Julian C. smith Medal  (2005)


Dr. Michael Isaacson – Nominated by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering

Michael Isaacson received his Bachelors, Masters and PhD from the University of Cambridge in England in civil engineering, specializing in hydraulics, coastal engineering and hydrodynamics. He has spent his career at the University of British Columbia where he is now Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science.


Over his career Dr. Isaacson has pioneered and developed new approaches and methodologies for the sub-disciplines of coastal and offshore hydrodynamics. This work contributed enormously to the development of Canada, especially when considering the extent of coastal margins. These include: hydrodynamic loads on offshore structures, non-linear wave loads on offshore structures, experimental wave field basins and, ice notions near offshore structures, wave fields in harbours.

His work has set a standard for research and his extensive publications and two books, especially the one on “Mechanics of Wave on Offshore Structures” is the most referenced and definitive book in the field. His international renown results in an “innumerable” number of invitations to lecture in the UK, China, India, Israel, Japan, US, Australia among others. Also he is a consultant for government agencies, major oil companies, engineering companies and law firms on a wide variety of engineering projects. Such include design wave criteria, wave loading, structural response predications, motion response of floating structures, sedimentation studies for coastal works, tsunami iodination, and structural failures due to waves. His impact on Canadian engineering is easy to appreciate, as well as recognition as an international authority on coastal and offshore hydrodynamics. Since taking the helm of the faculty in 1997, Dr. Isaacson has proven to be a dynamic leader pursuing highly relevant initiatives to advance engineering in Canada. He is a strong proponent of project-based learning, with the most divers and research-intensive engineering school in BC, graduating some 75% of BC’s engineers; and UBC ranks consistently among the top engineering schools in Canada, Little wonder that his appointment as Dean has recently been reviewed for another six years.

Dr. Isaacson is the recipient of several provincial, national and international awards. He has been honoured by the association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists, has received the Camille Dagenais award for development of hydro technical engineering in Canada; is a Fellow of CSCE, ASCE, the CAE, and the Engineering Institute of Canada.

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we honour him as the recipient of the Julian C. Smith Award for Achievement in the Development of Canada.


 Madam President - Dr. Michael Isaacson

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