waikiki. "Thank goodness for these high- 
rises, thank goodness for all these people here." The more people 
you get in the few places like this, then you can keep other 
places; the ones that I like to go to that don't have people, 
[laughter] But seriously, lots of people like to be with other 
people. They're people watchers. Everybody's different. I like 
to walk along a beach, I like it pristine and this and that. 
That's great. Other peoplethat's the last thing in the world 
they want to do. They like to go, and they like to see people. 

Where the crowds are. 

Where the crowds are, and that's great. 

The Southern Swell 

Wiegel: One other thing that I was going to bring up because you had 
asked, and that is: what is this term "southern swell?" In 
southern Californiait affects the Orange County study, it 
affects the Bolsa Chica wetlands, it af fects--remember the picture 
with those fellows with their surfboards? 

Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: Well, southern swell is swellnot waves within a storm--but the 

swell that has moved out from a storm, coming from the south. The 
term was coined in southern California. These waves are generated 
in the southern ocean. That is the ocean that circumvents 
Antarctica in the south forty and south fifty latitude. In other 
words, you might say the south, south Pacific; the south, south, 
Atlantic; and the south, south Indian Ocean. Some people call it 
the Southern Ocean. 

These are the roaring forties and furious fifties. The 
storms are immense, they are frequent, and they generate huge 
waves. These waves travel across the ocean. They move northerly, 
between New Zealand and Australia, past Tahiti, across the 
equator, past the Hawaiian Islands, come into southern California, 
and they go all the way up to the Aleutians. They've been tracked 
by installing wave recorders. There was a marvelous U.S. study of 
these waves from where they were generated all the way up to the 
Aleutians. It's one of the big projects. Frank Snodgrass was the 
leader of it at Scripps, with Walter Munk. Walter is still 
active; he has received a National Medal of Science. 

They call it the southern swell in southern California. 
It's from the south. These are the best surfing waves in southern 
California. Surf's up! That's what they like, and they come in 
the summer. You can have them any time of the year; I have got to 
be careful. But in the summer, when you don't have local storms 
and especially in July, August, September- - that ' s the height of 
the southern hemisphere winter. It's when our local waves are 
minimal, so it's much more noticeable when the southern swell 
comes. The good thing is it's this marvelous surf. However, 
another think about is that it changes the direction of sand 
transport along the coast. Instead of going from north to south, 
or rather west to eastsouthern California is twisted, as you 
know. So I should say instead of coming from the northwest to the 
southeast, when the southern swell is breaking, it transports sand 
in the other direction, so the sand kind of moves in many areas 
back and forth in that part of southern California. 


That's the main reason I've been looking at it recently. I 
did some of the first studies in fact I wrote a paper on it in 
1950, I guess. That's when I was doing that work at the Marine 
Corps base at Camp Pendleton, and I would go swimming, and 
everybody "knew" that sand drifts from northwest to southeast 
there, and I'd go swimming out there in the surf, and I drifted 
from southeast to northwest. I thought, "Something's wrong here 
in the general concept." That got me interested in it, so I 
talked to Walter Munk--he was at Scripps--and Frank Snodgrass. We 
had a wave recorder in there for the Marine Corps as part of the 
operational conditionswe were trying to find out what were the 
wave characteristics, how these affected the landing craft and so 

Walter had written a paper on the gradual shift of the mean 
period of waves with time. These waves, as they were moving 
across the Pacific, would stretch out; become lower as they 
stretch out, and they become very long. It's pretty complicated 
what occurs. It's wave dispersion, but that's essentially what 
you see: longer and lower swell, and more nearly periodic. By 
looking at the shift of wave period with time, you can calculate 
how far they may have come, using the theory in Munk's paper. I 
did this. The calculation indicated they were coming from about 
four to five thousand miles away. I wrote a paper--! think this 
was my third or fourth or whatever- -this was probably a landmark 

It wasn't until much later that more information became 
availableespecially Frank Snodgrass, Walter Munk, and their 
colleagues did the big definitive study, and they had a movie made 
of it. Walter's wife's brother was one of the Hollywood motion 
picture stars. I can't remember the name now; I'm sorry, I 
should. So with these kind of contacts, they had somebody that 
could really do a good job on the movie documentation. I still 
have a print of it, and I used to show it to my students. It got 
awfully brittle, but we got it on video. I told Walter about that 
and he said, "Thank goodness," because it was well done, and is 
now preserved. It shows all of these stations: the one down south 
of the south island of New Zealand. Walter was at western Samoa. 
Then there was Hawaii, with a tripartite station. 

Then there was a spar buoy. Remember I told you about a 
buoy spar? Sometime previous to this study, someone at Scripps 
had come up with the concept of a floating structure which you 
could build like a long ship and take it to a site then flood the 
stern so it would up-end and act as a spar buoy in the ocean. 
That was a wave recorder station in the middle of the north 
Pacific and that was part of it. Walter used to joke he said of 
course I was the director of this, so I was at Samoa, and Frank 


Snodgrass, who had thought of the concepthe was in the Hawaii 
Islands because that's at the tripartite station and control 
center, and a recent Ph.D. had the one up in the Aleutians, 
[laughter] That was one of the great oceanography studies; the 
one that they did. That was on southern swell. 

Swent: But you did a landmark paper? 

Wiegel: Early. The one I did--at that time when I did it--it showed, with 
data and calculations, that the swell came from four to five 
thousand miles away. That's what made it important. This other 
one, by Snodgrass et al was the classic study, a great study-- 
Snodgrass and Munk--and Klaus Hasselman, who was over from Germany 
worked on it; and others. That's about it, I think- - 




Match a Problem with a Student, Encourage, and Wrap it Up 


Swent : 

Mentoring is really to get them interested in doing something, I 
think. I think so. I had better look up that word. I usually 
look up words in dictionaries. 

Well, it's the current buzzword, 

A good teacher has always been a 

Wiegel: My hope is show them examples of how you do something, 

Isn't that 

Swent: I think so. And be a role model. 

Wiegel: We could wrap it up by talking about Ph.D. theses, because this is 

Swent: Yes. 

Wiegel: I told this to students many times: "There's only a few things 

that a professor does. Every student has a different combination 
of abilities, and there's all kinds of problems. To solve each 
problem requires a different set of capabilities. So the first 
thing the professor does with a student on a Ph.D. thesis, is to 
match a problem with that student." Is it do-able? I've seen 
some pretty bad examples where things haven't been do-able. It 
wasn't the student's fault; it was the professor who had not done 
a--I've inherited- -not from here, but from other universities-- 
I've inherited a couple, and then was able to straighten it out 
and get the person working on something that could be done. So 
part of it is to match. 

The second thing, of course, is to help in making equipment 
and things available, and talking to the student and discussing 


where the student is. To continue to encourage the student; 
that's the important thing, because boy, it's hard to do a Ph.D 
thesis. It's hard work. Then the third thing is to get the 
student to stop, and finish writing up the work, and get the 
degree! [laughter] If you're really good, you're always going to 
think of something else that should be done. So wrap it up. 

So you do three things: you match, you encourage, and you 
get them to stop and get his or her degree. Maybe that's 

Swent: It is. 

Wiegel: I'll end with it there. 

Swent: You've advised a lot of Ph.D. students in your time-- 

Wiegel: A lot, yes. 

Swent: --and they're all very grateful to you. 

Wiegel: It's always been fun. I'm sure you've heard this before. It is 

Swent: I've talked to some of your former students and they all just 
adore you. 

Wiegel: I'm glad to hear that, because that's the other thing: I've had a 
lot of good students, too. That's why I really never worry about 
the future, [laughter] 

Swent: You've seen the best of the best. 

Wiegel: You name it, there's good people working on it. 

Swent: The world's in good hands with those-- 

Wiegel: Some good. There's some pretty bad hands around, I'm afraid. But 
there's a lot of good hands. 

Swent: But some of your student s-- 

Wiegel: No, I didn't mean that type. I think of the ones that start wars 
and things of that sort. There's an awful lot of really highly 
competent, qualified, ethical people. 

Swent: You've worked with the cream of the crop. 
Wiegel: They are. Okay, well that should about do it. 


Swent: I think so, Bob. We have to know when to stop. 
Wiegel: I didn't know it was going to be this much work. 
Swent: Yes, it is. 

Wiegel: I had to go back and look up stuff. 
Swent: Because you've done it so well, that's why. Thank you very much. 

Thoughts on the Political Aspects of Coastal Engineering 
[Interview 7: March 31, 1997] #f 

Swent: We're doing a little supplemental interview here with some things 
we thought we hadn't talked about enough in the previous 
interviews. You had a couple of items that you wanted to give 
more attention to. I thought you might want to just make a few 
general comments on the politicization of coastal engineering. I 
suggested that it was something new, but you think it isn't. 

Wiegel: No, I think it's been political for a long time. 
Swent: Always was political. 

Wiegel: I'll tell you why. I'll give you one example. This review of the 
very large study for Orange County, California, coast by the Corps 
of Engineers, the County of Orange, and several small consulting 
firms that worked with them- -I was asked to review the study and 
make comments where there were gaps and so forth-- 

Swent: When was this? 

Wiegel: I handed in my report a few months ago. 

Swent: It's very recent. 

Wiegel: Essentially, 1996. 

Swent: Okay, recently. 

Wiegel: But once I get interested in something, I never let go of it. 

Formally, I have nothing to do with it any more, but informally, I 
can never stop because I find things so interesting. As a part of 
it, I wanted to see or learn as much as I could about what is 
known as a littoral sediment cell, which I have defined earlier 
and so forth, at San Pedro Bay. Part of it is in Los Angeles 


County; part of it is in Orange County. The coastal processes do 
not know there's a county boundary there. So politically this 
study is made for a county, but scientifically, in engineering, 
you have to look at the physical boundaries. 

This got me interested in what was happening in that area 
before the big ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles were developed. 
Fortunately, because of the Water Resources Center Archives here 
in the university, I was able to go back and relatively easily 
find documents that were written a 120, 110 years ago; several of 
these being reports to Congress. Reading the various documents of 
the proposed port of Los Angeles--one proposal to be built where 
it is today at Wilmington, San Pedro next to Long Beach--the other 
was in Santa Monica Baythe big fights between Southern Pacific 
Railroad Company and others , and all of the work that was done in 
Washington, D.C, and the presentations made and so forth. So that 
part of coastal engineering was well politicized 120 years ago. 
So it's not new. 

Swent : No . 

Wiegel: That had to do with navigation, and ports, and commercial 

activities. Of course, what has happened in southern California, 
in Florida, New Jersey, the Carolinas: more and more people have 
wanted to go and make use of the beaches. A hundred years ago or 
so, there weren't that many people; there wasn't that much money; 
there wasn't that much leisure time. But then the numbers of 
people increased; the amount of money that's available to so many 
people have increased. For many reasons, people like to look at 
bodies of waters: ocean, rivers, lakes. This is very often the 
most expensive property. 

I saw this article; it was in the Friday issue of the Wall 
Street Journal. That was the twenty-eighth of March 1997; the 
section is on real estate. They have a section of real estate 
every Friday, and they were talking about this relatively new 
development in Orange County by the Irvine Company that's down 
towards Laguna Beach, not in Laguna Beach, north of it. I forget 
the name of the particular place. These are rather large 
individual parcels of land. I think you have to buy two or three 
acres per house. They have no trouble whatsoever of selling the 
ones for two and three million dollars that have an uninterrupted 
ocean view over the golf course. There are a few that are going 
at "bargain basement prices" for around six hundred thousand 
dollars. This isn't the house, this is the parcel; but without a 
dedicated view. So from several millions down to six hundred 
thousand dollars. That's what people place on a view. 

It's not just people with lots of money; most people like 
views. They go and they stay in a hotel or a condominium or a 

Swent : 


motel. You'll find that the prices that they can charge for ocean 
views or lake views and so forthin particular if it's ocean 
front or lake front or river front- -they' re high. This is 
worldwide nowadays. So you have people that just want to see 
these things, to make use of these things; but other people want 
to fish, other people want to surf, other people want to sail. 
What's appropriate and what isn't appropriate? Everyone has their 
own point of view. This gets into political issues; there's no 
other way to resolve these things. Partially, you can resolve 
them by economics. If you want the view, you pay twice as much or 
three times as much. 

That's what's resolving it. 

But the other way is through different sorts of political action, 
so it is politicized and it should be. I don't know any other way 
of resolving some of these things. So it's not new. 

Swent: No, it isn't. 

More on the California Coastal Commission 

Wiegel: You mentioned the California Coastal Commission, which is highly 
political, and there's no alternative to it being highly 
political. I was on the commission that was in existence prior to 
the Coastal Commission. I discussed it [previously] ; it was 
called the California Advisory Commission on Marine and Coastal 
Resources, and I was on it throughout the entire length of its 
time. I did touch on that, and I'd like just to make a one- 
sentence quote. This is the fifth annual report, 1972 "A Summary 
of Marine Commission Activities." In the covering letter, the 
chairman of the commission, who was Robert B. Krueger, Bud 
Krueger, a lawyer. He's an attorney in the Los Angeles area. The 
previous chairs were scientists; Bud Krueger was a lawyer. In his 
covering letter of the final report, he says: "The fact that CMC's 
recommendations on the subject during the years 1969-1972 were not 
acted upon by either of the entities creating it, points up the 
futility of establishing advisory commissions with political 
responsibility, and provides some historical background relevant 
to the enactment of Proposition 20, the California Coastal Zone 
Conservation Act of 1972." The entities creating it that Bud 
Krueger was referring to were jointly an act of the state 
legislature of California and the governor of the state. 

Swent: Executive and legislative. 



Swent : 

Swent : 

By law, three commissioners were assemblymen, three commissioners 
were state senators. One--I think I mentioned of the assemblymen 
was Pete Wilson. But most people on the commission, except for 
the political ones, were scientists or engineers and we had study 
after study with recommendations. You noticed Mr. Krueger said 
none of them was implemented. I'll leave this with you. I think 

All right. Maybe we could just include this as an appendix. 

I think so. So that was the immediate predecessor. I know that 
Pete Wilson had written an act which he had presented to the state 
assembly and it got buried. He was too junior at that time. I 
think this is rather interesting because last week there was this 
big meeting in San Diego 

Orville Magoon's conference, 

Not his, but he was co-chairman of 


Swent : 

Orville Magoon did an awful lot of the work to get it going. It 
was a conference that the state of California and the director of 
resources pushed, and Governor Wilson pushed heavily. You look at 
Governor Wilson who was assemblyman, but then he became mayor of 
San Diego. He was very early and very active in the coastal 
things because the people in the San Diego areathey love their 
coast. He's always been active in it. 

There was a couple of articles in the San Francisco 
Chronicle last week, and an editorial in the San Francisco 
Chronicle about this meeting. I have a copy of the program and 
there's--! believe over two hundred papers scheduled to be 
presented, almost all of them technical: that is, scientific or 
engineering studies. So there will be a lot of good technical 
information if it's published. I hope that the proceedings will 
be published, but they didn't mention it in the brochure, but I 
hope they will be. 

The next step is the political. This commission they don't 
really have much money. There's also a California Conservancy 
that does get money each year from the state legislature. They're 
the ones that can buy pieces of property or help fund the building 
of a pier, because so many people like to walk on a pier or sit on 
a pier. 

That's the Coastal Conservancy. 

The Coastal Conservancy. These are two independent entities. The 
Coastal Commission is the political one because they're the ones 
that finally make decisions as to what can be built or what can't 
be built. On that commission and other regulatory bodies, I know 


that we need many of them, but I worry. So many times politicians 
who have not been reelected--or in California and other places 
they can't run again because of the term limitstheir friends in 
the various state and federal things appoint them to commissions. 
You see this happening time after time. So often, regulatory 
agencies are made up of people who I think are definitely second- 
rate; obviously, they've lost an election or something. 

Swent: Second-rate in power anyway. 

Wiegel: Yes. This worries me. Another thing that worries me is the fact 
that almost none of them have any background at all in science of 
any type. I remember three or four years ago attending a national 
meeting, and the person who was chairing a session had been a 
congresswoman from New England and lost the second or third 
election--! don't know whichand was appointed to one of these 
federal regulatory, or some other post in Washington, D.C., after 
she had lost an election. Something came up and there were 
questions, and I was asked to comment. I said, "It's really a 
very complicated issue." 

She shut me up and said, "That's the trouble with you 
engineers and scientists: you're always saying it's complicated." 

How do you respond to that? Since then, I have every once 
in a while thought, "Is there some way we can get some of our 
findings on two-minute TV bits?" 

Thinking about that time, thinking of other times when I was 
on the Marine Board--! can remember the board had put a lot of 
time and effort into having the results of one of one of their 
main studies presented in Washington D.C. We knew there wouldn't 
be congresspeople attending, but we were hoping to have a good 
number of staff of congresspeople; but the turn-out was very 
small. This was a study done partially at the request of 
Congress. You can't give up, but it's very, very difficult. I 
don't see any way except by these two-minute video bits; I really 
don't. But I can't figure out how to do it myself. I'm leaving 
this for somebody else to do. 

Swent: The information is there but... 

Wiegel: It has to be presented in a Walt Disney and that is not 

derogatory, because I wish I could do it, but somehow it's got to 
be presented in that manner or people will pay attention to it, 
and limit it to their attention span. I guess to wrap it up: I 
think the Coastal Commission is necessary. It is political; I see 
no other way for it to exist unless it's political. 

Swent: But if they had more informed decisions, it would be better. 


Wiegel: Part of the problem is they really need more money for more 
scientific staff, I think. I think that would be helpful. 

A Particularly Interesting Trip to Russia in 1971 

Swent: Does that lead us into the other topics? 

Wiegel: I'd like to go back to something that's much more pleasure to me, 
and that is the fact that I had the opportunity of having some 
really interesting trips. As I mentioned, in 1971, I had been 
invited to give a presentation at the World Petroleum Congress-- 
which in 1971 was held in Russia, in Moscow. The World Petroleum 
Congress is in two different levels: there's a level that I was in 
which is the science /engineering level which you make 
presentations of various technical things; but then there's the 
political level, because the chairmen of the board of three or 
four major worldwide oil companies attended. The minister of 
resources for Iran, the minister of resources for Algeria, the 
minister of resources for Russia, etc. Because of that, those of 
us at the working level got to attend things that normally we 

They had just built a new ballet theater in the Kremlin. 
The Bolshoi was giving their premiere performance in the Kremlin, 
and it was at the time our group was there, and unless you were 
invited officially, there was no way you could see it. That was 
one of the nicest things that ever happened to me. 

Swent: How exciting. 

Wiegel: That was exciting. 

Swent: What did they present? 

Wiegel: I couldn't tell you. 

Swent: But it was good? 

Wiegel: It was absolutely magnificent; I know that. Afterwards, I had 

plannedbecause it was less expensive to take a full week's tour 
of Central Asiaor maybe two weeks, I don't knowthis was during 
the summer it was cheaper to do that than to simply go to the 
meeting and then back. So the American Petroleum Institute, who 
was funding me, said, "Go right ahead. We don't care. If you can 
save us money, book the thing that's the least expensive." So I 
booked a tour of central Asia and I went to Samarkand and Tashkent 
and up into Frunze, which is up in the Himalayas, and then into 


Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and spent several nights at what was 
then called locally, Amaty. I now know though the Russians all 
said it was Alma Ata, but nobody called it that, but I noticed now 
that it's an independent country that is now known as Amalty, 
which is right at the base of the west side of the Tian Shan 
Mountains . 

Swent: The "roof of the world?" 

