Ven Te Chow

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Ven Te Chow (周文德; October 7, 1919, Hangzhou, China, – July 30, 1981),[1] was an engineer and educator. He was a widely recognized hydrologist and engineer throughout the world, acclaimed for his contributions to hydrology and water resources development.

He was a professor of Civil and Hydrosystems Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from the National Chiao Tung University (國立交通大學) in 1940, his M.S. degree in engineering mechanics from Pennsylvania State University in 1948, and his Ph.D. degree in hydraulic engineering from the University of Illinois in 1950.

Chow joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in the Department of Civil Engineering in 1948 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1962. Some of his unusual contributions include his watershed experimentation system, which produced storms in the laboratory using sophisticated electronic, pneumatic, and sonar controls. At the time it was one of the most sophisticated laboratories in the world for physical hydrology and attracted worldwide attention and interest among scientists, engineers, and the public. It was the subject of an article that appeared in Life magazine on June 6, 1969, and was also addressed in the 1969 March issue of Public Works magazine.

With this unique instrumentation, he introduced a new field of technology known as watershed hydraulics. He also developed a formula for hydrologic frequency drainage design, a method of backwater curve computation.

Chow was the founder and first president of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA). Over the last 37 years, IWRA has actively promoted the sustainable management of water resources around the globe and become one of the most influential organizations in the field of water. The IWRA Ven Te Chow Memorial Award was created by the IWRA in his memory. The award includes a lecture, to be delivered at its triennial World Water Congresses. In 2008, Professor John Pigram received the Award at the XIII World Water Congress. In 2011, the Award was given to Dr. Peter Gleick. The 2015 recipient of the Ven Te Chow Memorial Award was Rabi Mohtar.[2]


  • Ven Te Chow (1959). Open-channel hydraulics. McGraw-Hill. OCLC 4010975.


  1. ^ Ackermann, William C. (1984). Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 2. National Academy of Engineering (NAE). p. 47.
  2. ^ "Ven Te Chow Memorial Lecture Award". International Water Resources Association. Retrieved 24 February 2016.

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