It is often not easy to know about our past scientific and engineering leaders. While writing the pieces for WIDECANVAS, I felt this disappointment during Googling Nick Kraus (- 2011), Yoshima Goda (1935 – 2012), and Bob Dean (1931 – 2015). These three leaders dedicated their lives in fostering many aspects of coastal science and engineering. We use their contributions and methods published in papers and books – refer to their works – yet public hardly knows them. There were Journal memoriams of them: Dr. Kraus [2011 Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering, 137(4)], Prof. Goda [2012 Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering, 138(6)] and Prof. Dean [2015 Journal of Coastal Research, 31(3)]. Although I am naming these three great scholars – having the opportunity to know them personally – I am sure there are many other past leaders in different disciplines whose bios etc. cannot be found.
The purpose of this post is to suggest that professional societies like ASCE could take initiatives to compile bios and achievements of our past scientific leaders – for one thing to inspire the posterity. If not societies like these, then who else would? The professional journal memoriams are one such step, but many members of the public do not read such journals. Perhaps, an easily searchable database of some sort may suffice some of the queries; or better yet is to collaborate with Wikipedia – inviting the organization to do the job.