Wiegel: The "roof of the world." I asked if I could go up into the 

mountains. They said there were almost no roads, but they were 
building a dam and they could take me up to see the dam. It was 
located such that behind it was a large mountain with glaciers on 
it; spectacular. But the interesting part of the dam is that it's 
not to store water. They've had problems there with- -during 
certain types of thaws and melting conditions and rains, they have 
high-speed mudflows, and there have been several disastrous 
occasions where villages have been buried and loss of life. So 
this rock- filled earth dam was constructed to prevent the 
mudflows, not to store water. I lectured about this to my 
students when I returned, with color slides, so they would think 
about it when they became practicing engineers. 

The other part that was so interesting was that it was not 
being built in a traditional manner of moving everything by 
quarrying, and moving the rock, and so forth. It was done with 
spaced charges in the rock of the canyon walls. They would space 
the location and timing of the charges so that the rock blown from 
the walls fell to construct the dam. I don't know if I remember 
the statistics correctly, but something like 80 percent of the 
bulk of the rock in the dam was placed by these spaced charges. 
That shows an extremely high level of knowledge of rock mechanics 
and explosives and everything else. An extremely high level. 
That was fascinating. I found it unbelievable that they would 
take me there and they would show me this and explain. That was 

I got to see a good deal of central Asia. On the other 
side, the east side of the Tian Shan Mountains, is the segment of 
China which is really Turkoman, and it's the part between the Tian 
Shan Mountains and the Gobi Desert. Then it was known as Sin 
Kiang Province. It's not called that now. I can't remember just 
what it is, but it's just been in all the newspapers on the last 
few months. These are all Turkoman 

Swent: At that time it was Sin Kiang? 

Wiegel: [spells] Sing Rang. I'm now spelling what I think I heard, I-- 

Swent: They keep changing the spelling. 


Wiegel: They keep changing, yes. It is Xinjiang now, or Uygur Autonomous 

Swent: That must have been very interesting. 

Wiegel: I had been in China in 1987 as the invited main lecturer at an 
international conference on coastal engineering and port design 
for developing countries. I was invited to give the opening at 
the meeting. My wife went with me, and we had a nice tour of 
China afterwards. We wanted to go back, so in 1989, we were 
scheduled- -we bought all our tickets and everything- -to go on the 
Silk Route, all the way to Kashgar or Kotan. We were in Beijing 
in May of 1989, and that's when the Tienanmen Square event 
occurred. We couldn't see any of the normal things in Beijing, 
but we'd been there before. We were interested in the other part, 
but you had to go Beijing first. 

So we flew to Xian, which is where those famous terra cotta 
soldiers are. We were scheduled to go from there into the West, 
and we got to the airport the second night at about ten at night, 
and the plane didn't come, and the plane didn't come, and the 
plane didn't come. Finally, a worried Chinese woman who was a 
local tour person came and said, "Come back to the hotel; you 
won't be able to get out tonight and probably not tomorrow." So 
the next day we're trying to find out what was going on because we 
didn't get out then; the trainwe'd miss it--it wasn't simple. 
Well, there had been problems. It started to filter down, and we 
found out a little bit what happened. 

The Chinese military- -because the airlines are all run by 
the militarythat was the end. Everything was cancelled, all the 
flights. They were using them to transport troops into Beijing. 
We were finally able to get a flight out to Shanghai because the 
whole thing was aborted at that stage obviously. But I wanted to 
see the other side of the Tian Shan Mountains. Now I realize it's 
too late. I can't take trips like that anymore. I can't do it. 
But I've had some very interesting trips: the one to Malaysia and 
Indonesia; the ones to the Philippines; South Africa and up in the 
diamond area of Namibia; Iran; several to Egypt- - 

Swent: You've seen a lot. 

Wiegel: I've thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife doesn't care as much for the 
out-of-the-way ones as I do, but most of them we both thoroughly 
enjoy. Now, I'm afraid, we more likely go to Hawaii or Europe or 
something like that. 

Swent: That's all right, too. 

Wiegel: Yes. I think that's what I wanted to say about that. 

Swent : 


The Coastal Engineering Research Center 

You wanted to say a little bit more about the Corps of Engineers 

Wiegel: Yes. I won't go into the background again; I already have. But 
the original Corps of Engineers coastal work was navigation; its 
major work still is navigation. 

Swent: But then you wanted to expand 

Wiegel: But because of the effect of navigation such as harbor entrances, 
artificial harbors with breakwaters such as Santa Barbara or the 
ones at Long Beach--these affect the contiguous coast. Although 
the federal government never has to take responsibility for any 
damage done to other things, occasionally they, through acts of 
Congress and so forth, will try to mitigate or rectify 


Swent: --about a hundred years ago. 

Wiegel: Some of the Corps of Engineerspeople recognize the fact that 

these navigation works were sometimes causing deleterious actions 
to adjacent bits of the coast. I won't go intobecause I 
discussed it the Beach Erosion Board was formed and so forth. 

Swent: That's all on the record. 

Wiegel: In order to study these things, you really need to use hydraulic 
models, and in the 1930s, the use of hydraulic models for rivers 
and dams was imported to the United States from the work that was 
being done in Europe, specifically in Germany: the great German 
fluid mechanics people. We've all heard of Von Karman and Prandtl 
and these people in aerodynamics, but the people working on 
rivers especially the Rhine and so forth were doing work with 
large hydraulic models. 

O'Brien was one of the first to go over there, in 1928, and 
studied with these people and learned about it and then came back, 
was hired at the University of California at Berkeley, and did 
some of the first studies making use of hydraulic models. He also 
was appointed to the Beach Erosion Board shortly after it was 
founded, not at the start. He was hired by them as a consultant 
in the summer. 

Swent: That's all in his oral history. 


Wiegel: That's all in. Now they thought they should have a small model at 
the Beach Erosion Board because you have got to try things out; 
you don't go moving nature around, but you can try things on a 
small scale in a laboratory. So that's how it started. Then at 
the Waterways Experiment Station at Vicksburg where they were 
studying the Mississippi, they built a few facilities too. Then 
during World War II, these facilities were used as a part of their 
testing and planning for some military operations on amphibious 
landings. So when World War II ended, they had these facilities 
and they developed some larger ones because it was found that it 
was a very useful tool, both for research and also for checking 
plansproposed plans for a breakwater or a jetty entrance and so 

It was quite logical that the Corps of Engineers would have 
some of these facilities. There were only small facilities at 
Berkeley, CalTech, and MIT. That's all that existed. The Army 
Corps of Engineers Beach Erosion Board let research contracts at 
that time, just like the Office of Naval Research does. 

Swent: I think this is all pretty well documented. 

Wiegel: It may be. So that kind of started it, but then in the 1960s, one 
of the committees of the National Academy of Sciences was called 
the Committee on Oceanography. This was in the 1960s. They made 
a study of coastal science and what should be done to improve our 
knowledge. A good deal of this had to do with amphibious 

Swent: Were you on this committee? 

Wiegel: No, I was not on that committee. One of recommendations was that 
the Army Corps of Engineers Beach Erosion Board be expanded to do 
a lot more research. Just at that same time, the federal 
government decided to disestablish the Beach Erosion Board and 
establish the Coastal Engineering Research BoardBeach 
Erosion/Coastal Engineer ing- -much broaderand the Coastal 
Engineering Research Center. It was no longer just a board with a 
few small facilities; it was now a board that kind of set policy, 
and then a center that was going to develop. This developed, and 
they had much more money. They still gave research contracts to 
universities, of which we were one. But at some time, mostly 
after they moved to Vicksburg, which was in 1983 in 1973, they 
moved to Fort Belvoir and expanded a bit, but in 1983 they moved 
to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the big waterways experiment 
station was. 

I don't have any data to document it, but it certainly seems 
quite evident that a much smaller percentage of the funds that 
they had available were used for funding research outside of the 


Corps. In other words, funding research at universities. More 
and more and more was done in-house. This was similar, in many 
ways, to what was happening at the same time in England at the 
hydraulic research station, which was first in irrigation and 
water supply, but then into coastal engineering. It was wholly 
funded by the British government. In the Netherlands, the Delft 
Hydraulics Laboratory was the same thing. They expanded very 
dramatically because after the big storms in the North Sea in 
1953, and the flooding with thousand of acres inundated, and 
hundreds and hundreds of people killed, this was a major effort on 
the behalf of the Dutch government. So they expanded the Delft 
Hydraulics Laboratory into all kinds of coastal work. In Denmark, 
the Danish Hydraulic Institute also expanded because they had much 
coastline at Denmark, but also, they saw an opportunity to get 
engineering jobs on an international basis, and they could see you 
needed hydraulic studies at the same time. 

So it was in the United State, in England, in the 
Netherlands, in Denmark, France--in the Electricite de France, 
because of their work on tidal electric generation mostlybut 
also in Japan in their Ministry of Transport is Port and Harbour 
Research Institute, were doing all kinds of government-sponsored 
research and development. So this was done worldwide, not just 
the United States. There's some real problems there in the fact 
that the Corps of Engineers have operating districts: the San 
Francisco District, the Los Angeles District, the Philadelphia 
District, the Jacksonville District, and so forth. These are 
employees of these districts. 

So here you have your facility of Vicksburg, Mississippi, 
but it's pretty expensive for people to go back and forth. People 
don't want to leave their family and spend a year at Vicksburg and 
then come back. I think the Corps has been looking at this, but 
there has to be changes made, I think. 

Swent: They also depend on the universities still to train the people 
that they have. 

Wiegel: They always have. That's another real problem: when you cut back 
on the research, then you don't have the people being trained. 
The only thing is, counterbalancing that, is the fact that not 
much engineering can be done any more on the coast in the United 
States. So there is not much work being done except the 
maintenance/ rehabilitation type of thing. The British privatized 
their laboratory about a decade ago; the Dutch privatized their 
laboratory; the Danish privatized their laboratory; the Japanese 
did not. So those three European laboratories are out on the 
international market trying to get as much funding as they can get 
and they work closely with their engineering firms to try to get 
contracts in Indonesia or Malaysia and so forth, to do 


engineering, including the hydraulic laboratory studies. In 
principle, we can do it here in the United States. A private 
company can contract with the Corps of Engineers, but- -and here 
it's only hearsay, but I understand the overhead cost is so high 
that the companies tend not to do it. 

All of these things have affected our ability to do research 
here, and at other universities, where hydraulic laboratory 
facilities are needed. 

Swent: So the Corps does its own work. 

Wiegel: It does essentially all its own--yes. I attended a meeting of the 
Coastal Engineering Research Board in July of 1996. It was held 
in San Diego. At that time, one of the things they were 
discussing was what is the future for the Corps in coastal 
engineering, because President Clinton's policy was that they 
shouldn't do beach work and so forthnot completely, no, but 
certainly not much, and I forget the details. 

If the president tells you not to do thatnow, Congress 
disagreed with the president on many individual issues, so written 
into law are a number of projects, and they were essentially 
budgetizing the proof against veto, because it's a big budget. 
Nobody really knows what this line- item veto that's now in 
existence is going to do, because again, our presidentwhen he 
line-item vetoes something is losing political ground with the 
local people and in some cases, two senators may be Democrats in 
that state, like in Virginia. That gets into politics again; but 
it is politics. 

Anyhow, at that meeting, I recommended that the whole way of 
funding research in coastal engineering should be looked into, and 
that much more of it should be funded via the National Science 
Foundation and so forth. I've made my feelings known to the 
Marine Board. There is some movement. This may be looked into; I 
don't know. This is all current type of things. That would 
require a complete look at how this research is done for coastal 
science and coastal engineering in the United States. But at the 
same time and I've mentioned this before the U.S. Navy is now 
doing more of their planning on coastal activities because they 
see they're asked to go in to support the troops in the Gulf, in 
Bosnia who knows where next time. 

So right now you have got the navy and the army Corps 
working together on some of these things. I think things are in a 
state of flux at the present time. I think that's about what I 
wanted to say there about that. 

Swent: It offers lots of new areas of thought, doesn't it? 

Wiegel: But it has to be looked at right now. And I am hoping it will be. 

Swent: Right. And you're in a position now where you can be the sage 
advisor from Mount Olympus. 

Wiegel: I can stir people up and try to get them to do something. 

Swent: Okay, Bob. The only other question I have is: did you say enough 
about your own archives? Would you like to say any more about 
your own archives? You mentioned the Water Resources Center 
Archives a lot, but you have your own personal-- 

Wiegel: --which are in the Water Resources Center Archives, but completely 
separate. What I do is: I now make sure the archives have 
whatever they would like first, and then if they find it isn't 
sufficiently in their purview, then I put it in my own. To give 
you an example: when I was preparing for one of the recent 
interviews, I went back and I found my whole set of reports of the 
California Advisory Commission on Marine and Coastal Resources, 
and so I took them into them, and they had many of them but others 
they didn't. So they took out the ones that would make their set 
completealso the Governor's Commission on Marine Resources, 
which was prior to that. 

Over the weekend, I was looking at some old things, and I 
found a rather large publication that I must have bought in a 
museum or something some time, that was the works that Leonardo da 
Vinci had done on different hydraulic things, both water supply 
and pumps and things of this sort. This morning I gave that to 
the archives, saying, "I think it is more important that you keep 
it. The author is well known: Leonardo da Vinci." 

Swent: I understand that it's a very valuable resource. 

Wiegel: What I'm doing now and will be doing for the next six months to a 
year is: I've started to catalogue the nine thousand or so 35- 
millimeter slides that I have. 

Swent: You had mentioned that. 

Wiegel: I got back and started it again. It's extremely boring to do it, 

but I know of no other way. Each slide is already labeled as far 

as date and where it was taken, but what I'm doing is looking at 
each one to recall: why did I take that? 

Swent: Making the annotation. 

Wiegel: Then I put in all this on a professional computer program that I 
bought called Papyrus, and this allows me to put in subject 
matters and things of this sort. When this is finished, then I 


will turn over the entire collection to the Water Resources Center 
Archives so that they will be available. 

Swent: It's going to be a very valuable archive. It already is. 

Wiegel: I hope so. 

Swent: Well, I guess that pretty well wraps it up, Bob. 

Wiegel: I think so. 

Swent: Thank you very much again. 

Wiegel: I'm sorry to be so negative about the political thing because I 

see no other way; they are political. It's so difficult. You had 
mentioned something you had just read. 

Final Thoughts on Balancing Coastal Uses 

Swent: Yes. This was something that I read in an environmental 

publication and it's talking about a particular area up in Oregon; 
"A bay and its uplands that still depend primarily on harvesting 
natural resources from private land rather than using them in a 
NEW WEST WAY as a scenic back drop for tourists and those fleeing 
urban life. .. .environmentalists have come in who think they can 
create ecological sustainability through a different form of 
economic development." This is pulled out of context, but the 
unspoken assumption is that harvesting natural resources from 
private landthat, in this case, means loggingis bad, and the 
NEW WEST WAY, a "scenic backdrop for tourists and those fleeing 
urban life" tourists and vacationers is that's good. I thought 
it was interesting. 

Wiegel: Yes. I'm a tourist myself very often. 

Swent: We all love to be tourists and vacationists. 

Wiegel: Dealing with the coastal things and the demands -- 

Swent: This was a coastal project. 

Wiegel: Willapa Bay, I believe you said it was. That's just a little bit 
south of the 

Swent: --Columbia. 

Wiegel: --Columbia River. Willapa Bay. 

Swent: That's what it was, yes. 

Wiegel: I know that area fairly well. It all drains locally there. When 
you have many tourists, you put other pressures on your 
environment. I'm not saying that tourists aren't better than 
logging, but they're both pressures. This is the multiple use. 
How do you sort out whether it's better to build a hotel where you 
have a change over every week or so forth, so many more people can 
use that place to get a look at the coast and so forth. Or you 
permit a house there. A house is going to be less intrusive, but 
on the other hand, many fewer people can take advantage of looking 
at the coast. So you have got that balance. 

I don't play golf, but I'm so appreciative of people who do, 
because there's so many areas where the coast has been put into 
golf courses, and it always looks nice, and you could see across 
it and things of this sort. So there are other ways you can use 
your coast. I think that this is one of things that the 
California Coastal Commission tries to sort out: to try to have 
maximum availability of the coast to people. They recognize these 
different demands. How do you sort out whether a beach should be 
completely safe so little children can go in the water and this 
and that, or can somebody use a surfboard? In southern 
California, as you may know, there are stretches of beach where 
you can use surfboards at certain times of the day, but then you 
can't use them at other times of the day. So they're gradually 
learning how to sort these things out. But again, it has to be 

So tourism certainly may be better than logging, but it's 
got its own class of problems associated with it. That's about 
all I can think. 

Swent: I think that's a good place to stop, Bob. So thanks very much. 
Wiegel: Thank you very much. 

Transcribed by Estevan Sifuentes 
Final Typed by Caroline Sears 


TAPE GUIDE- -Robert Wiegel 

Interview 1: January 8, 1997 

Tape 1, Side A 

Tape 1, Side B 

Tape 2, Side A 

Tape 2, Side B 



Interview 2; 
Tape 3, 
Tape 3, 
Tape A, 

February 4, 1997 
Side A 
Side B 
Side A 

Tape 4, Side B 

Interview 3: February 12, 1997 

Tape 5, Side A 

Tape 5, Side B 

Tape 6, Side A 

Tape 6, Side B 

Tape 7, Side A 

Tape 7, Side B not recorded 

Interview 4: February 19, 1997 
Tape 8, Side A 
Tape 8, Side B 
Tape 9, Side A 
Tape 9, Side B 
Tape 10, Side A 
Tape 10, Side B not recorded 

Interview 5: March 10, 1997 

Tape 11, Side A 

Tape 11, Side B 

Tape 12, Side A 

Tape 12, Side B 

Tape 13, Side A 

Tape 13, Side B not recorded 

Interview 6: March 12, 1997 

Tape 14, Side A 

Tape 14, Side B 

Tape 15, Side A 

Tape 15, Side B 

Tape 16, Side A 

Tape 16, Side B 

Interview 7: March 31, 1997 
Tape 17, Side A 
Tape 17, Side B 












A Guest Editorial, "The Coast and Professor Robert L. 
Wiegel," Thomas R. Kendall, Shore and Beach, 
July 1994. 272 

B "Keynote Address," Ben C. Gerwick, Jr., Shore and Beach. 

July 1994. 274 

C "Professor Wiegel 's Legacy," Choule J. Sonu, Shore and 

Beach. July 1994. 276 

D Robert L. Wiegel, Curriculum Vitae. 279 

E Robert L. Wiegel, Publications, as of 31 December 1996. 287 
F University History Series List. 299 




f ron 

The Coast and Professor Robert L. Wiegel 

Thomas R. Kendall 

July 1994 

Organizational Behavior, the profession with the 
highest job satisfaction is that of the urban university 
professor. I would like to discuss a certain professor, from that 
urban setting known as Berkeley, who normally edits this 
journal. During his career, this coastal engineering pioneer has 
demonstrated a kind of job satisfaction that is contagious and 
has infected many. This issue of Shore &. Beach is in honor of 
that Professor, Robert L. Wiegel. 

This "Wiegel Issue" is the first of two issues that draw 
from material presented at the California Shore and Beach 
Preservation Association (CSBPA) conference held in Profes 
sor Wiegel' s honor. The conference, entitled The Coast and 
Professor Robert L. Wiegel," was held on 9-10 November 1993 
at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. 

