Bingnan Lin, retired director of the Institute of Water Conservancy and Hydroelectric Power Research (IWHR) in the People's Republic of China, is one of the world's outstanding hydraulic engineers.
After being selected by his government in national competition for advance study in the United States, Lin came to the University of Iowa in 1946. He received his master's degree at the UI in 1947 and continued work toward the PhD, which was awarded to him in 1951.
Lin returned to his native China in 1955. Since 1958 he has held progressively more responsible posts at IWHR, where he was named director in 1982. Dr. Lin rose to that prestigious post because of his unique qualifications as an engineering/scientific researcher, his inventiveness as a hydraulic engineer, and his ability as an administrator.
China's great river systems have been the boon and the bane of the nation. So great is the power of these magnificent rivers that more than one-fourth of the river-borne sediment reaching the world's oceans comes from China. It was likely this consideration which prompted Dr. Lin to help the Chinese government conceive and organize, with UNESCO support, the International Research and Training Center on Erosion and Sedimentation (IRTCES), an organization which has become through his leadership one of the world's largest and most active in its concern for sediment erosion and deposition problems.
In another of his crowning achievements, Dr. Lin was able to resolve the many extremely difficult problems involved in the construction and operation of several large dams in China, including the Three Gorges Dam, located some 40 kilometers upstream from Gezhouba Dam on the Yangtze River.
During his tenure as director of IWHR, Dr. Lin upgraded its capabilities and broadened its field of activities to include such concerns as environmental engineering. He also worked to renew the international involvement of IWHR in the world community of engineers. One of the first cooperative agreements he established as director of IWHR was with the University of Iowa.
Dr. Lin's scholarship, engineering ingenuity, and scientific acumen are well recognized among his peers. When the American Society of Engineers sponsored its first annual lecture by distinguished foreign hydraulic engineers in 1985, they invited Dr. Bingnan Lin to present the inaugural address.