Geotechnical Research Centre

Milos Novak Memorial Award


Professor Milos Novak (1925-1994).  He received his civil engineering degree in 1949 from the Czech Technical University (CVUT) in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

In 1957, he earned a Ph.D. in mechanics from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (CSAV) in Prague. Then he conducted research at the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of CSAV, reaching the position of leading scientist. In 1967, during a period of relaxation of the communist dictatorship, Novak was allowed to go for a one-year leave to the University of Western Ontario to conduct research at the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory. In 1968, after Russian tanks crushed the Prague Spring, he accepted an offer of a permanent faculty position there. He proceeded to earn a reputation as a truly outstanding teacher and researcher.

Considered one of the foremost world experts in dynamics of civil engineering structures and foundations, Novak published over 160 refereed papers. He was a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering and the International Journal of Software and Engineering Workstations. He made important contributions to earthquake engineering, particularly dynamic structure-soil interaction; to wind engineering, particularly galloping instability; and to wave action on structures. He developed powerful computer programs for suspension bridges, transmission lines, guyed masts, tall chimneys, nuclear power plants, and offshore oil rigs. He taught 18 short, specialized courses at leading universities and research laboratories in many countries, including Canada, the United States, Japan, China, India, Australia, and New Zealand. He served as a consultant on nuclear power plants in Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Finland, and Yugoslavia; on large offshore towers in Texas, Venezula, China, and Canada; on the Trans-Canada pipeline and Polar Gas Pipeline; and on numerous foundations for turbine generators, compressors, and paper mill machines. He was a consultant, as well, to the United Nations on projects in India and Yugoslavia, and on the Chinese University Development Project. Recently he went to Armenia as a U.N. expert to serve as an adviser on earthquake-resistant structural design. In 1986, the Japan Society of Building Research held the "Novak Symposium on Dynamics of Embedded Foundations and Piles." The Czech Technical University, Novak's alma mater, awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1993. He also received the Medal for Research and Development from the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, the Medal of Merit from the Czech Society for Mechanics, and the Gold Medal from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, and at his university he was inducted to the Gzowski Society Honor Roll.

Our engineering mechanics community has lost a great scholar, researcher, and engineer.