Among the presenters acknowledging Professor Wiegel's 
contributions to coastal engineering in California and beyond 

were several of coastal engineering' s senior statesmen, Willard 
N. Bascom, Richard G. Folsom, Cyril J. Galvin, BenC. Gerwick, 
Douglas L. Inman, Joe W. Johnson, Omar J. Lille vang, Orvillc 
T. Magoon, Morgan Noble, Fredric Raichlen, and Warren C. 
Thompson. Inddendy, Dr. Folsom' s title is President Emeritus 
of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute but he also spent much of his 
academic career at the University of California at Berkeley 
where his long list of accomplishments included carrying out 
the first instrumented measurement of waves in the Pacific and 
hiring a young engineer named Robert L. WiegeL 

The next generation of coastal engineers was also well 
represented at the conference with presentations being made by 
such individuals as the present Director of the Coastal Engi 
neering Research Center, Dr. James R. Houston. Professor 
Wiegel's contributions to industry were also recognized by 
Barton W. Shackleford, Retired President of Pacific, Gas, and 
Electric Company. And while the conference tended to have a 


"Senior Statesmen" at The Coast and Professor Robert L Wiegel Conference, held 9-10 November 1993 in San Francisco, (toft to right) 
Omar J. LJHevang, Ben C. Gerwick, Willard N. Bascom, Morgan Noble. Warren C. Thompson. Robert L Wiegel, Barton W. ShackMord, 
and Douglas L Inman. (Photo by Craig B. Leideradort) 


California focus, a slight international flavor was given to the 
gathering by Dr. Choule J. Sonu's delivery of a message from 
Chancellor Horikawa of Japan and by a presentation from A.W. 
Sam Smith of Australia. 

Professor Wiegel was presented with the Professor Joe 
W. Johnson Outstanding Beach Preservation Award. The 
award was recently named after this founding father of CSBPA. 
Professor Johnson himself was physically unable to attend the 
conference but gave a talk via video tape. This video tape is now 
archived at the University of California at Berkeley's Water 
Resource Center Archives. For a good biographical sketch of 
Joe W. Johnson, the reader is referred to Robert L. Wiegel' s 
article in the October 1988 issue of Shore A Beach. 

Professor Wiegel has meant so much to so many. To me, 
he has been instructor, mentor, and employer and he continues 
to be someone I learn from. Dr. Richard J. Seymour remarked 
in his conference message that he has always credited Professor 
Wiegel with single-handedly creating the discipline of ocean 
engineering with his extraordinary text book (Oceanographical 
Engineering, 1964). Dr. Sonu recently commented that Profes 
sor Wiegel has been carrying the empirical torch for coastal 
engineering first lit by Morrough P. O'Brien and Joe W. 
Johnson. Professor Wiegel has never hesitated to acknowledge 
the many mysteries that still remain in this field, to place a high 
value on non-synthetic data, and to challenge his pupils and 
associates to observe coastal processes first hand. 

While he recently retired from active teaching and from 
his role as General Chairman of the International Conference on 


Coastal Engineering, Professor Wiegel remains active in a 
variety of ways with his profession, including as an advisor to 
students. At least that is my perception because I still get calls 
from students who have been referred by him. One of his more 
significant ongoing responsibilities is, of course, his role as 
Editorof Shore < Beach, where he not only edits but also writes 
(witness his thorough treatise on beach nourishment on the 
U.S.'s Pacific Coast in the January 1994 issue). 

This current issue of Shore &. Beach contains reflections 
on Professor Wiegel by Ben C. Gerwick (the conference key 
note speaker) and Choule J. Sonu, Joe W. Johnson's address on 
the beginnings of coastal engineering at the University of 
California or what he likes to refer to as the "Berkeley mafia," 
and four varied but excellent technical entries. The only 
common theme in the technical articles is that the topics are all 
of special interest to our honoree, who's interests are as broad 
as his enthusiasm is great. Again, this is only the first of two 
issues that will be derived from presentations made at the Coast 
and Professor Robert L. Wiegel Conference. With the excep 
tion of some observations from the Gold Coast of Australia, the 
next issue will be more regionally focussed on the shorelines 
near San Francisco. 

Finally, I would like to acknowledge all those who have 
assisted thus far in the review of manuscripts, Robert G. Dean, 
George W. Domurat, Craig H. Everts, Reinhand E. Flick, Joe 
W. Johnson, Craig B. Leidersdorf, Jim McGrath, Robert M. 
Norris, and last but not least, Robert L. Wiegel. 

Some participants at The Coast and Robert L Wiegel Conference, CSBPA, held 9-10 November 1993 in San Francisco. (Photo by Craig B. 

JULY 1994 



Keynote Address 

Ben C. Gerwick, Jr. 

Professor Emeritus, 
University of California at Berkeley 

THIS SYMPOSIUM HAS BEEN assembled to honor 
a great Coastal Engineer, Professor Robert Wiegel. It' s 
indeed very fitting that this be carried out at this Coastal 
Conference and at the time of his retirement from active 
teaching, although I think we all know that Bob can never retire 
from his interest and involvement in Coastal Engineering. 

The respect with which he is held by his associates and 
peers is shown by the prestige of the speakers and participants 
who have gathered to honor him. The titles of the presentations 
cover the many professional aspects of his career. 

Since I don't want to anticipate the material of the other 
speakers, I will address some facets of his life that may not be 
known to all of you, which illustrate his remarkable breath of 
interests and activities. 

Although I had met Bob before, I first got to know him 
well when I joined the University. I initiated a course in the 
construction of offshore structures. He attended every class, 
sitting well to the back, to evaluate this newcomer and to judge 
whether or not he should encourage his students to take my 
course. Fortunately, I passed his rigorous examination. 

Bob is faithful in his support of other teachers, not only 
his fellow professors, but our guest speakers, especially those 
in our Ocean Engineering Symposium, in which many of you 
have participated. He was instrumental in the founding of this 
graduate seminar in Ocean Engineering and has been by far the 
best attendee of all of us. This wouldn'tbesoremarkableexcept 
as one tries to imagine how he managed to fit it into his schedule 
of trips to Washington for the National Academy of Engineer 
ing, overseas trips to chair the International Conference on 
Coastal Engineering, service on the Coastal Engineering Re 
search Board, and a busy teaching and research schedule. 

Bob has been active on the Marine Board of the National 
Academies and the National Research Council for as long as I 
can remember an energetic participant, willing worker, but 
most importantly, one who continually examined and ad 
dressed the future needs of our country and society. 

In the 1970' s Bob participated in the founding of a very 
idealistic international organization, ECOR, the Engineering 
Commission for Ocean Resources, to be under the auspices of 
the UN. It was a noble attempt and for awhile motivated many 
outstanding ocean engineers in both developed and less devel 
oped nations worldwide: several excellent conferences were 
held throughout the world. I attended two in Argentina at which 
all the South American coastal nations were well represented. 

Unfortunately ECOR has diminished as an effective organiza 
tion, not because of lack of interest at the academic and research 
level but because it was radicallyupstaged by the development 
of offshore oil activity in the 1970* s and 80' s and taken over by 
the Offshore Conferences, and by ASME's Offshore Mechan 
ics Group and ASCE's Ocean Engineering Section. Everyone 
wanted to get into the act 

Bob, of course, is known for his pioneering efforts in the 
quantification of wave energy spectra. When the North Sea 
offshore concrete platforms first emerged, there was a great 
divergence as to which spectra to adopt Bob developed a 
modification of the Scott spectrum, which was adopted for all 
the early North Sea platforms and, as far as I know, is still used. 
Similarly, when interest developed in the Gulf of Alaska, Bob 
integrated the Japanese data with those of the Naval Oceano- 
graphic Center at Monterey to produce spectra applicable to the 
Gulf of Alaska. He was one of the first to recognize the 
existence of significant energy in the long period range in the 
Pacific- 20 to 22 seconds and the distances to which this low 
frequency energy could propagate. 

Bob produced his epic, Oceanographical Engineering, in 
1964 and it is still the bible. I can visualize the long nights be 
put in writing such a comprehensive book and the pains he must 
have taken to review, evaluate, and reference every credible 

That brings us to the matter of references. Bob is the 
terror of doctoral students, although eventually they realize that 
a great teacher must be demanding. Bob will not tolerate un 
referenced statements and opinions unless they are backed by 
appropriate data and argument Loose assertions will not pass 
his scrutiny. 

My next venture with Bob was in connection with the 
effect of earthquakes on massive offshore structures such as the 
concrete platforms in the North Sea, and later, those proposed 
for the Gulf of Alaska. Bob recognized the inapplicability of the 
conventional assumptions as to the added mass coefficient 
With one of bis brilliant doctoral students, Bob Byrd, and 
interaction with the rest of the dissertation committee, which 
included Professor Joe Penzien and myself, be confirmed the 
previous analytical work by Professor Jim Garrison, which had 
postulated coefficients approaching 0.5 for large structures, as 
opposed to the conventional 1.0. The results of this research are 
still in use in the North Sea and more recently, offshore 


Bob was interested early on in tsunamis and solitary 
waves formed by landslides into bodies of water, such as those 
which have caused such catastrophic failures in Italy. The 
possibility that a massive underwater explosion could generate 
a tsunami led to Bob's initial employment at the University. 
The Navy was about to conduct the nuclear explosion test at 
Bikini atoll. They were worried that a landslide down the 
underwater slopes could lead to a tsunami such as that which 
had caused such a loss of life in Hilo in 1946. 

This led to his being appointed as one of the members of 
the Hilo Technical Tsunami Advisory Council in 1965. Bob 
has been a leader in alerting our profession to the dominant role 
played by episodic events which impact our coasts: tsunamis, 
great storms and great floods with their massive discharge of 

His chapter on tsunamis in the volume "Earthquake 
Engineering" is a classic exposition of the subject This work 
led him to the coasts of Canada and Alaska, where the impact 
of landslides initiated by earthquakes has been more devastat 
ing in terms of loss of life and property than those due to 
earthquakes themselves. 

Bob was one of the organizers of the week-long short 
course on Earthquake Engineering in 1965. He had organized 
this through University Extension, the first such short course 
ever held at Berkeley. It was a tremendous success: they had 
so many enrollees that they gave it twice. At its conclusion, Bob 
was asked if he would assemble and edit the papers: thus arose 
the classic volume "Earthquake Engineering". 

His enterprise with the University led later to a similar 
conference, also highly successful, in Ocean Engineering. As 
a result. Bob was appointed Chairman of the University-wide 
Committee on University Extension the next year and has 
continued a strong interest and involvement in this means of 
continued interaction with the practicing profession. 

Bob in yet another activity was Director of the State 
Technical Services Program from 1965 to 1968, working with 
the Governor's office and an advisory committee of leading 
industrialists such as David Packard to investigate means of 
transferring new ideas from the research community to indus 
try, a pioneering effort in technology transfer that still is a key 
theme of the National Academy of Engineering. 

Have you noticed how many activities occurred in 1965? 
That must have been a very productive year! 

Bob has had a long term love affair with coastal develop 
ment, especially marinas and breakwaters. His ideal vacation 
is to drive along 1 ,000 miles of beaches in Italy or California or 
Florida with his wife Anne, looking at the efficacy, or more 
often, lack of efficacy, of breakwaters, jetties and groins and the 
positive and negative aspects of intensive coastal development. 

Often on these trips he is diverted by another interest, that 
of marine archeology, especially as it relates to ancient harbors 


in the Mediterranean where so much information concerning 
the early empires has been uncovered in recent years. This 
interest extends to more recent history: a few weeks ago he sent 
me an article on John Smeaton, the designer-builder of the 
Eddystone Lighthouse on the coast of England. As a result of 
his several remarkable successes, Smeaton became the first 
Engineering Consultant, for the article goes on to say," Thus we 
can picture Smeaton, travelling around the country to various 
sites, working on reports and scientific investigations, making 
designs for and advising on all kinds of projects, and giving 
evidence to parliamentary committees, proud to call himself an 
Engineer, conscious of the obligations of his exalted position in 
the profession." 

Does not this also describe Robert Wiegel? 

Incidently it was Smeaton who, in 1750, first recognized 
the tremendous upward forces exerted by waves impacting an 
overhanging structure, in his case, the Eddystone lighthouse 
cornice, which had been broken off by the course. Two hundred 
and thirty five years later. Bob recognized that the initial design 
of the Fisherman's Wharf breakwater would experience similar 
excessive upward wave forces on the horizontal overhang, and 
demonstrated this in the wave tank at Berkeley. The overhang 
ing concrete ledge was modified to give a 10 slope, thus 
minimizing the momentum change. 

Bob's interest in and identification with history never 
ceases. On his last trip, just a few weeks ago, to Genoa, Italy he 
discovered that the ancient mole had been totally destroyed in 
the great storm of February, 1495. The investigation, the first 
recorded oceanographical study, was carried out by one Leonardo 
da Vinci. 

Addressing yet another aspect of his career, Bob has been 
intensely devoted to education and the University. He has 
served many years on committees of the Academic Senate at 
Berkeley. He continues to devote time to the Committee on 
ROTC, carrying forward his own career in the ROTC and the 
Army of almost 50 years ago. He served his country in World 
War II, returning to work with Dean Morrough O'Brien in 
perfecting landing craft and techniques for landing in the surf. 
That's especially dear to me because I spent much of World 
War II careening in the surf in landing craft and attempting to 
get off to safety under the exigencies of enemy fire and breaking 
waves. Needless to say, there was ample room for improvement 
in equipment and technique, as well as the forecasting of surf 

What constitutes engineering genius? I think it's the gift 
of intense interest in all aspects of his own discipline, in related 
disciplines, in all natural phenomena. But most of all, it's the 
priceless gift of enthusiasm which is contagious and makes us 
all perform better. So, thank you Bob Wiegel, and don't stop. 

JULY 1994 



Robert L Wtogel in hi* office )u*t bster* rwtfremn t from the IMvmfy 
of CaMbmfe, Ifay 1987. (Photo by Anon.) 

Bob and Anne Wegel on the Great wal of China, 9 Spl 1965 (Photo 
by Jarry Efeen berg.) 


Uorrough P. O*Brfn, Jo* W. Johnson and Robert l_ Wlege* t the 
O-Brten Sympoelum-, 23-24Uarcn 1 987. (Ptioloby Anon.) 

Professor Wiegel's Legacy 


Choule J. Sonu 
President, Techmarine, Inc. 

THE CSBPA MEETING HELD in San Francisco last 
November in which Professor Bob Wiegel's contribu 
tions to coastal engineering were the featured topic of 
discussion, gave me an occasion to reminisce about the impor 
tance of this man to my career of some 30 years as a coastal 
engineer in this country. When Jim Houston, Director of 
CERC, confessed at the meeting that in his professional work 
he relied more heavily on Bob's 1964 book "Oceanographical 
Engineering" than on the CERC manual, I cried to myself 
"welcome to the club" and felt that like Jim, I also owe him a 

I ha ve not had the fortune to attend Berkeley nor any other 
U.S. schools, yet I have profited as handsomely by being a loyal 

student of Bob's writings. Aside from providing practical 
knowledge, Bob's writings have always reminded me of what 
the main stream of coastal engineering is all about - the respect 
of facts and experience, rather than of boldness and deductions. 
It was always inspiring to learn through his papers how little, 
rather than bow much, we know abut Nature's processes. We 
would never succeed in outguessing the Mother Nature, yet 
advancements in coastal engineering will still come in steps 
with our ability to digest the lessons handed down by her. Bob' s 
work is the hallmark of this basic principle of main stream 
coastal engineering, and for this reason many of his contribu 
tions will stand the test of time, as has his 1964 book. 



J.M.Wwgel and Robert LWiegeJ in front of the Cathedral in Le Mans, 
France,about1 July 1945. (Photo by Anon.) 

R. L Wiogel, R. Adm. Doy te and M.P. O'Brien at Testa of Amphibious 
Vehicle*, FortOrd, California, February 1950. 

yejunn" ~- 

CM. Snyder, R L Wiegel, H.A. Einstein and Joe W. Johnson, in front 
of Sponger* Fwh Restaurant, Berkeley, Oct 1967. (Photo by Anon.) 

Demolition of the Old Hydraulics Laboratory (Mechanics Building). 
University of California, 1965. (Photo by Anon.) 

Robert L Wiegel in Papua New Guinea, 20 July 1975 

any L Edge and R.L Wiegel at the 16th ICCE, Hamburg, Germany, 
Sept 1978. (Photo by Anon.) 

JULY 1994 


Coartal Engineering Raaarcn Board, U.S. Army Corp* of Engl- 
naara, about 1 980. Left to right: B. a Robinson, Rl_ Wlagat, U Q 
LMrta, M G Heib erg, R.O. Daan, BO WaUa (Photo courtesy Corp. 
Of Engineer*, U.S. Army) 

Coaatal Engineering Rinaroh CouncU Maaflng In Nw York, NY. 
Stainflng, Ml to right Om, Magoon, BattfM. SwAad: BIJkar, Nobta, 
SavOia^Wlagd.29Sapt1fl8& (Photo by Anon.) 

Raid tMtoat Diablo Canyon Nuctear Power Plant, PaeMcQaa&ElacMe 
C0.196& (Photo, courtesy PQAE) 

Opening Caramony, 22 ICC,Dm,TnNe1hc1an<J. Left to right 
Egb1Prin, wiknown, PrinoaKIaua, RJ_\Mgt, unknown, unknown. 
2July199a (Photo courte^.lCCE Organizing Committee) 

Opwilng day, 23rd ICCE, Venice, Italy, 5Ocobar1 982 Vanloefloodod. (Photobyltallan Organizing Commltlaa) 



Biodata for: 


Professor of Civil Engineering, Emeritus APPENDIX D 

University of California 
Berkeley, California 94720 

Born: October 17, 1922, San Francisco, California 

B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1943 
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1949 

Professional Experience: 

1942-46 U.S. Army, Ordnance Corps, to 1st Lieutenant 

1 946-60 Assistant and Associate Research Engineer, University of California, Berkeley 

1957-60 Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley 

1 960-63 Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, UC Berkeley 

1 963-87 Professor of Civil Engineering, UC Berkeley 

1 963-72 Assistant Dean, College of Engineering, UC Berkeley 

1 965-68 Director, State Technical Services Program for California, UC, University- 

1972-73 Acting Dean, College of Engineering, UC Berkeley 

1987-present Professor Emeritus 

Professional Registration: 

Registered Professional Engineer in the State of California 

Professional and Scientific Societies: 

Member, National Academy of Engineering (Elected 1975) 

Member, Committee on Membership, 1978-83 

President (Founding), International Engineering Committee on Oceanic Resources (ECOR), 
1972-75. Honorary Member, 1987- 
Honorary Member and Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers 

Chairman, Executive Committee, Waterways, Harbors and Coastal Engineering Division 

(1974-75); Member, 1971-76 

Chairman, Coastal Engineering Research Council, 1978-1992 

Chairman, Project Steering Committee, U.S. /Japan Exchange Program of Eminent Civil 

Engineers-Underwater, 1977-78 

Chairman, Task Committee on Wave Forces on Structures, 1 963-64 

Member, Task Committee on Sand Bypassing, 1 964-65 

Member, Task Committee on Water Resources (previously) 

Member, Committee on Oceanographic and Hydrographic Surveying and Charting 


Member, Committee on Reliability of Offshore Structures (previously) 

Member, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, Vice President and Director, 
1988-1995. Director Emeritus 1995- 

Member, Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses 
Member, Sigma Xi 
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 


Robert L. Wiegel Page 2 

Service to Professional Societies and Government Agencies: 

Chairman, First Conference on Coastal Engineering Instruments, Council on Wave 

Research, The Engineering Foundation, held in Berkeley, CA, 1 955 

Hilo Technical Advisory Council, Board of Supervisors, Hawaii County, Hawaii, 1 962 

Vice Chairman, Local Organizing Committee, 13th General Assembly, International Union of 

Geodesy and Geophysics, Berkeley, California, 1963 

Member, Papers Committee and Wave Forces Committee, Permanent International 

Association of Navigation Congresses (PIANC), 1963-65 

Member, U.S. -Japan Cooperative Science Program: Participant Coastal Engineering 

Seminar in Japan, March 1964; Tsunami Seminar in Japan, 1965 

Consultant, Redevelopment Agency of Crescent City, CA, protection from tsunamis, 

1 964-65 

Member, American Society of Engineering Education; member Executive Committee, 

Pacific Section, 1965-66 

Member, San Francisco Bay Area Relations with Industry Committee, 1963-64 

Visiting Professor, National University of Mexico, Mexico DF, July/August 1965 

Member, Panel on Research Education and Information Dissemination, Committee on 

Ocean Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, 1966-69 

Commissioner, California Governor's Advisory Commission on Ocean Resources (GACOR), 


Member, Committee on Earthquake Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, 

1967-69, Chairman, Panel on Coastal Engineering and Inland Waters 

Invited Lecture: "Protection of Populated Areas from Tsunamis," Pacific Science Congress, 

Tokyo, Japan, 1966 

Commissioner, California Advisory Commission on Marine and Coastal Resources (CMC), 


Chairman, Committee on Marine Transportation, Non-living Resources and Power Plants 

Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Trade 

Member, Steering Committee: International Decade of Ocean Exploration, National 
Academy of Science and National Academy of Engineering, 1968-69 

Chairman, Ad Hoc Panel on the International Working Group, Committee on Ocean 
Engineering (Ex-officio Member, National Academy of Engineering) 1968-70 
Lecture on tsunamis at San Francisco Meeting of Office of Emergency Preparedness, 
Geological Hazards and Public Problems, Executive Office of the President, May 1969 
Reporter-General, XXII International Navigation Congress, Paris, France, June 1969 
Official U.S. Department of State Observer to Meeting of UNESCO's Intergovernmental 
Oceanographic Commission, 1969 

U.C. Representative, Consortium Committee, Kanpur Indo-American Program, 1969-71 
Invited Lecture, 8th World Petroleum Congress, Moscow, USSR, 1971 
Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Coastal Marine Science, Academic Press, Inc., Ltd., 
London, from founding in 1971 until 1988 

Member, Editorial Board, International Association for Hydraulic Research, 1971-75 
Member, Editorial Board, Ocean Citation Journal, Ocean Index, 1971-77 
Ex-Officio Member, Marine Board of National Academy of Engineering, 1971-75 
Member, U.S. Navy, Office of Naval Research, Natural Hazards Review Board, 1973-74 
Member, Honorary Committee for the International Ocean Development Conference, Japan, 
Member, Coastal Engineering Research Board, Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1974-85 


Robert L. Wiegel Page 3 

Member, Marine Board, National Academy of Engineering, National Research Council 


Chairman, Panel on Harbor/Port Entrance Design, 1980-81 

Chairman, Panel on Verification Guidelines for Offshore Structures, 1977-78 

Member, Advisory Panel on the International Decade of Ocean Exploration (IDOE), National 

Science Foundation 

Consultant to US. Committee on International Ocean Affairs (CIOA) and Panel on 

International Programs and Cooperation in Ocean Affairs (PIPICO), U.S. Department of 

State, 1976-80 

Lecture Series, Design of Small Harbors, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, 

India, January 1980 

General Chairman, Seventeenth International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Sydney, 

Australia, 23-28 March 1980 

General Chairman, Symposium on Problems and Opportunities on the Design of Entrances 

to Ports and Harbors, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., August 1980 

Chairman, International Conference on Directional Wave Spectra Applications, 

ECOR/Marine Board/ASCE, 1982 

Member, National Research Council, Panel of the Committee on Earthquake Engineering, 


U.S. Representative, UNESCO/IOC/ECOR Workshop on Advanced University Curricula in 

Ocean Engineering and Related Fields, 1982 

General Chairman, Eighteenth International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Cape Town, 

Republic of South Africa, 14-19 November 1982 

Chairman, Committee on Assessment of the Maritime Administration's Computer-Aided 

Operations Research Facility (CAORF), National Research Council, 1983 

Member, Advisory Council of the Permanent Secretariat of the International Conferences on 

Coastal and Port Engineering in Developing Countries, 1984-1995 

Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Natural Hazards and Research Needs in Coastal and Ocean 

Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering Division, National Science Foundation, and 

the Office of Naval Research, 1 984 

General Chairman, Nineteenth International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Houston, 

Texas, 3-7 September 1 984 

Member, National Research Council Committee on Engineering Implications of Changes in 

Relative Mean Sea Level, 1984-87 

Member, Monterey Bay Shoreline Study: Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, 

State of California Resources Agency, Department of Boating and Waterways, 1985-86 

Member (University of California Representative), Marine Division, National Association of 

State Universities and Land-grant Colleges, 1985- 

Member, Planning Committee on International Conference on Measuring Techniques of 

Hydraulic Phenomena in Offshore Coastal and Inland Waters, London, England, 9-1 1 April 


General Chairman, Twentieth International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Taipei, 

Taiwan, Republic of China, 9-14 November 1986 

General Chairman, Symposium to Honor Morrough P. O'Brien: Working Solutions : Shore 

and Beach, University of California, Berkeley, California, sponsored jointly by the American 

Shore and Beach Preservation Association, the ASCE Coastal Engineering Research 

Council, the ASCE Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering Division, and the 

University of California at Berkeley College of Engineering, 23-24 March 1987 

Member, Technical Review Committee for Bolsa Chica Bay, City of Huntington Beach, 

California, 1988-91 

Member, Committee on Coastal Erosion Zone Management, National Research Council, 



Robert L. Wiegd Page 4 

General Chairman, Twenty-first International Conference on Coastal Engineering, 

Torremolinos, Spain, 20-25 June 1988 

Editor Shore & Beach, The Journal of the American Shore and Beach Preservation 

Association, 1988-January 1996 

Member, Steering Committee: Hurricane Hugo Workshop, ASBPA, 21-22 May 1990, Folly 

Beach, North Carolina 

General Chairman, Twenty-second International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Delft, 

The Netherlands, 2-6 July 1990 

Adviser, City of Redondo Beach, California on Redondo (King) Harbor, 1991 

Adviser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Engineering Research Center, on Yaquina 

Jetty, Oregon, 1990-91 

General Chairman, Twenty-third International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Venice, 

Italy, 4-9 October 1 992 

Member, Committee on Beach Nourishment and Protection, National Research Council 

(Marine Board), 1992-1994 

Reviewer, "Shoreline Erosion Assessment and Atlas of the San Diego Region" for the San 

Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), 1993 

Member, Advisory Committee, HYDRO-PORT '94, Yokosuka, Japan, October 1994 

Chairman, Peer Review Group: Assessment of the State of Florida's Coastal Construction 

Control Line (CCCL) Program, for the University of Florida and the State of Florida's 

Department of Environmental Protection, 1993-1995 

Member, Review Committee, Barrow Beach Nourishment Project, North Slope Borough, 

Alaska, Science Advisory Committee, July-August 1994 

Consultant, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, Coast of California Storm 

and Tidal Waves Study, South Coast Region (Orange County), 1996 

Honors and Awards 

1962 Research Prize, American Society of Civil Engineers for relating oceanography to the 

practice of civil engineering 
1965 Special Lecture, Strategic Industries Association, Los Angeles, California 

1 968 Listed in Who's Who 

1969 General Lecture, Symposium to Dedicate the Delft Hydraulics Laboratory Facilities, 
Delft, The Netherlands 

1969 U.S. Department of State Observer to UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic 

1971 Participant, White House and NATO sponsored "International Meeting on 

1972 General Lecture, Symposium on Flow-induced Structural Vibrations, IUTAM-IAHR, 
Karlsruhe, Germany 

1973 USC-TRW Distinguished Lecturer 

1974 Listed in "Engineers of Distinction: A Who's Who in Engineering," The Engineers 
Joint Council 

1975 Elected Member, National Academy of Engineering 

1975-77 Adviser to the Secretary of Minerals and Energy, Papua New Guinea 

1976 Theme Lecture, Symposium on Present-Day Challenge of the Sea, Wageningen, The 

1976 Visiting Professor, Polish Academy of Science 

1976 Participant, National Meeting on Science, Technology and Development, Chaired by 
the Secretary of State 

1977 Senior Queens Fellow in Marine Science, Australia 


Robert L Wiegel 


1977 Keynote Lecture, 6th Australasian Conference on Hydrualics and Fluid Mechanics, 
Adelaide, SA, Australia 

1 978 Lecture to Directors of the Suez Canal Authority, Egypt 
1 978 Visiting Professor, University of Cairo, Egypt 

1 978 Moffatt-Nichol Harbor and Coastal Engineering Award, ASCE 

1 979 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 

1979 Special Lecture, National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India, 31 December 

1980 General Lecture, Ocean Engineering IV, Tainan, R.O.C. 

1981 General Lecture, XIX Congress, IAHR, New Delhi, India 

1983 Special Advisor to Egypt and UN Development Program on the Coastal Protection 
Plan for the Nile Delta, 1983-85 

1984 Keynote Address, ECOR International Conference-1984: Ocean Energy, Its 
Potentialities for Developing Countries, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2-5 October 1984 

1985 Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 

1 985 International Coastal Engineering Award, American Society of Civil Engineers 

1986 Keynote Address, International Conference on Measuring Techniques of Hydraulic 
Phenomena in Offshore, Coastal and Inland Waters, London, England, 9-1 1 April 

1986 Luncheon Talk, Hawaii Conference on Beach Erosion, Honolulu, 27 June 1986 
1 987 Berkeley Citation, University of California at Berkeley 

1 987 Theme Lecture, Second International Conference on Coastal and Port Engineering in 
Developing Countries, Beijing, China, September 1987 

1987 Honorary Member, International Engineering Committee on Oceanic Resources. 
Elected 19 October 1987, London, England 

1988 General Lecture, Giornate Di Studio Sullo Stato DeH'Arte Nell'lngegneria Delia Coste, 
Bari, Italy, 24-25 March 1988 

1988 Keynote Address, Beach Preservation Technology 88: Problems and Advances in 

Beach Nourishment, Gainesville, Florida 23-25 March 1988 
1 988 Visiting Professor, Polish Academy of Sciences, 29-June-8 July 1988 
1988 Honorary Member, American Society of Civil Engineers 

1992 Coastal Engineering 1992. Proceedings of the Twenty-third International 
Conference, October 4-9, 1992, Venice, Italy. Dedicated to Professor 
Robert L. Wiegel, ASCE, 3 volumes, 3,516 pages 

1993 The Second International Symposium on Ocean Wave Measurement and Analysis. 
Honoring: Professor Robert L. Wiegel, July 25-28, 1993, New Orleans, Louisiana, 
USA. ASCE Specialty Conference 

1993 Coastal Zone Foundation Award. Professor Robert L. Wiegel - in recognition of his 

leadership and inspiration in ocean wave measurement, theory and application at 

WAVES 93, New Orleans, LA, July 26-29, 1993 
1993 ASCE Special Award. "In recognition of his pioneering contributions to coastal and 

ocean engineering research and for inspiration provided to his students and 

colleagues - presented to Professor Robert L. Wiegel, July 1 993 
1993 Giornate Italiane di Ingegneria Costera, held in Genoa, Italy, 28-29 October 1993; 

opened the conference and gave opening remarks, by invitation 
1 993 The Coast and Professor Robert L. Wiegel, CSBPA Annual Conference, November 9- 

10, 1993, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, California American Shore and Beach 

Preservation Association/California Section 

1993 Joe W. Johnson Outstanding Beach Preservation Award, California Shore & Beach 
Preservation Association 

1994 Conference Room at Coastal Engineering Research Center, U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, Vicksburg, MS, named the Robert L. Wiegel Conference Room 


Robert L. Wiegel Page 6 

1994 Two issues of the journal Shore & Beach were dedicated to Robert L. Wiegel, 
publishing the papers given at the conference held in his honor in November 1993. 
The issues were: Vol. 62, No. 3, July 1994, pp. 2-52 and Vol. 62, No. 4, October 
1994, pp. 1-36. 

1995 Morrough P. O'Brien Award, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association 

1996 Keynote Address, 25th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Orlando, FL, 
2-6 September 1 996 

1 996 Honorary Member, Japan Society of Civil Engineers 


Robert L Wiegel Page 7 


More than 155 publications and 100 technical reports on various phases of ocean engineering, 
including the book Oceanographical Engineering and editor of the books Coastal Engineering 
Instruments, Earthquake Engineering, and Directional Wave Spectra Applications. Also, a 
number of consulting reports. In addition, supervised 26 Ph.D. theses. 

Note: In addition to the work presented in publications, hydraulic model tests (towing tank) 
were performed in 1 954 as a part of the pre-feasibility studies of the underwater launching of 
the Polaris missile for the U.S. Navy. 

Main Fields of Interest: 

Nearly all areas of coastal engineering, including: cooling water systems for power plants, 
wave forces on offshore structures and pipelines, beach erosion control, harbor arrangements 
(breakwaters, wave and currents, entrances, etc.), tsunamis, ocean wave spectra. 

Major University of California Committee Memberships: 

Office of the President 

Executive Committee, Institute of Marine Resources, 1966-72 

Task Committee on the Extended University, 1969-72 

Chairman, Study Group One, 1970 All-University Faculty Conference, 1969-70 

U.C. Representative to the Kanpur Indo-American Program, 1969-72 

Sea Grant Coordinating Council, 1970-74 

Chairman, Search Committee, Director of IMR, 1970-71 

Universitywide Council on Engineering Education, 1972-73 

Coordinating Board, Water Resources Center, 1982-87 

Chairman, Search Committee, Director of the Water Resources Center, 1986 

Chairman, Institute of Marine Resources 5-Year Review Committee, 1987 


Advisory Committee to the Student and Alumni Placement Center, 1 964-70; Chairman, 


Committee for Professional Education, 1 969-73 

Executive Committee, Earthquake Engineering Research Center, 1970-74 

Chairman, Ad Hoc Review Committee, Center for Research in Management Science, 


Advisory Committee to the Military Officers' Education Program, 1978- ; Chairman, 

1987-88, 1992-93. Member, Committee on Fleet Admiral Nimitz Memorial Lectureship 

on National Security Affairs, 1 

Faculty Club 

Board of Directors, 1971-73 
President, 1973 


Robert L. Wiegel Page 8 

Academic Senate 

University Extension, Chairman, 1965-67 

Chairman, Universitywide Committee on University Extension, 1966-67, 1969-72 

Chairman, Rules and Jurisdiction, 1968-70, 1976-77, 1978-81 

Universitywide Committee on Rules and Jurisdiction, 1976-77, 1978-81 

Parliamentarian, 1978-79 

Committee on Committees, 1982-84 

Committee on Privilege and Tenure, 1986-87 

Secretary, 1988-89 

College of Engineering 

Dean's Coordinating and Advisory Council, 1964-73 

Committee on Engineering in the Ocean Environment, 1964-70, 1971-72, 1975- ; 

Chairman 1984-87 

Committee on TV, 1973-74 

Executive Committee, Earthquake Engineering Research Center, 1 975-80 

Interdisciplinary Studies Advisory Committee, 1984-87 

Collegewide Working Group on Fluid Mechanics, 1987-88 

Department of Civil Engineering 
Executive Committee, 1975-77 

Committee on Alumni and Professional Relations, 1978-85 
Graduate Affairs Committee, 1981-85 
Numerous other committees 


1 thesis, 157 published books and papers, 97 technical reports 

A. Thesis 

1. Some Studies of Surface Waves in Shoaling Water, M.S. Thesis in Mechanical 
Engineering, December 1948. 

B. Published Papers and Books 

1. "Oscillatory Waves: Diagrams and Tables of Relationships Commonly Used in 
Investigations of Surface Waves," Bulletin of Beach Erosion Board, Corps of 
Engineers, U. S. Army, Special Issue No. 1, July 1948, by R. L. Wiegel. 

2. "The Measurement of Wave Heights by Means of a Float in an Open-End Pipe," 
Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 501-506, Aug. 1949, by J. D. 
Isaacs and R. L. Wiegel. 

3. "An Analysis of Data from Wave Recorders on the Pacific Coast of the United 
States," Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 700-704, Oct. 1949, by 
R. L. Wiegel. 

4. "Experimental Study of Surface Waves in Shoaling Water," Trans. Amer. Geophys. 
Union, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 377-385, June 1950, by R. L. Wiegel. 

5. The Thermopile Wave Meter," Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, vol. 31, no. 5, 
pp. 71-716, Oct. 1950, by J. D. Isaacs and R. L. Wiegel. 

6. "Southern Swell Observed at Oceanside, California," Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, 
vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 717-722, Oct. 1950, by R. L. Wiegel and H.L. Kimberley. 

7. "Elements of Wave Theory," Proc. First Conf. on Coastal Engineering, Council on 
Wave Research, The Engineering Foundation, Ch. 2, pp. 5-21, 1951, by R. L. Wiegel 
and J. W. Johnson. 

8. Manual of Amphibious Oceanography, Pentagon Printing Office, 1750 pp., 
R. L. Wiegel, Project Engineer and Editor. 

9. "Near-Coastal Storms and Associated Waves," Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, vol. 
33, no. 2, pp. 217-225, April 1952, by D. K. Todd and R. L. Wiegel. 

10. Waves, Tides, Currents and Beaches: Glossary of Terms and List of Standard 
Symbols, Council on Wave Research, The Engineering Foundation, 113 pp., July 
1953, by R. L Wiegel. 

1 1 . Gravity Waves, Tables of Functions, Council on Wave Research, The Engineering 
Foundation, 30 pp., Feb. 1954, by R. L. Wiegel. 

12. "Wave, Longshore Current, and Beach Profile Records for Santa Margarita River 
Beach, Oceanside, California, 1949," Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, vol. 35, no. 6, 
pp. 887-896, Dec. 1954, by R. L. Wiegel, D. A. Patrick and H. L. Kimberley. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 2 - Publications 

13. "Amphibian Tractors in the Surf," Proc. First Conf. on Ships and Waves, Council on 
Wave Research, The Engineering Foundation, and the Society of Naval Architects 
and Marine Engineers, pp. 397-422, 1955, by D. A. Patrick and R. L. Wiegel. 

14. "Laboratory Studies of Gravity Waves Generated by the Movement of a Submerged 
Body," A.I.O.P., Proc. - verb. no. 6, pp. 246-247, 1955, (see No. 15 for full paper 
on subject), by R. L. Wiegel. 

15. "Laboratory Studies of Gravity Waves Generated by the Movement of a Submerged 
Body," Trans. Amer. Geophy. Union, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 759-774, Oct. 1955, by 
R. L. Wiegel. 

16. "Wave Transformation in Shoaling Water," Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, vol. 36, 
no. 6, pp. 975-984, Dec. 1955, by R. L. Wiegel and R. A. Fuchs. 

17. Proceedings of the First Conference on Coastal Engineering Instruments, Council on 
Coastal Engineering Instruments, Council on Wave Research, The Engineering 
Foundation, 302 pp., 1956. R. L. Wiegel, Conference Organizer and Editor. 

18. "Thermopile Water Meter," Proc. First Conf. on Coastal Engineering Instruments, 
Council on Wave Research, The Engineering Foundation, pp. 101-110, 1956, by 
R. L. Wiegel and J. D. Isaacs. 

19. "Parallel Wire Resistance Wave Meter," Proc. First Conf. on Coastal Engineering 
Instruments, Council on Wave Research, The Engineering Foundation, pp. 39-43, 
1956, by R. L. Wiegel. 

20. "The Design Wave in Shallow Water," Proc. ASCE, vol. 82, Rep. no. 910, 21 pp., 
March 1956, by R. L. Wiegel and K. E. Beebe. 

21 "A Laboratory Study of Short-Crested Wind Waves," U. S. Army, Corps of 
Engineers, Beach Erosion Board, Tech. Memo. 140, 81, 28 pp., June 1956, by 
G. C. Rails, Jr., and R. L. Wiegel. 

22. "Ocean Wave Forces on Circular Cylindrical Piles," Jour. Hyd. Div., ASCE, vol. 83, 
no. 1199, 35 pp., April 1957, by R. L. Wiegel, K. E. Beebe and James Moon. Also 
issued in Transactions of the ASCE, vol. 124, pp. 89-1 16, 1959. 

23. "Many Companies Now Considering Moored Ships Rather Than Fixed Platforms," 
Offshore Drilling, vol., 4, no. 4, p. 28, April 1957, by R. L. Wiegel. 

24. "Model Study of Floating Drydock Mooring Force," Proc. Symposium on the 
Behavior of Ships in a Seaway, Wagoningen, Netherlands, pp. 563-583, Sept. 1957, 
by R. L. Wiegel, R. W. Clough, R. A. Dilley, and J. B. Williams. Also published in 
International Shipbuilding Progress, vol. 6, no. 56, pp. 147-159, April 1959. 

25. "Wave Measurements along the California Coast," Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, 
vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 667-674, Oct. 1957, by R. L. Wiegel and J. Kukk. 

26. Discussion of "Properties of Shoaling Waves by Theory and Experiment," Trans. 
Amer. Geophys. Union, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 760-761, Oct. 1957, by R. L. Wiegel. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 3 - Publications 

27. "Model Study of Wave Refraction," Beach Erosion Board, U. S. Army, Corps of 
Engineers, Tech. Memo. No. 103, 31 pp., Dec. 1957, by R. L. Wiegel and 
A. L. Arnold. 

28. "Breaking Wave Force Prediction," Jour. Waterways and Harbors Div., ASCE, 
vol. 84, Paper no. 1573, 14 pp, March 1958, by R. L. Wiegel and R. E. Skjei. 

29. "Water Gravity Waves Generated by a Moving Low Pressure Area," Trans. Amer. 
Geophys. Union, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 224-236, April 1958, by R. L. Wiegel, 
C. M. Snyder and J. B. Williams. 

30. "Model Studies on the Dynamics of an LSM Moored in Waves," Proc. 6th Conf. on 
Coastal Engineering, pp. 844-877, June 1958, by R. L. Wiegel, K. E. Beebe and 
R. A. Dilley. 

31. "Laboratory Facilities for Studying Water Gravity Wave Phenomena, 'Proc. 6th Conf. 
on Coastal Engineering, pp. 231-251, June 1958, by C. M. Snyder, R. L. Wiegel and 
K. J. Bermel. 

32. "Model Study of Floating Drydock Mooring Forces," International Shipbuilding 
Progress, Vol. 6, No. 56, April 1959, pp. 147-159, by R. L. Wiegel, R. W. Clough, 
R. A. Dilley, and J. E. Williams. 

33. "Sand Bypassing at Santa Barbara, California," Jour. Waterways and Harbors 
Division, ASCE, vol. 85, no. WW2, Paper no. 2066, pp. 1-30, June 1959, by 

R. L. Wiegel. 

34. "Model Study of Mooring Forces on Docked Ship," Jour. Waterways and Harbors 
Divisin, ASCE, vol. 85, no. WW2, Paper no. 2071, pp. 115-134, June 1959, by 
R. L. Wiegel, R. A. Dilley and J. B. Williams. 

35. Investigation of Current Measurement in Estuarine and Coastal Waters, State of 
California, State Water Pollution Control Board, Sacramento, California, Publication 
no. 19, 132 pp., 1959, by J. W. Johnson and R. L. Wiegel. 

36. "A Presentation of Cnoidal Wave Theory for Practical Application," Jour, of Fluid 
Mechanics, vol. 7, part 2, pp. 273-286, 1960, by R. L. Wiegel. 

37. "Transmission of Waves Past a Rigid Vertical Thin Barrier," Jour. Waterways and 
Harbors Div., Proc. ASCE, vol. 86, no. WW1, Paper no. 2413, pp. 1-12, March 
1960, by R. L. Wiegel. 

38. "Ocean Currents: Measurement and Analysis of Data," Waste Disposal in the 
Marine Environment, Pergamon Press, pp. 175-245, 1960, by R. L. Wiegel and 
J. W. Johnson. 

39. "Wind Waves and Swell," Proc. 7th Conf. on Coastal Engineering, Council on Wave 
Research, The Engineering Foundation, pp. 1-40, 1961, by R. L. Wiegel. 

40. Cnoidal Waves: Tables of Functions, Council on Wave Research, The Engineering 
Foundation, 129 pp., March 1961, by Frank D. Masch and R. L. Wiegel. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 4 - Publications 

41. "Closely Spaced Piles as a Breakwater," The Dock & Harbour Authority (London), 
vol. 42, no. 491, p. 150, Sept. 1961, by R. L. Wiegel. 

42. "Diffraction of Waves by Semi-infinite Breakwater," Jour. Hyd. Div., Proc. ASCE, 
vol. 88, no. HY1, pp. 27-44, Jan. 1962, by R. L. Wiegel. 

43. "Model Study of Oscillations of Hebgen Lake," Bull. Seismological Society of 
America, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 273-277, April 1962, by R. L. Wiegel and 
Data Camotim. 

44. Protection of Hilo from Tsunamis, for the Board of Supervisors, Hawaii County, 
Hawaii, by the Hilo Technical Tsunami Advisory Council, 17 pp., April 1962, by 
D. Cox, M. Homma, M. Suzuki, R. Takahasi and R. L. Wiegel. 

45. "Hovering Breakwater," Jour. Waterways and Harbors Div., Proc. ASCE, vol. 88, 
no. WW2, pp. 23-50, May 1962, by R. L. Wiegel, H. W. Shen, and J. D. Gumming. 

46. "Solitary Wave Behavior at Concave Barriers," The Port Engineer, Calcutta, India, 
pp. 4-8, October 1962, by R. L. Wiegel and Gunnar Sigurdsson. 

47. "Research Related to Tsunamis Performed at the Hydraulic Laboratory, University of 
California, Berkeley," Proc. of the Tsunami Meetings Associated with the Tenth 
Pacific Science Congress, International Assoc. of Geodesy and Geophysics, 
Monograph No. 24, pp. 174-197, July 1963. 

48. "Some Engineering Aspects of Wave Spectra," Conference on Ocean Wave Spectra, 
Easton, Md., May 1-4, 1961, National Academy of Sciences, National Research 
Council, Prentice-Hall, Inc., pp. 309-321, 1963. 

49. "Attenuation of Wind Waves by a Hydraulic Breakwater," Proc. 8th Conf. on Coastal 
Engineering, Council on Wave Research, The Engineering Foundation, pp. 500-520, 
1963, by J. A. Williams and R. L. Wiegel. 

50. "Water Wave Equivalent of Mach-Reflection," Proc. 9th Conf. on Coastal 
Engineering, ASCE, pp. 82-102, 1964, by R. L. Wiegel. 

51. Oceanographical Engineering, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 532 pp. ,1964, by R. L. Wiegel. 

52. "Waves of Destruction," manuscript of radio program - University Explorer, 
University of California, 1 7 May 1 964, by R. L. Wiegel. 

53. "Coastal Engineering in Japan," Civil Engineering, vol. 34, no. 12, pp. 76-77, 
December 1 964, by R. L. Wiegel and Kiyoshi Horikawa. 

54. Possibility of Tsunamis at Bodega Head, and Forces Exerted by Such Tsunamis, 
Consulting report to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, 30 pp., September 1964, 
by R. L. Wiegel. 

55. Protection of Crescent City, California, from Tsunami Waves, Consulting Report to 
The Redevelopment Agency of the City of Crescent City, 114 pp., 5 March 1965, 
by R. L. Wiegel. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 5 - Publications 

56. "Discharge of Warm Water Jet Over Sloping Bottom," Proc. of the Golden Jubilee 
Symposia - Central Water and Power Research Station, Poona, India, 1966, by 
R. L. Wiegel, I. Mobarek and Yuan Jen. 

57. "Surface Discharge of Horizontal Warm-Water Jet," Jour. Power Div., Proc. ASCE, 
vol. 92, no. P02, April 1966, by Yuan Jen, R. L. Wiegel, and I. Mobarek. 

58. "Generation of Wind Waves," Jour. Waterways and Harbors Div., Proc. ASCE, 
vol. 92, no. WW2, May 1966, by R. L. Wiegel and R. H. Cross. 

59. Physically Feasible Means for Protecting Hilo from Tsunamis, for the Board of 
Supervisors, Hawaii County, Hawaii, by the Hilo Technical Tsunami Advisory 
Council, 38 pp., 31 December 1965, by D. Cox, M. Homma, M. Suzuki, 
R. Takahasi, and R. L. Wiegel. 

60. "Wave Theory," The Encyclopedia of Oceanography, Reinhold Publishing Corp., 
New York, pp. 977-986, 1966, by R. L. Wiegel. 

61. "Diffraction of Wind Generated Water Wave," Proc. 10th Conf. on Coastal 
Engineering, ASCE, vol. 1, pp. 185-206, 1966, by I. E. Mobarek and R. L. Wiegel. 

62. "Discharge of Warm Water Jet Over Sloping Bottom," Proc. of the Golden Jubilee 
Symposia, Central Water and Power Research Station, Poona, India, vol. 2, 
pp. 144-163, January 1966, by R. L. Wiegel, I. Mobarek and Y. Jen. 

63. "Surface Discharge of Horizontal Warm Water Jet," Jour. Power Div., Proc. ASCE, 
vol. 92, no. P02, pp. 1-30, April 1966, by Y. Jen, R. L. Wiegel and I. Mobarek. 

64. "Generation of Wind Waves," Jour. Waterways and Harbors Div., Proc. ASCE, 
vol. 92, no. WW2, pp. 1-26, May 1966, by R. L. Wiegel and R. H. Cross. 

65. "Diffraction of Wind Generated Water Waves," Proc. Tenth Conf. on Coastal 
Engineering, ASCE, vol. 1, pp. 185-206, 1966, by I. E. Mobarek and R. L. Wiegel. 

66. Preliminary Seiche and Tsunami Study in Regard to the Proposed Construction of an 
Isthmain Sea Level Canal by Nuclear Methods, Report to AEC via John A. Blume and 
Associates, 57 pp., December 1967, by R. L. Wiegel. 

67. "Waves and Their Effects on Pile-Supported Structures," Symposium: Research on 
Waves, Delft Hydraulics Laboratory, pp. 1-43, March 1969, by R. L. Wiegel. 

68. "Model Study of a Submerged Buoyant Tank in Waves," 1969 Offshore Technology 
Conference, pp. 695-712, 1969, by R. L. Wiegel, R. A. Dilley, S. F. Whisenand and 
J. B. Williams. 

69. General Report - Methods for Deciding Limiting Design Conditions ... Marine 
Structures, XXII International Navigation Congress, Paris, France, 23 pp., June 
1969, by R. L. Wiegel. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 6 - Publications 

70. "Seismic Sea Waves," Geologic Hazards and Public Problems, May 27-28, 1969, 
Conference Proceedings, Edited by Robert A. Olson and Mildred M. Wallace, Office 
of Emergency Preparedness, Region Seven, Superintendent of Documents, 
pp. 53-75, 1969, by R. L. Wiegel. 

71. "Coastal and Inland Waters," Earthquake Engineering Research, National Academy 
of Sciences, Washington, D. C., pp. 233-265, 1969, by R. L. Wiegel et al. 

72. "Horizontal Surface Discharge of Warm Water Jets," Jour. Power Div., Proc. ASCE, 
vol. 95, no. P02, pp. 253-276, October 1969, by Nobuyuki Tamai, Robert L. 
Wiegel, and Gordon F. Tornberg. 

73. "Tsunamis," Chapter 11 of Earthquake Engineering, edited by Robert L. Wiegel, 
Prentice-Hall, Inc., pp. 253-306, 1970, by R. L. Wiegel. 

74. Earthquake Engineering, Robert L. Wiegel-Coordinating Editor, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 
518 pp., 1970. 

75. "Water Waves Generated by Landslides in Reservoirs," Jour. Waterways and 
Harbors Div., Proc. ASCE, vol. 96, no. WW2, pp. 307-333, May 1970, by Robert L. 
Wiegel, Edward K. Noda, Edward M. Kuba, Dennis M. Gee, and Gordon T. Tornberg. 

76. "Some Aspects of Coastal Engineering," Proc. of Seminar on Coastal Engineering, 
May 29-30, 1970, Vancouver, B. C., Vancouver Branch of The Engineering Institute 
of Canada and The University of British Columbia, pp. 1-91, May 1970, by 
R. L. Wiegel. 

77. "Ocean Dynamics," Chapter 3 of Hydronautics, edited by H. E. Sheets and 
V. T. Boatwright, Jr., Academic Press, pp. 123-228, 1970, by R. L. Wiegel. 

78. "Floating Breakwater for Reservoir Marinas" (with Kenneth Chen), Proc. of the 
Twelfth Int. Coastal Eng. Conf., ASCE, vol. Ill, Chap. 100, 1970, pp. 1647-1966. 

79. "Characterization of the New Situation Constituted by Great Water Depths and the 
Severe Conditions of Marine Environment: Evaluation of the Corresponding 
Constraints," Proc. of the Eighth World Petroleum Congress, Elsevier Publishing 
Company, Ltd., England, Panel Discussion 3, 1971, pp. 1-20. 

80. "Waves and Their Effects on Pile Supported Structures," Seminar Proc.: Topics in 
Ocean Engineering, Circular No. 41, Engineering Experiment Station, Oregon State 
University, Corvallis, Oregon, 1971, pp. 113-159. 

81. "International Engineering Committee on Oceanic Resources," Shore and Beach, 
vol. 39, no. 1, 1971, pp. 32-34. 

82. "Waves Generated by Horizontal Motion of a Wall" (with M. M. Das), Jour. 
Waterways, Harbors and Coastal Engineering Div., Proc. ASCE, vol. 98, no. WW1, 
1972, pp. 49-65. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 7 - Publications 

83. Closure to "Water Waves Generated by Landslides in Reservoirs," Jour. Waterways, 
Harbors and Coastal Engineering Div., Proc. ASCE, vol. 98, no. WW1, 1972, 
pp. 72-74. 

84. "Velocity and Temperature in Buoyant Jet" (with Richard Dornhelm and 
Manuel Nouel), Jour. Power Div., Proc. ASCE, vol. 98, no. P01, 1972, pp. 29-48. 

85. "Research, Education and Information Dissemination" (with coauthors), Toward 
Fulfillment of a National Ocean Commitment, National Academy of Engineering, 
1972, pp. 233-253. 

86. Engineering Design to Prevent Abuse of the Ocean (with coauthors), U. S. National 
Committee for ECOR, National Academy of Engineering, First General Assembly of 
ECOR, London, England, 16-18 March 1972. 

87. "Excitation of Waves Inside a Bottomless Harbor" (with coauthors), Proc. 13th 
Coastal Engineering Conf., July 10-14, 1972, Vancouver, B. C., Canada, ASCE, 
vol. Ill, 1973, pp. 2005-2023. 

88. General Review of the Seismic Hazard to Selected U. S. Navy installations, by the 
ONR Natural Hazards Review Board (C. R. Allen, P. C. Jennings, H. B. Seed and 
R. L. Wiegel), 30 December 1973. 

89. "Some Comments on Structures," Proc. MacArthur Workshop on the Feasibility of 
Extracting Usable Energy from the Florida Current, Palm Beach Shores, Florida, 27 
February-1 March 1974, ed. by Harris B. Stewart, Jr., 1974, pp. 202-213. 

90. "Ocean Wave Spectra, Eddies and Structural Response: General Lecture," 
Flow-Induced Structural Vibrations: IUTAM-IAHR Symposium, Karlsruhe, 1972, ed. 
by Eduard Naudascher, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1974, pp. 531-586. 

91. "Wave-Induced Eddies and 'Lift' Forces on Circular Cylinders" (with R. C. Delmonte), 
Proc. Ninth Symposium on Naval Hydrodynamics, Paris, France, August 20-25, 
1 972, vol. 1 : Unconventional Ships and Ocean Engineering, ed. by R. Brard and A. 
Castera, ACR-203, Office of Naval Research, Dept. of Navy, 1974, U. S. 
Government Printing Office, pp. 761-791. 

92. "Engineers' Concern with Waves, and Their Measurement," Proc. Int. Symposium on 
Ocean Wave Measurement and Analysis, September 9-11, 1974, New Orleans, 
Louisiana, vol. II, ASCE, New York, New York, 1974, pp. 1-21. 

93. Marine Pipelines: Annotated Bibliography, (with George L. Bowie), prepared for 
Short Course, Harbors, Ports, and Offshore Terminals, January 27-31, 1975, 
Continuing Education in Engineering, University Extension and College of 
Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1975, 61 pp. 

94. "Design of Offshore Structures Using Wave Spectra," Oceanology International 75, 
16/21 March 1975, Brighton, England, Conference Papers, 1975 BPS Exhibitions 
Limited, Society for Underwater Technology, London, England, 1975, pp. 233-243. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 8 - Publication! 

95. "The Significance of Harbors," Chapter III, Symposium on the Present-Day Challenge 
of the Sea, Wageningen, The Netherlands, May 13 and 14, 1976, Netherlands Ship 
Model Basin, The Netherlands, 1976, pp. 111,1-111,16. 

96. "The Use of Environmental Data in the Design of Ocean Structures," Proc. Conf. on 
Marine and Freshwater Research in Southern Africa, 5-1 July 1 976, S.1 22, Council 
for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa, entire proceedings on 
microfische, Microfische Card 3, 22 pp. 

97. "Tsunamis," Chapter 7, Seismic Risk and Engineering Decisions, ed. by C. Lomnitz 
and E. Rosenblueth, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co., Amsterdam, Netherlands, 
1976, pp. 225-286. 

98. Report on Model Study of Cooling Water System of Pacific Gas and Electric 
Company Nuclear Power Plant Located at Diablo Canyon, California (with 
V. W. Harms, B. Safaie, J. D. Gumming, R. P. Delia, C. B. Leidersdorf and 
C. Young), Technical Report No. HEL 27-2, Hydraulic Engineering Laboratory, 
University of California, Berkeley, Calif., January 1976, 113 pp. Also published as 
Supplement Nol. 8 to the Diablo Canyon Environmental Report (Docket Nos. 
50-275-OL and 50-323-OL), 4 February 1976, to the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory 

99. "3-D Hydraulic Model of Waves Generated by Displacement" (with Shin-Lin Liu), 
Proc. Fifteenth Conf. on Coastal Engineering, 11-17 July 1976, Honolulu, Hawaii, 
ASCE, Chapter 63, 1976, pp. 1060-1078. 

1 00. Possibility of Tsunamis along the Bataan Coast, Between Entrance to Manila Bay and 
Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, Report to Ebasco Services, Inc., June 1976, 
63 pp. 

101 . Hydraulic Laboratory Studies of Mixing of Buoyant Liquid Waste in the Ocean: Final 
Report, Report to the Water Resources Center of the University of California, 
Technical Report No. HEL 23-6, Hydraulic Engineering Laboratory, University of 
California, Berkeley, Calif., July 1977, 25 pp. 

102. Nearshore Currents in the Vicinity in Diablo Canyon, California, 1967 and 1972-76 
(with Joan Gosink), Report to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Technical 
Report No. HEL 27-3, Hydraulic Engineering Laboratory, University of California, 
Berkeley, Calif., August 1977, 155 pp.; also, in Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

103. "Fluid Mechanics of the Nearshore Zone," Preprints of the Sixth Australasian 
Hydraulics and Fluid Mechanics Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, 5-9 
December 1977, The Institution of Engineers, Australia, Part 1, 1977, pp. 145-154. 

104. Port Considerations, Purari Project, Papua New Guinea, Report IV, Report to the 
Office of Minerals and Energy, Papua New Guinea, 31 March 1977, 9 pp. 

105. Marine Pipelines: An Annotated Bibliography (with George L. Bowie), U. S. Army 
Corps of Engineers Coastal Engineering Research Center, Miscellaneous Report 
No. 77-2, March 1977, 58 pp. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 9 - Publications 

106. "Mixing of Liquid Wastes at Sea," Forefront, College of Engineering, Univ. of 
California, Berkeley, 1977, pp. 2-5. 106. 

107. Report of Civilian Advisers on the Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division, 
California Coastal Data Collection Program (with M. P. O'Brien and Robert G. Dean), 
Report to the Director, Civil Works, Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army, May 1 978. 

108. "Waves and Wave Spectra Design Estimates," Notes for University Extension Short 
Course, Deep-Sea Oil-Production Structures, 23-27 January 1978, Berkeley, 81 pp. 

109. "Wind-generated Wave Diffraction by Breakwater Gap" (with Hooshang Raissi), 
Proc. 16th Int. Conf. on Coastal Engineering, August 27-September 3, 1979, 
Hamburg, Germany, ASCE, vol. 1, Chapter 34, pp. 609-627. 

110. Beach Erosion, Seadrift, California. Coastal Engineering Data and Analysis: 
Summary of Problem and Remedial Action, a report to Seadrift Property Owners 
Association, 8 January 1979, 68 pp. plus appendices. 

111. Recommendations Concerning Waves and Wave-Induced Forces, Trestle and 
Unloading Pier, Hadera Offshore Coal Unloading Terminal, a report to S. Yaron-J. 
Shimon! Consulting Engineers, Ltd., Tel Aviv, Israel, containing a detailed review of 
their design, and all other reports. May 1979, 52 pp. 

112. "Tsunamis along the West Coast of Luzon, Philippines," Proc. 17th Coastal Eng. 
Conf., 23 to 28 March 1980, Sydney, Australia, ASCE, vol. I, Chapter 41, 
pp. 652-671. 

113. "Engineering Aspects of Beach and Nearshore Bottom Changes," Proc. 4th Conf. on 
Ocean Eng. in Republic of China, September 1980, Chinese Institute of Civil and 
Hydraulic Engineering, Taiwan, ROC, pp. 1-24. 

114. "Near Seafloor Characteristics of Waves," Notebook for Recent Developments in 
Ocean Engineering, Univ. of California Extension, Berkeley, Calif., 24-27 Feb. 1981, 
65 pp. 

115. "An Engineer's Concern with Beach and Nearshore Bottom Changes," Proc. XIX 
IAHR Congress, New Delhi, India, 1-7 Feb. 1981, International Association for 
Hydraulic Research, vol. VI, pp. 56-85. The General Lecture. 

116. "Introduction," Problems and Opportunities in the Design of Entrances to Ports and 
Harbors: Proc. of a Conference, August 13-15, 1980, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Panel 
on Harbor/Port Entrances (R. L. Wiegel, Chairman), Marine Board, National Research 
Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D. C., 1981, pp. 1-7. 

117. Directional Wave Spectra Applications '81 Proceedings, R. L. Wiegel editor, ASCE, 
550 pp., April 1982. 

118. Breakwater Damage by Severe Storm Waves and Tsunami Waves, Report to the 
Pacific Gas & Electric Company. This was a formal submitta! to the U. S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, 5 March 1982, 73 pp. 


Robert L. Wiegel -10- Publications 

119. Pipeline Oscillation in Wind, and Its Prevention. Report to Santa Fe Engineering 
Services Company, June 1982, 1 18 pp. 

120. "Opposing Wave Effect on Momentum Jets Spreading Rate" (with Nabil M. Ismail), 
Jour. Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Division, Proc. ASCE, vol. 1-09, no. 
WW4, November 1 983, pp. 465-483. 

121. "Development of Ocean Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley: A 
Case Study," 20 pp. Reproduced by UNESCO as the position paper for developed 
countries, UNESCO/IOC/ECOR Workshop on Advanced University Curricula in Ocean 
Engineering and Related Fields, UNESCO, Paris, 11-16 October 1982. 

122. "Forces Induced by Breakers on Piles," Proc. 18th Coastal Engineering Conf., 14-19 
Nov. 1982, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, ed. by Billy L. Edge, ASCE, vol. II, 
ch. 102, pp. 1699-1715. 

1 23. Report of the Committee to Assess the Computer Aided Operations Research Facility 
(CAORFJ, National Research Council, October 1983, 23 pp. (with others, 
R. L. Wiegel Chairman). 

124. "Water Wave Forces," Proc. CCNAA-AIT Joint Seminar on Research for Multiple 
Hazards Mitigation, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, 
January 16-19, 1984, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, March 
1984, pp. 337-367. 

125. "Cooling Water Recirculation in the Ocean" (with John T. Wells and Michele A. 
Murdoch), Twentieth Coastal Engineering Conference, Proceedings of the 
International Conference, November 9-14, 1986, Taipei, Taiwan, ed. by Billy L. 
Edge, ASCE, vol. Ill, pp. 2694-2705. 

126. Responding to Changes in Sea Level. Engineering Implications, by Committee on 
Engineering Implications of Changes in Relative Mean Sea Level (Robert L. Wiegel, 
committee member), Marine Board, National Research Council, National Academy 
Press, Washington, D.C., 1987, 147 pp. 

127. "Trends in Coastal Erosion Management," Shore & Beach, vol. 55, no. 1, January 
1987, pp. 3-11. 

128. "Biographical Sketch of Morrough Parker O'Brien," Shore & Beach, vol. 55, 
nos. 3/4, July/October 1987, pp. 6-14. 

129. "Cooling of Ocean Water: Model/Field Comparison" (with M. J. Doyle, Jr.,), Shore 
& Beach, vol. 55, nos. 3/4, July/October 1987, pp. 38-53. 

130. "Physical Model Verification of a Coastal Discharge" (with P. J. Ryan, S.W. Tu, and 
N. M. Ismail), Hydraulic Engineering, Proceedings of the 1987 National Conference 
on Hydraulic Engineering, Williamsburg, Virginia, August 3-7, 1987, ASCE, 
pp. 1106-1111. 


Robert L. Wiegel - 11 - Publications 

131. "Current Trends in Coastal Engineering," The General Lecture, 1987 Proceedings of 
Coastal & Port Engineering in Developing Countries. Beijing, China, September 7-11, 

1987, China Ocean Press, China, Vol. I, pp. 46-57. 

132. "Keynote Address: Some Notes on Beach Nourishment," Beach Preservation 
Technology 88. Problems and Advancements in Beach Nourishment, Proceedings, 
Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association, Tallahassee, Florida 32301, 1988, 
pp. 1-18. 

133. "Mixing of Thermal Discharges in Coastal Waters" (with N. M. Ismail, P. J. Ryan and 
S. W. Tu), Twenty-First Coastal Engineering Conference, Proceedings of the 
International Conference, June 20-25, 1988, Costa del Sol - Malaga, Spain, ed. by 
Billy L. Edge, ASCE, vol. 3, pp. 2521-2535. 

134. "Coastal Engineering Trends and Research Needs," Twenty-First Coastal Engineering 
Conference, Proceedings of the International Conference, June 20-25, 1 988, 
Costa del Sol, Malaga, Spain, ed. by Billy L. Edge, ASCE, Vol. 1, pp. 1-13. 

135. "Biographical Sketch of Joe W. Johnson," Shore & Beach, vol. 56, no. 4, October 

1988, pp. 7-12. 

136. "Global Warming, Sea Level Rise and Coastal Impact" (with Stephen Leatherman), 
Proceedings, 6th Terminal Operations Conference, 1 990, Amsterdam, The 
Netherlands, The Journal of ICHCA, Cargo Systems International, U.K., pp. 13-17. 

137. Managing Coastal Erosion by Committee on Coastal Erosion Zone Management 
(Robert L. Wiegel, committee member), Water Science and Technology Board/Marine 
Board, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 
1990, 182 pp. 

138. "Coastal Forum: Transformation of Swell Over a Reef" Shore & Beach, vol. 58, 
no. 2, April 1990, p. 30 plus color cover. 

139. "Editorial. Beach Nourishment: The Need for a Detailed Scientific and Engineering 
Evaluation of Coastal Processes, Environmental Data and Project Performance," 
Shore & Beach, vol. 59, no. 3, July 1991, p. 2. 

140. "Coastal Engineering Research Needs," by Ad Hoc Committee on Coastal 
Engineering Needs (Robert L. Wiegel, Chairman), ASCE Coastal Engineering Research 
Council, Shore & Beach, vol. 59, no. 4, October 1991, pp. 4-7. 

141. "Some Complexities of Coastal Waves, Currents, Sand and Structures," Shore & 
Beach, vol. 60, no. 1, January 1992, pp. 21-33. 

142. "Editorial. Beach Nourishment, Sand By-passing, Artificial Beaches: Bibliography of 
Articles in the ASBPA Journal Shore & Beach," Shore & Beach, vol. 60, no. 3, July 
1992, pp. 3-5. 

143. "Dade County, Florida, Beach Nourishment and Hurricane Surge Protection," Shore 
& Beach, vol. 60, no. 4, October 1992, pp. 2-28. 


Robert L. Wiegel -12- Publications 

145. "Hurricane and Coastal Storm Surge Barriers in New England," Shore & Beach, 
vol. 61, no. 2, April 1993, pp. 30-49. 

146. "Dana Point Harbor, California," Shore & Beach, vol. 61, no. 3, July 1993, 
pp. 37-55. 

147. "Shore & Beach Observations: Artificial Beach Construction with Sand/Gravel Made 
by Crushing Rock," Shore & Beach, Vol. 61, No. 4, October 1993, pp. 28-29 plus 

148. "Ocean Beach Nourishment on the USA Pacific Coast," Shore & Beach, Vol. 62, 
No. 1, January 1994, pp. 11-35. 

149. "Review of the Barrow Beach Nourishment Project," by North Slope Borrough 
Science Advisory Committee, 1-3 August 1994, NSB-SAC-OR-130, 23 pages plus 8 
appendices. Meeting at Barrow, Alaska. Science Advisory Committee for the 
Barrow Beach Nourishment Project: John Kelly (Chair), Max Brewer, Jack Colonell, 
Robert G. Dean, John Goering, John B. Herbich, David L. Kriebel, A. Sathy Naidu, 
Jesse Walker and Robert L. Wiegel. 

150. "Learning from Success - A History of Beach Nourishment in America," Preprint of 
Luncheon Talk, Annual Conference, American Shore and Beach Preservation 
Association, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 5 October 1994, 25 pp. 

151. "Editorial: Time for a Change," Shore & Beach, Vol. 63, No. 4, October 1995, p. 2 
and color cover. 

152. "A Bit of History, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii," Shore & Beach, Vol. 63, No. 4, October 

1995, pp. 34-36. 

153. Sea Level and Coastal Areas Panel Report for: Engineering Response to Global 
Climate Change-A Workshop for Planning a Research and Development Agenda, 
organized by the U.S. National Institute for Global Change, Report of Univ. of 
Florida/COEL/MP-95/01, November 1995, 36 pp., by Ashish J. Mehta (Chair), 
Robert G. Dean, Hans Kunz, Victor J. Law, Zal S. Tarapore, Robert L. Wiegel. 

154. Beach Nourishment and Protection, by Committee on Beach Nourishment and 
Protection (Robert L. Wiegel, Member), Marine Baord, National Research Council, 
National Academy Press, December 1 995, 336 pp. 

155. "History of Coastal Engineering in the USA," by Robert L. Wiegel and Throndike 
Saville, Jr., History and Heritage of Coastal Engineering (ed. by Nicholas C. Kraus), 
ASCE, 1996, pp. 513-600. 

156. "Nile Delta Erosion," Letter to the Editor, Science, Vol. 272, No. 5260, 19 April 

1996, p. 337, byR. L Wiegel. 

1 57. Final Letter Report: Coast of California Storm and Tidal Waves Study, South Coast 
Region (Orange County), report to U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles 
District, 1 1 November 1 996, 33 pp. 








October 1997 


Documenting the history of the University of California has been a 
responsibility of the Regional Oral History Office since the Office was 
established in 1954. Oral history memoirs with University-related persons 
are listed below. They have been underwritten by the UC Berkeley 
Foundation, the Chancellor's Office, University departments, or by 
extramural funding for special projects. The oral histories, both tapes 
and transcripts, are open to scholarly use in The Bancroft Library. 
Bound, indexed copies of the transcripts are available at cost to 
manuscript libraries. 


Adams, Frank. Irrigation, Reclamation, and Water Administration. 1956, 
491 pp. 

Amerine, Maynard A. The University of California and the State's Wine 
Industry. 1971, 142 pp. (UC Davis professor.) 

Amerine, Maynard A. Vine Bibliographies and Taste Perception Studies. 
1988, 91 pp. (UC Davis professor.) 

Bierman, Jessie. Maternal and Child Health in Montana, California, the 
U.S. Children's Bureau and WHO, 1926-1967. 1987, 246 pp. 

Bird, Grace. Leader in Junior College Education at Bakers field and the 
University of California. Two volumes, 1978, 342 pp. 

Birge, Raymond Thayer. Raymond Thayer Birge, Physicist. 1960, 395 pp. 

Blaisdell, Allen C. Foreign Students and the Berkeley International 
House, 1928-1961. 1968, 419 pp. 

Blaisdell, Thomas C., Jr. India and China in the World War I Era; New 
Deal and Marshall Plan; and University of California, Berkeley. 
1991, 373 pp. 

Blum, Henrik. (In process.) Professor Emeritus, Health Policy & 

Bowker, Albert. Sixth Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley, 
1971-1980; Statistician, and National Leader in the Policies and 
Politics of Higher Education. 1995, 274 pp. 


Brown, Delmer M. (In process.) Professor of Japanese history, 1946- 

Chaney, Ralph Works. Paleobotanist, Conservationist. 1960, 277 pp. 

Chao, Yuen Ren. Chinese Linguist, Phonologist, Composer, and Author. 
1977, 242 pp. 

Constance, Lincoln. Versatile Berkeley Botanist: Plant Taxonomy and 
University Governance. 1987, 362 pp. 

Corley, James V. Serving the University in Sacramento. 1969, 143 pp. 
Cross, Ira Brown. Portrait of an Economics Professor. 1967, 128 pp. 

Cruess, William V. A Half Century in Food and Wine Technology. 1967, 
122 pp. 

Davidson, Mary Blossom. The Dean of Women and the Importance of 
Students. 1967, 79 pp. 

Davis, Banner. Founder of the Institute of Transportation and Traffic 
Engineering. 1997, 173 pp. 

DeMars, Vernon. A Life in Architecture: Indian Dancing, Migrant 

Housing, Telesis, Design for Urban Living, Theater, Teaching. 
1992, 592 pp. 

Dennes, William R. Philosophy and the University Since 1915. 1970, 
162 pp. 

Donnelly, Ruth. The University's Role in Housing Services. 1970, 
129 pp. 

Ebright, Carroll "Ky". California V.arsity and Olympics Crew Coach. 
1968, 74 pp. 

Eckbo, Garrett. Landscape Architecture: The Profession in California, 
1935-1940, and Telesis. 1993, 103 pp. 

Elberg, Sanford S. Graduate Education and Microbiology at the 

University of California, Berkeley, 1930-1989. 1990, 269 pp. 

Erdman, Henry E. Agricultural Economics: Teaching, Research, and 
Writing, University of California, Berkeley, 1922-1969. 1971, 
252 pp. 

Esherick, Joseph. An Architectural Practice in the San Francisco Bay 
Area, 1938-1996. 1996, 800 pp. 

Evans, Clinton W. California Athlete, Coach, Administrator, 
Ambassador. 1968, 106 pp. 

Foster, Herbert B. The Role of the Engineer's Office in the Development 
of the University of California Campuses. 1960, 134 pp. 


Gardner, David Pierpont. A Life in Higher Education: Fifteenth 

President of the University of California, 1983-1992. 1997, 
810 pp. 

Grether, Ewald T. Dean of the UC Berkeley Schools of Business 

Administration, 1943-1961; Leader in Campus Administration, Public 
Service, and Marketing Studies; and Forever a Teacher. 1993, 
1069 pp. 

Hagar, Ella Barrows. Continuing Memoirs : Family, Community, 

University. (Class of 1919, daughter of University President David 
P. Barrows.) 1974, 272 pp. 

Hamilton, Brutus. Student Athletics and the Voluntary Discipline. 
1967, 50 pp. 

Harding, Sidney T. A Life in Western Water Development. 1967, 524 pp. 

Harris, Joseph P. Professor and Practitioner: Government, Election 
Reform, and the Votomatic. 1983, 155 pp. 

Hays, William Charles. Order, Taste, and Grace in Architecture. 1968, 
241 pp. 

Heller, Elinor Raas. A Volunteer in Politics, in Higher Education, and 
on Governing Boards. Two volumes, 1984, 851 pp. 

Helmholz, A. Carl. Physics and Faculty Governance at the University of 
California Berkeley, 1937-1990. 1993, 387 pp. 

Heyman, Ira Michael. (In process.) Professor of Law and Berkeley 
Chancellor, 1980-1990. 

Heyns, Roger W. Berkeley Chancellor, 1965-1971: The University in a 
Turbulent Society. 1987, 180 pp. 

Hildebrand, Joel H. Chemistry, Education, and the University of 
California. 1962, 196 pp. 

Huff, Elizabeth. Teacher and Founding Curator of the East Asiatic 

Library: from Urbana to Berkeley by Way of Peking. 1977, 278 pp. 

Huntington, Emily. A Career in Consumer Economics and Social Insurance. 
1971, 111 pp. 

Hutchison, Claude B. The College of Agriculture, University of 
California, 1922-1952. 1962, 524 pp. 

Jenny, Hans. Soil Scientist, Teacher, and Scholar. 1989, 364 pp. 

Johnston, Marguerite Kulp, and Joseph R. Mixer. Student Housing, 
Welfare, and the ASUC. 1970, 157 pp. 

Jones, Mary C. Harold S. Jones and Mary C. Jones, Partners in 
Longitudinal Studies. 1983, 154 pp. 


Joslyn, Maynard A. A Technologist Views the California Wine Industry. 
1974, 151 pp. 

Kasimatis, Amandus N. A Career in California Viticulture. 1988, 54 pp. 
(UC Davis professor.) 

Kendrick, James B. Jr. From Plant Pathologist to Vice President for 
Agricultural and Natural Resources, University of California, 
1947-1986. 1989, 392 pp. 

Kingman, Harry L. Citizenship in a Democracy. (Stiles Hall, University 
YMCA.) 1973, 292 pp. 

Roll, Michael J. The Lair of the Bear and the Alumni Association, 1949- 
1993. 1993, 387 pp. 

Kragen, Adrian A. A Law Professor's Career: Teaching, Private Practice, 
and Legislative Representation, 1934 to 1989. 1991, 333 pp. 

Kroeber-Quinn, Theodora. Timeless Woman, Writer and Interpreter of the 
California Indian World. 1982, 453 pp. 

Landreth, Catherine. The Nursery School of the Institute of Child 

Welfare of the University of California, Berkeley. 1983, 51 pp. 

Langelier, Wilfred E. Teaching, Research, and Consultation in Water 
Purification and Sewage Treatment, University of California at 
Berkeley, 1916-1955. 1982, 81 pp. 

Lehman, Benjamin H. Recollections and Reminiscences of Life in the Bay 
Area from 1920 Onward. 1969, 367 pp. 

Lenzen, Victor F. Physics and Philosophy. 1965, 206 pp. 

Leopold, Luna. Hydrology, Geomorphology, and Environmental Policy: U.S. 
Geological Survey, 1950-1972, and the UC Berkeley, 1972-1987. 
1993, 309 pp. 

Lessing, Ferdinand D. Early Years. (Professor of Oriental Languages.) 
1963, 70 pp. 

McGauhey, Percy H. The Sanitary Engineering Research Laboratory: 
Administration, Research, and Consultation, 1950-1972. 1974, 
259 pp. 

McCaskill, June. Herbarium Scientist, 1/niversity of California, Davis. 
1989, 83 pp. (UC Davis professor.) 

McLaughlin, Donald. Careers in Mining Geology and Management, 
University Governance and Teaching. 1975, 318 pp. 

Merritt, Ralph P. After We Cometh a Builder, the Recollections of Ralph 
Palmer Merritt. 1962, 137 pp. (UC Rice and Raisin Marketing.) 

Metcalf, Woodbridge. Extension Forester, 1926-1956. 1969, 138 pp. 


Meyer, Karl F. Medical Research and Public Health. 1976, 439 pp. 
Miles, Josephine. Poetry, Teaching, and Scholarship. 1980, 344 pp. 
Mitchell, Lucy Sprague. Pioneering in Education. 1962, 174 pp. 

Morgan, Elmo. Physical Planning and Management: Los Alamos, University 
of Utah, University of California, and AID, 1942-1976. 1992, 
274 pp. 

Neuhaus, Eugen. Reminiscences: Bay Area Art and the University of 
California Art Department. 1961, 48 pp. 

Newell, Pete. UC Berkeley Athletics and a Life in Basketball: Coaching 
Collegiate and Olympic Champions; Managing, Teaching, and 
Consulting in the NBA, 1935-1995. 1997, 470 pp. 

Newman, Frank. Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, 

1946-present, Justice, California Supreme Court, 1977-1983. 1994, 
336 pp. (Available through California State Archives.) 

Neylan, John Francis. Politics, Law, and the University of California. 
1962, 319 pp. 

Nyswander, Dorothy B. Professor and Activist for Public Health 
Education in the Americas and Asia. 1994, 318 pp. 

O'Brien, Morrough P. Dean of the College of Engineering, Pioneer in 
Coastal Engineering, and Consultant to General Electric. 1989, 
313 pp. 

Olrao, Harold P. Plant Genetics and New Grape Varieties. 1976, 183 pp. 
(UC Davis professor.) 

Ough, Cornelius. Recollections of an Enologist, University of 
California, Davis, 1950-1990. 1990, 66 pp. 

Pepper, Stephen C. Art and Philosophy at the University of California, 
1919-1962. 1963, 471 pp. 

Pitzer, Kenneth. (In process.) Professor, College of Chemistry. 

Porter, Robert Langley. Physician, Teacher and Guardian of the Public 
Health. 1960, 102 pp. (UC San Francisco professor.) 

Reeves, William. Arbovirologist and Professor, UC Berkeley School of 
Public Health. 1993, 686 pp. 

Revelle, Roger. Oceanography, Population Resources and the World. 
1988. (UC San Diego professor.) (Available through Archives, 
Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California, San 
Diego, La Jolla, California 92093.) 

Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. (In process.) Professor of Russian and 

European Intellectual History, University of California, Berkeley, 


Richardson, Leon J. Berkeley Culture, University of California 

Highlights, and University Extension, 1892-1960. 1962, 248 pp. 

Robb, Agnes Roddy. Robert Gordon Sproul and the University of 
California. 1976, 134 pp. 

Rossbach, Charles Edwin. Artist, Mentor, Professor, Writer. 1987, 
157 pp. 

Schnier, Jacques. A Sculptor's Odyssey. 1987, 304 pp. 

Schorske, Carl E. (In process.) Professor, Department of History. 

Scott, Geraldine Knight. A Woman in Landscape Architecture in 
California, 1926-1989. 1990, 235 pp. 

Shields, Peter J. Reminiscences of the Father of the Davis Campus. 
1954, 107 pp. 

Sproul, Ida Wittschen. The President's Wife. 1981, 347 pp. 

Stampp, Kenneth M. (In process.) Historian of Slavery, the Civil War, 
and Reconstruction, University of California, Berkeley, 1946-1983. 

Stern, Milton. The Learning Society: Continuing Education at NYU, 
Michigan, and UC Berkeley, 1946-1991. 1993, 292 pp. 

Stevens, Frank C. Forty Years in the Office of the President, 
University of California, 1905-1945. 1959, 175 pp. 

Stewart, George R. A Little of Myself. (Author and UC Professor of 
English.) 1972, 319 pp. 

Stripp, Fred S. Jr. University Debate Coach, Berkeley Civic Leader, 
and Pastor. 1990, 75 pp. 

Strong, Edward W. Philosopher, Professor, and Berkeley Chancellor, 
1961-1965. 1992, 530 pp. 

Struve, Gleb. (In process.) Professor of Slavic Languages and 

Taylor, Paul Schuster. 

Volume I: Education, Field Research, and Family, 1973, 342 pp. 
Volume II and Volume III: California Water and Agricultural Labor, 
1975, 519 pp. 

Thygeson, Phillips. External Eye Disease and the Proctor Foundation. 
1988, 321 pp. (UC San Francisco professor.) 

Tien, Chang-Lin. (In process.) Berkeley Chancellor, 1990-1997. 
Towle, Katherine A. Administration and Leadership. 1970, 369 pp. 


Townes, Charles H. A Life In Physics: Bell Telephone Laboratories and 
WWII, Columbia University and the Laser, MIT and Government 
Service; California and Research in Astrophysics. 1994, 691 pp. 

Underbill, Robert M. University of California: Lands, Finances, and 
Investments. 1968, 446 pp. 

Vaux, Henry J. Forestry in the Public Interest: Education, Economics, 
State Policy, 1933-1983. 1987, 337 pp. 

Wada, Yori. Working for Youth and Social Justice: The YMCA, the 

University of California, and the Stulsaft Foundation. 1991, 
203 pp. 

Waring, Henry C. Henry C. Waring on University Extension. 1960, 
130 pp. 

Wellman, Harry. Teaching, Research and Administration, University of 
California, 1925-1968. 1976, 259 pp. 

Wessels, Glenn A. Education of an Artist. 1967, 326 pp. 

Westphal, Katherine. Artist and Professor. 1988, 190 pp. (UC Davis 
professor. ) 

Whinnery, John. Researcher and Educator in Electromagnetics, 

Microwaves, and Optoelectronics, 1935-1995; Dean of the College of 
Engineering, UC Berkeley, 1950-1963. 1996, 273 pp. 

Wiegel, Robert L. (In process.) Coastal Engineering: Research, 
Consulting, and Teaching, 1946-1997. 

Williams, Arleigh. Dean of Students Arleigh Williams: The Free Speech 
Movement and the Six Years' War, 1964-1970. 1990, 329 pp. 

Williams, Arleigh and Betty H. Neely. Disabled Students' Residence 
Program. 1987, 41 pp. 

Wilson, Garff B. The Invisible Man, or, Public Ceremonies Chairman at 
Berkeley for Thirty-Five Years. 1981, 442 pp. 

Winkler, Albert J. Vltlcultural Research at UC Davis, 1921-1971. 1973, 
144 pp. 

Woods, Baldwin M. University of California Extension. 1957, 102 pp. 

Wurster, William Wilson. College of Environmental Design, University of 
California, Campus Planning, and Architectural Practice. 1964, 
339 pp. 



Blake Estate Oral History Project. 1988, 582 pp. 

Architects landscape architects, gardeners, presidents of UC 
document the history of the UC presidential residence. Includes 
interviews with Mai Arbegast, Igor Blake, Ron and Myra Brocchini, 
Toichi Domoto, Eliot Evans, Tony Hail, Linda Haymaker, Charles 
Hitch, Flo Holmes, Clark and Kay Kerr, Gerry Scott, George and 
Helena Thacher, Walter Vodden, and Norma Wilier. 

Centennial History Project, 1954-1960. 329 pp. 

Includes interviews with George P. Adams, Anson Stiles Blake, 
Walter C. Blasdale, Joel H. Hildebrand, Samuel J. Holmes, Alfred L. 
Kroeber, Ivan M. Linforth, George D. Louderback, Agnes Fay Morgan, 
and William Popper. (Bancroft Library use only.) 

Thomas D. Church, Landscape Architect. Two volumes, 1978, 803 pp. 

Volume I: Includes interviews with Theodore Bernardi, Lucy Butler, 
June Meehan Campbell, Louis De Monte, Walter Doty, Bonn Emmons, 
Floyd Gerow, Harriet Henderson, Joseph Howland, Ruth Jaffe, Burton 
Litton, Germano Milano, Miriam Pierce, George Rockrise, Robert 
Royston, Geraldine Knight Scott, Roger Sturtevant, Francis Violich, 
and Harold Watkin. 

Volume II: Includes interviews with Maggie Baylis, Elizabeth 
Roberts Church, Robert Glasner, Grace Hall, Lawrence Halprin, 
Proctor Mellquist, Everitt Miller, Harry Sanders, Lou Schenone, 
Jack Stafford, Goodwin Steinberg, and Jack Wagstaff. 

Interviews with Dentists. CDental History Project, University of 

California, San Francisco.) 1969, 1114 pp. Includes interviews 
with Dickson Bell, Reuben L. Blake, Willard C. Fleming, George A. 
Hughes, Leland D. Jones, George F. McGee, C. E. Rutledge, William 
B. Ryder, Jr., Herbert J. Samuels, Joseph Sciutto, William S. 
Smith, Harvey Stallard, George E. Steninger, and Abraham W. Ward. 
(Bancroft Library use only.) 

Julia Morgan Architectural History Project. Two volumes, 1976, 621 pp. 
Volume I: The Work of Walter Steilberg and Julia Morgan, and the 
Department of Architecture, UCB, 1904-1954. Includes interviews 
with Walter T. Steilberg, Robert Ratcliff, Evelyn Paine Ratcliff, 
Norman L. Jensen, John E. Wagstaff, George C. Hodges, Edward B. 
Hussey, and Warren Charles Perry. 

Volume II: Julia Morgan, Her Office, and a House. Includes 
interviews with Mary Grace Barren, Kirk 0. Rowlands, Norma Wilier, 
Quintilla Williams, Catherine Freeman Nimitz, Polly Lawrence 
McNaught, Hettie Belle Marcus, Bjarne Dahl, Bjarne Dahl, Jr., 
Morgan North, Dorothy Wormser Coblentz, and Flora d'llle North. 

The Prytaneans: An Oral History of the Prytanean Society and its 
Members. (Order from Prytanean Society.) 
Volume I: 1901-1920, 1970, 307 pp. 
Volume II: 1921-1930, 1977, 313 pp. 
Volume III: 1931-1935, 1990, 343 pp. 


Six Weeks in Spring, 1985: Managing Student Protest at UC Berkeley. 

887 pp. Transcripts of sixteen interviews conducted during July- 
August 1985 documenting events on the UC Berkeley campus in April- 
May 1985 and administration response to student activities 
protesting university policy on investments in South Africa. 
Interviews with: Ira Michael Heyman, chancellor; Watson Laetsch, 
vice chancellor; Roderic Park, vice chancellor; Ronald Wright, vice 
chancellor; Richard Hafner, public affairs officer; John Cummins 
and Michael R. Smith, chancellor's staff; Patrick Hayashi and B. 
Thomas Travers, undergraduate affairs; Mary Jacobs, Hal Reynolds, 
and Michelle Woods, student affairs; Derry Bowles, William Foley, 
Joseph Johnson, and Ellen Stetson, campus police. (Bancroft 
Library use only.) 

Robert Gordon Sproul Oral History Project. Two volumes, 1986, 904 pp. 
Includes interviews with Horace Albright, Stuart LeRoy Anderson, 
Katherine Bradley, Dyke Brown, Natalie Cohen, Paul A. Dodd, May 
Dornin, Richard E. Erickson, Walter S. Frederick, David P. Gardner, 
Vernon Goodin, Marion Sproul Goodin, Louis Heilbron, Clark Kerr, 
Adrian Kragen, Robert S. Johnson, Mary Blumer Lawrence, Donald 
McLaughlin, Dean McHenry, Stanley E. McCaffrey, Kendric and Marion 
Morrish, William Penn Mott, Jr., Herman Phleger, John B. deC. M. 
Saunders, Carl Sharsmith, John Sproul, Robert Gordon Sproul, Jr., 
Wallace Sterling, Wakefield Taylor, Robert Underbill, Garff Wilson, 
and Pete L. Yzaquirre. 

The University of California during the Presidency of David P. Gardner, 
1983-1992. (In process.) Interviews with members of the 
university community and state government officials. 

The Women's Faculty Club of the University of California at Berkeley, 
1919-1982. 1983, 312 pp. Includes interviews with Josephine 
Smith, Margaret Murdock, Agnes Robb, May Dornin, Josephine Miles, 
Gudveig Gordon-Britland, Elizabeth Scott, Marian Diamond, Mary Ann 
Johnson, Eleanor Van Horn, and Katherine Van Valer Williams. 


Broussard, Allen. A California Supreme Court Justice Looks at Law and 
Society, 1969-1996. 1997, 266 pp. 

Gordon, Walter A. Athlete, Officer in Law Enforcement and 

Administration, Governor of the Virgin Islands. Two volumes, 1980, 
621 pp. 

Jackson, Ida. Overcoming Barriers in Education. 1990, 80 pp. 

Patterson, Charles, forking for Civic Unity In Government, Business, 
and Philanthropy. 1994, 220 pp. 


Pittman, Tarea Hall. NAACP Official and Civil Rights Worker. 1974, 
159 pp. 

Poston, Marvin. Making Opportunities in Vision Care. 1989, 90 pp. 

Rice, Emmett J. Education of an Economist: From Fulbright Scholar to 
the Federal Reserve Board, 1951-1979. 1991, 92 pp. 

Rumford, William Byron. Legislator for Fair Employment, Fair Housing, 
and Public Health. 1973, 152 pp. 

Williams, Archie. The Joy of Flying: Olympic Gold, Air Force Colonel, 
and Teacher. 1993, 85 pp. 

Wilson, Lionel. Attorney, Judge, Oakland Mayor. 1992, 104 pp. 


Bennett, Mary Woods (class of 1931). A Career in Higher Education: 
Mills College 1935-1974. 1987, 278 pp. 

Bridges, Robert L. (class of 1930). (In process.) Career in Law 

Browne, Alan K. (class of 1931). "Mr. Municipal Bond": Bond Investment 
Management, Bank of America, 1929-1971. 1990, 325 pp. 

Dettner, Ann Degruchy Low-Beer (class of 1926). A Woman's Place in 
Science and Public Affairs, 1932-1973. 1996, 260 pp. 

Devlin, Marion (class of 1931). Women's News Editor: Vallejo Times- 
Herald, 1931-1978. 1991, 157 pp. 

Hassard, H. Howard (class of 1931). The California Medical Association, 
Medical Insurance, and the Law, 1935-1992. 1993, 228 pp. 

Heilbron, Louis (class of 1928). Most of a Century: Law and Public 
Service, 1930s to 1990s. 1995, 397 pp. 

Kay, Harold (class of 1931). A Berkeley Boy's Service to the Medical 
Community of Alameda County, 1935-1994. 1994, 104 pp. 

Kragen, Adrian A. (class of 1931). A Law Professor's Career: Teaching, 
Private Practice, and Legislative Representative, 1934 to 1989. 
1991, 333 pp. 

Peterson, Rudolph (class of 1925). A Career in International Banking 
with the Bank of America, 1936-1970, and the United Nations 
Development Program, 1971-1975. 1994, 408 pp. 


Stripp, Fred S. Jr. (class of 1932). University Debate Coach, Berkeley 
Civic Leader, and Pastor. 1990, 75 pp. 

Trefethen, Eugene (class of 1930). Kaiser Industries, Trefethen 

Vineyards, the University of California, and Mills College, 1926- 
1997. 1997, 189 pp. 


Griffiths, Farnham P. (class of 1906). The University of California and 
the California Bar. 1954, 46 pp. 

Ogg, Robert Danforth (class of 1941). Business and Pleasure: 

Electronics, Anchors, and the University of California. 1989, 
157 pp. 

Olney, Mary McLean (class of 1895). Oakland, Berkeley, and the 
University of California, 1880-1895. 1963, 173 pp. 

Selvin, Herman F. (class of 1924). The University of California and 
California Law and Lawyers, 1920-1978. 1979, 217 pp. 

Shurtleff, Roy L. (class of 1912). The University's Class of 1912, 

Investment Banking, and the Shurtleff Family History. 1982, 69 pp. 

Stewart, Jessie Harris (class of 1914). Memories of Girlhood and the 
University. 1978, 70 pp. 

Witter, Jean C. (class of 1916). The University, the Community, and the 
Lifeblood of Business. 1968, 109 pp. 


Almy, Millie. Reflections of Early Childhood Education: 1934-1994. 
1997, 89 pp. 

Cal Band Oral History Project. An ongoing series of interviews with Cal 
Band members and supporters of Cal spirit groups. (University 
Archives, Bancroft Library use only.) 

Crooks, Afton E. On Balance, One Woman's Life and View of University of 
California Management, 1954-1990: An Oral History Memoir of the 
Life of Afton E. Crooks. 1994, 211 pp. 

Weaver, Harold F. Harold F. Weaver, California Astronomer. 1993, 
165 pp. 


INDEX- -Robert Wiegel 

academic schedules, 86 
Academic Senate, secretary, 147 
Academic Senate committee service, 

148, 149 

acoustic neuroma, 196 
Acting Dean, 1972-1973, 153 
advising to government, 228-232 
Alaska, North Slope, pipeline, 

Alaska, Barrow, beach nourishment, 


Alaska, Valdez oil spill, 226 
Alaska, Prince William Sound 

earthquake of 1964, 226 
alongshore sediment transport, 69 
alumni network, 97 
American Shore and Beach 

Preservation Association, 176, 

195, 208, 250 
amphibious oceanography, 52, 57, 

amphibious operations, 39, 54, 

archives, collection of reports 

and papers, 249 
archives, coastal photos (35 mm 

slides), 249 
archives, 248, 268 
Argentina, Patagonia, pipeline, 


Australia, Bass Strait, pipeline, 


Bakhmeteff, Boris A., 187 
Barnes, Thomas G., Ill 
Barry, Richard, 61 
Bascom, Willard [Bill], 43, 46, 

54, 174, 222, 246-247 
Bauer, Robert, 55 
beach, use, 189 

Beach Erosion Board 

research contract, 58, 214 

USAGE, 263 

beach nourishment, 168, 181, 230 
Beach Nourishment and Protection, 


beach traff icability, 44 
Bechtel Corporation, 79, 95, 113- 

114, 115, 117 
Beebe, Kenneth, 61, 95 
Bermel, Karl, 123 
Berrigan, Paul, 239 
Bijker, Eco, 207 

Bjerknes, , 58 

Blackwelder, , 161 

Blume, John, 106 
Boelter, L. M. K. , 23 
Bolt, Bruce, 105-106, 201 
Bonner, Jack, 198 
Bowker, Albert, 146, 153-156 
Bradley, Philip, 140-141 
breaker- induced forces, 65, 116 
breakwater, Iran, Bandar Abas, 

breakwater disaster, Portugal, 

Sines, 233 

breakwaters, portable, 56 
Bretschneider, Charles, 67 
Brooks, Norman, 109, 117 
Brown, David, 153 
Brown, Edmund G. "Pat", 132 
Buck, , 23 

Caldwell, Joseph M. , 69, 234 
Caldwell equation, 69 
California, Crescent City, tsunami 

consulting, 199 
California, Orange County coastal 

study, 229 
California, San Francisco Ocean 


O'Shaughnessy Seawall, 237 

Taraval Seawall, 238 


California, Santa Barbara Harbor, 

California, Seadrift, rock 

revetment, 239 
California, southern, wave 

climate, 251 
California Advisory Commission on 

Marine and Coastal Resources 

[California Coastal 

Commission], 197-201, 258-261 
California and Use of the Ocean, 

California Coastal Commission, 

California Coastal Conservancy, 

California Coordinating Council 

for Higher Education, 136 
California Governor's Advisory 

Commission on Ocean Resources 

[GACOR] , 197 
California State Technical 

Services Program, 131-134, 


Camp Pendleton, 52, 71 

Kittimat, 242 

Mica Dam, 242 

Carothers, Sarah Elizabeth, 2 
Carruthers, J. N., 174 
Chancellor's Advisory Committee on 

Education of Military Officers 

[ROTC], 110 
Chapman, W. M. , 198 
China, conference in 1987, 263 
China, Sing Rang, 262 
Chorin, A. J. , 66 
Christ, Carol, 146 
Christopher, Marion Wiegel 

[sister], 8 

civil engineer, first use, 211 
classes, 81 

Clough, Ray (R. W. ) , 60, 106 
coastal engineering, 63 

analysis, 99 

conference, fifth, 174, 184 

instruments, 173 
Coastal Engineering Research 

Board, member, 206, 211, 216 

Coastal Engineering Research 

Center, USAGE, 265 
Coastal Engineering Research 

Council, chair, 188, 222 
coastal resorts, 189 
coastal uses, balancing, 269 
College Avenue Pool, 48 
Committee of Rules and 

Jurisdiction, 149 
Committee on Committees, 152 
Committee on University Extension, 

computer science, in one 

department, 156 
Condit, Philip, 95 
Conference of Coastal Engineering, 

first, 1950, 187 
Connick, Robert, 171 
consulting, benefits of, 76 
consulting projects, 24, 77, 79, 

115, 232, 240, 242, 244, 245, 

247, 248, 249 
cooling water, power plant, 79, 

Council on Wave Research, 187, 


Crooke, R. Curtis, 55 
Gumming, James D., 173 
current meters, 183 

Danel, Pierre, 185, 236 
Davenport Cement Company, 60 
Davenport pier, California, 60 
Davis, Harmer E., 25, 127, 154, 

Dean, Robert G. , 176, 178, 188, 


Degenkalb, Henry J., 106 
Depression, the, 11-12 

functional, 50 

structural, 50 
Diablo Canyon, California, power 

plant, 117 

beach mining, 193 

surf zone, 194 


Dickey, Barbara Wiegel [sister], 


Dilley, R. A., 60 
Dills, Ralph C., 184 
dollos, 236 
Doolittle, James, 161 
Dubridge, Lee, 162 

earthquake engineering, 1965 short 

course, 105-106 
Earthquake Engineering, textbook, 


earthquakes, 201 
Eaton, Richard 0., 113 
Eberhart, Frances, 170 
Edge, Billy L., 176, 190, 200, 

207, 234 
editor, 106, 107, 173, 176, 195, 


Egypt, Nile Delta, 189, 231 
Egypt, students, 118 
Einstein, Hans Albert, 51, 66, 

84, 86, 89, 92, 221-222 
engineering/science, 49 
Engineering Advisory Council, 139 
Engineering Committee on Ocean 

Resources [ECOR] , 202 
Engineering Foundation, 173, 188, 

Engineering Master Plan Study for 

the University of California, 


entrepreneurs, 133 
environmental engineering, 

tradeoffs, 90, 183 
environmental events, 226 
environmental program monitoring, 


Etcheverry, Bernard, 121 
Eustis, William, 19 
Everhart, Thomas, 154, 156, 180 

Faculty Club, 85 
faculty socializing, 84 
field studies, 49 
Fischer, Hugo B., 109, 117 
fisheries, 141 

Fleet Admiral Nimitz Memorial 

Lectures in National Security 

Affairs, 110, 146 
Florida, coastal construction 

control line, 228 
fluid mechanics studies at UC 


in the 1940s, 23-24 

in the 1950s, 92-93 
flying, 203 

Folsom, Richard, 23, 32-34 
Foda, Mustafa, 118 
France, Grenoble, ICCE in 1954, 

174, 185 

Fuchs, Robert, 55 
Fulbright scholar at UC Berkeley, 

functional design, 50 

Galvin, John, 147 

General Electric Corporation [GE] , 

74, 79, 114, 117 
George, Steve, 67 
German P.O.W. 's, Stockton, CA, 


Gerwick, Ben C., Jr., 108, 234 
Godden, William, 235 
Goodwin, Peter, 109 
Gould, William, 132, 134, 160 
governance, university, 138 
grade inflation, 103 
graduate student advising, 112, 

Gulf of Mexico, Cognac Platform, 


Hagan, Robert, 84 

Hall, Michael, 61 

Harleman, Donald, 117 

Harvey, J. Downey, 5 

Hasselman, Klaus, 253 

Hawaii, Hilo, tsunamis, 224 

Hawaii, Technical Advisory Council 

for Tsunami Protection, 223 
Hilaly, Nabil, 115 
History of Coastal Engineering in 

the USA, 175 


Horikawa, Kyoshi, 95, 207 

Horonjeff, , 45 

Horton, Edward, 246-247 
Howe, Everett, 21, 23 
Hudson, Robert, 4 
Huntington, Samuel, 146 
hydraulic laboratory class, 93 
hydraulic model basin, 48 

India, Tarapur power plant, 79 
information age, 163 
information dissemination, 62 
information retrieval, computer, 


Inman, Bobby, 147 
Institute of Marine Resources, UC 

Berkeley, 141-144 
instruments, ocean, 101, 183 
International Conferences on 

Coastal Engineering, 174, 185 
international students, 118, 167 
international trips, 203 
interstate commerce clause, 212 
inventors, 133 
Ippen, Arthur, 213 
Iran, Bandar Abas, 240 
Irrigation 117, teaching, 75, 85 
Isaacs, John D., 39-40, 43, 45- 

46, 47, 67-68, 143, 174, 222, 

Italy, Manfredonia, breakwater, 


Italy, Venice, ICCE in 1992, 186 
Iverson, Harold, 54, 84 
Iwamoto, Mabel, 153-154 

Japan, Kobe, ICCE in 1994, 186 

jet mixing, 64, 116 

Johnson, Robert, 132-133 

Johnson, Joe W. , 39, 46, 51, 54, 
62, 69, 77, 78, 81-82, 86, 89, 
92, 98, 118, 121, 174-175, 187- 
188, 195, 239, 240 

Johnston, Homer, 126 

Kaplan, Paul, 116 

Kerr, Clark, 122, 132, 137, 139- 

140, 142, 153, 170 
Kimberley, Harold, 52-53 
Kravchenko, Julien, 185 
Krueger, Robert B., 199, 258-259 

Laird, A. D. K. , 92 

Laitone, Edmund V., 68 

landing craft, seakeeping, 54 

Lehman, John, 110, 146 

Levy, Hans, 55 

libraries, computer use, 160 

library, specialized, 128, 247, 


Lin, T. Y., 106 
liquefaction, earthquake, 187 
Liu, Phil L.-F., 68 
Lockheed Corporation, 63, 124 
Longuet-Higgins, Michael, 166-167 
Lund, William, 52 

MacCamy, Richard A., 55 

Mach- reflection, waves, 68 

Magel, Lyn, 165-166 

Magoon, Orville T. , Introduction, 

120, 135, 190, 199-200, 207, 

233-234, 236, 259 
Managing Coastal Erosion, 177 
manual of amphibious oceanography, 


Marine Corps project, 52 
Mark, Hans, 147 
Maslach, George, 90, 132, 147, 


Master of Engineering degree, 96 
McGauhey, Percy, 182-183 
mechanical engineering laboratory, 


Mei, C. C., 68 
Melville, W. K., 68 
mentoring students, 112, 254 
meteorologists (wartime officers), 

training, 58 
Mica Dam, Canada, 242 
Middlekauff, Robert L., Ill 
Miles, Charles, 18 
Miles, John, 18-19, 68 


military research, 38 

mixing processes, 64, 79, 116 

Mobarek, Ismail, 80, 97, 118 

model study, Bikini, 34 

monitoring projects, 180 

Moon, James, 61 

moored ship motions, 59 

Morison, J. R. (Jack), 55-56 

Morison equation, 55 

Morris, Wilma Wiegel [sister], 8, 


Mosher, Samuel, 60 
Munk, Walter H. , 251-253 

Namibia, diamonds, 193 
National Research Council 

committees, 177, 178, 179, 184 
National Science Foundation, 80, 

National University of Mexico, 

teaching, 98 

Nature's always responding, 227 
Netherlands, Delft, ICCE in 1980, 


Netherlands, storm disaster, 168 
Newmark, Nathan M. , 106 
Neyman, Jerzy, 47 
Nierenberg, William, 142 
Nile Delta, 189 
Noble, Ronald, 207 
North Sea, Forties Field oil 

platform, 244 
North Sea storm, 1953, 169 

O'Brien, Morrough P., 9, 21, 23, 
35, 39, 42, 45, 46, 49, 51, 54, 
55, 58, 67, 71, 99, 102, 121, 
147, 155-156, 174, 187-188, 
214-215, 234, 264 
O'Brien, Morison, Johnson, Schaaf 

equation, 56 

ocean engineering, 63, 108 
Ocean Shore Railroad, 1905, 4 
ocean waste disposal, 91, 183 
Oceanographical Engineering 

[book], 128 
oceanographical engineering, 128 

Office of Naval Research [ONR] , 

51, 56, 57-58 

ONR Natural Hazards Review 

Board, 201 
offshore engineering, 63, 244, 

offshore oil and gas, 204, 244, 

245, 246 

oil spill, 204, 225 
Olken, Hyman, 134, 159, 165, 170 
open heart surgery, 196 
Operation Crossroads [Bikini 

test], 34-40 
Operation MIKI, 54 
oral presentations, students, 126 
Outstanding Civilian Service 

Award, USAGE, 214 

Pacific Gas & Electric Company, 


Packard, David, 132, 160 
Palao Toboada, Luis Fernando, 186 
Papua New Guinea, Purari project, 


Parker, Earl, 154 
Parliamentarian: Academic Senate, 


Patrick, Donald A. , 43, 52-53, 54 
Paulling, John Randolph, 60, 108, 


Pearson, Erman, 182-183 
Pederson, Donald 0., 156-157 
Pelton wheel, 88 
Penzien, Joseph, 106 
Pettit, Joseph, 171 
Ph.D. advising, 254 
Ph.D. theses 

matching students and problems, 

supervision, 254 
Philippines, Subic Bay, 76 

coastal, 220 

35 mm slide collection, 221, 

pier, wave- induced forces, 65, 

Pilkey, Orrin, 168, 178 


Pingree, Douglas, 19 

pipelines, 247, 248 

Polaris missile research, 63, 

political aspects, coastal 

engineering, 256 
pollution control, 204, 205 
pollution, coastal, 183 
Portugal, Sines breakwater 

disaster, 233 
Potter, David, 198-199 
power plant cooling water, 79, 


Prins, Egbert, 95, 167 
Pritchard, Donald, 174 
probabilistic models, 50 
professorship, full, 90 
public misinformation, 179 
public service, 173 
publications, 172 

value of, 62 
pumps , 89 
Putz, Robert A., 47, 55, 67, 167 

rapid deployment, navy, 56 

Reagan, Ronald W. , 197 

Reed, Herman, 84 

report writing, student, 126 

research, military, 38 

research contract, 57 

Research and Development Reviews, 


resorts, coastal, 189 
Revelle, Roger, 35, 101, 141-142 
revetment, 239 
Richmond Field Station, 60, 73, 


Rinne, John E., 106 
risk analysis, 50 
Rosenblath, Emilio, 98 
ROTC, 111, 146 
Rouse, Hunter, 243 

sand bypassing, 219 
Sarver, Mort, 19 
Saunders, Robert, 83 

Saville, Thorndike, Jr., 55, 99, 

175, 207 

Schaaf, Samuel A., 56 
Schade, Henry ["Packy"], 48, 54 
Schaefer, Milner B. ["Benny"], 

142-143, 198 

Schurman, Glenn, 174-175 
Sea Grant: University Coordinating 

Council, 145 
Seaborg, Glenn, 109-110 
seakeeping, landing craft, 54 
seawall, 237, 238 
security clearance, 43 
Seed, H. Bolton ["Harry"], 45, 

106, 201 

Seiwell, H. R. , 166 
semester to quarter system, 86 
Sharp, Henry, 99 
ship motion, 59 
Shore & Beach, editor, 107, 176, 

195, 208 
Shore Protection Manual, USAGE, 

short courses, extension, 104, 


Signal Oil and Gas Company, 60 
Smith, Ed, 19 
Smith, Leighton W. , Jr. 

["Snuffy"], 147 
South Africa, Cape Town, ICCE in 

1984, 185, 192 
southern swell, 251 
Snodgrass, Frank, 47, 55, 61, 67, 

101, 167, 174, 251-253 
Snyder, Mac, 123 
Sobey, Rodney J., Introduction 
Spaght, Monroe, 33 
Spain, Malaga, ICCE in 1988, 186 
Sproul, Robert Gordon, 139 
State Technical Services Program, 

1965-1968, 131, 158 
Steinbrugge, Karl V., 105, 106 
students, 95, 254 

Egypt, 118 

international, 118, 167 
Summers, Harry, Jr., 217 
surf forecasting, 46 
surfing, 126 
Sverdrup, H. U. , 58-59 


Sverdrup-Munk-Bretschneider wave 

forecasting curves, 67 
synergy, 45 

Talbot, Lawrence, 92 

Tarapur, India, power plant, 79- 

81, 113-114 

Taylor, Sir Geoffrey I., 64 

consulting benefits, 76 

first course, 85 

textbook development, 106 
technical assessment, 179 
technology transfer, 131, 165 
television instruction, 

engineering, 171, 206 
Tension-leg platform, 246 
Terman, Fred, 154, 160-161 
Texas, Houston, ICCE in 1986, 185 
thesis subjects, 113, 254 
Thijsse, J. Th., 169 
Tomasicchio, Ugo, 186 
towing tank, 48 
Trask, Parker, 51-52, 222 
tsunami, 34, 199, 223, 225, 226, 

242, 243 

Tucker, M. J. ["Tommy"], 174 
turbulent motion, 65-66 
Tyrrell, Admiral, 201 

undergraduate course, fluid 

mechanics, 92 
understanding the "simplest 

things," 65 

underwater explosions, 39, 46 
University of California, Berkeley 
earthquake engineering, 1965 

short course, 105-106 
Engineering Advisory Council, 


Faculty Club, 85 
fluid mechanics in the 1940s, 

in the 1950s, 92-94 
Institute of Marine Resources, 

University of California, Berkeley 

(cont'd. ) 

Richmond Field Station, 74, 
80, 122-123 

ROTC, 110-111 

university extension, 104 

Water Resources Center and 
Archives, 120 

work-study program, 101-102 
University of California, Davis, 

Irrigation 117, 75-76 
University of California, Irvine, 

engineering, 82 
University of California, Los 

Angeles, war training, 58 
university extension, 104, 171 
Universitywide Committee on 

Engineering Education, 82 
universitywide extension, 108 
university governance, 138 
USAGE Coastal Engineering Research 

Board, 206, 211, 214, 267 
USSR, Central Asia trip in 1971, 


Walker, John R. ["Kimo"], 126 
waste disposal, ocean, 91, 183 
Waste Disposal in the Marine 

Environment, 183 
water quality, 64, 79, 116 
Water Resources Center and 

Archives, UC Berkeley, 120, 

121, 249, 268 

wave climate, California, 251 
wave forecasts, 209 

World War II, 58 
wave gauges, 101 
wave generator, ship model towing 

tank, 123 

wave generator, spectral, 123 
wave generators, hydraulic 

laboratory, 123 
wave height distributions, 166 
wave hindcasts, 209 
wave measurement, 35-36, 38, 42- 

47, 53 

wave nowcasts, 210 
wave record analysis, 47 


wave-induced forces, 55, 60 
waves, Mach-ref lection, 68 
Webster, William, 60 
Wehausen, John, 60 
Wellman, Harry, 132, 142-143, 

145, 170 

Wheelock, Charles, 142 
Whinnery, John, 44, 47, 49, 83, 

90, 147, 152 

White, Robert, 145, 180 
Wiegel, Anne Pearce [wife], 29, 

37, 40, 44, 52, 71-72, 189, 

247-248, 263 

Wiegel, Carol [daughter], 40 
Wiegel, Diana [daughter], 40 
Wiegel, John Mansfield [son], 40- 

Wiegel, John Mason [brother], 8, 

21, 29 
Wiegel, Robert 

education at University of 
California, Berkeley, WWII 
army service, 1944-1946, 

family background: Decker, 

Carothers, 3 
Williams, J. E., 60 
Wilson, Pete, 197, 259 
WOBS [Wave Observations, Bureau of 

Ships], 42 
Wood, William, 182 
work-study program, 101 
workshops, 173, 176, 208 
writing and speaking effectively, 


Yates, Perry, 139 

Zarem, Abe, 132 
Zeevaert, Leonardo, 207 

Eleanor Herz Swent 

Born in Lead, South Dakota, where her father became chief 
metallurgist for the Homes take Mining Company. Her 
mother was a high school geology teacher before marriage. 

Attended schools in Lead, South Dakota, Dana Hall School, 
and We lies ley College, Massachusetts. Phi Beta Kappa. 
M.A. in English, University of Denver. Assistant to the 
President, Elmira College, New York. Married to Langan 
Waterman Swent, mining engineer. 

Since marriage has lived in Tayoltita, Durango, Mexico; 
Lead, South Dakota; Grants, New Mexico; Piedmont, 

Teacher of English as a Second Language to adults in the 
Oakland, California public schools. Author of an 
independent oral history project, Newcomers to the East 
Bay, interviews with Asian refugees and immigrants. Oral 
historian for the Oakland Neighborhood History Project. 

Interviewer, Regional Oral History Office since 1985, 
specializing in mining history.