IAHR Honorary Member Professor Li Guifen passed away on January 5, 2020 at the age of 89.
With deep sadness we pay tribute to Professor Li Guifen - a distinguished and devoted member of the IAHR family over several decades. Professor Li Guifen was a highly esteemed researcher who played a leading role in promoting international cooperation, international student exchange and the development of the IAHR China chapter in its global role.
Professor Li Guifen was a member of the IAHR Council during 2001-2005, and before that served in the Technical Committee on Ice Research and Engineering (1996-2001) and the Technical Committee on Hydraulic Structures (1997-2003). She was elected IAHR Honorary Member in 2007.
Professor and Senior Engineer Mrs. Li Guifen graduated from Shandong University, China in 1952. After graduation, Prof. Li joined the Huaihe River Conservancy Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources, China. Starting in 1956, she spent two years as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Hydraulics of VNIIG, Leningrad, U.S.S.R., and then she joined the Institute of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Research (IWHR, now the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research) where she was the Director of the Department of Hydraulics and Director of the Division of International Cooperation. Since 1958, she had been engaged in scientific and engineering research on hydraulics in the fields of water resources and hydropower. Her research covered a wide range of topics that include hydraulic structures, high speed flow, flood discharge and dam safety, energy dissipators, wind-induced waves in reservoirs, river ice, effects of plant-barriers on debris flow, and prototype measurements. She published 30 scientific papers and 8 research monographs, as well as hundreds of reports. In particular, her book on “Flood Releasing Structures in High Dams with High Discharge” (in Chinese) was a landmark that served as a valuable reference for designers and researchers in China.
Professor Li Guifen also acted as consultant for many water engineering projects in terms of planning, assessment, laboratory design and construction, and capacity building. Due to her excellent work and achievements, she received many awards at national and ministerial levels. Professor Li was a Visiting Professor of Sichuan University and Shandong University, an advisor to the State Key Laboratory of High Speed Flows in Sichuan University and to various monumental hydraulic projects. Over the last two decades, she had been very active as a Council Member of the Chinese Hydraulic Engineering Society (CHES) and the China Society for Hydropower Engineering (CSHE).
Prof. Li Guifen had devoted herself to communication and exchange of water science between Chinese and international groups since the beginning of the 1980s. She had been actively involved in IAHR activities since the XXII Congress in 1987 (Lausanne, Switzerland). Owing to her introductions, dozens of Chinese hydraulic scholars and experts joined IAHR. She was Chairperson of the IAHR National Committee of China from 1987-2005. In 1988 she organized the first International Symposium on Hydraulics in China. Since then she and her Chinese colleagues had organized more than 10 conferences and symposiums, including the 7th IAHR-APD Congress (1990, Beijing, China), the 13th IAHR Ice Engineering Symposium (1996, Beijing, China), and was Chairperson for the highly successful 29th IAHR Congress in Beijing, 2001. She also led many delegations to attend IAHR congresses and events overseas.
Professor Li Guifen was a true leader who helped to advance the mission of IAHR and the international water engineering community. In addition to her outstanding contributions to hydraulic research and practice, Madame Li has been a quiet and important guiding force in international collaboration over the past three decades. She had a keen interest in the professional development of younger colleagues and often provided mentorship and encouragement to them to be engaged in various IAHR committees and academic activities. She supported many conferences organized by APD researchers and provided valuable opportunities for them to experience the excitement of water in practical engineering projects.
Professor Li will be remembered as an outstanding hydraulic engineer and an empathetic lady who had the rare gift of connecting researchers - particularly students and early career researchers across the globe. She was a warm and wonderful ambassador for China and IAHR in international networks – a role model instructive to young engineers and scholars, friendly to colleagues from abroad, gentle to partners from home and abroad, and helpful to all the visitors.
Professor Li Guifen, a devoted hydraulic engineer and a distinguished member of our IAHR family, will be always in our hearts.
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I am very much saddened to learn of the passing of Prof Li Guifen - a leader who has made many contributions to IAHR and the international water engineering community. In addition to her outstanding contributions to hydraulic research and practice, Madame Li has been a quiet and important guiding force in international collaboration over the past three decades. She has a keen interest in the professional development of younger colleagues and often encouraged them to participate in IAHR committees. She supported many conferences organized by APD researchers and provided many opportunities for us to experience the excitement of water. In September 2007 she helped organise a one-week field trip for IAHR-Hong Kong Chapter to visit Xinjiang – it was an eye-opening experience for urbanites from Hong Kong and we shared some good memories together. These were good old times.
---- Joseph Hun-wei Lee, President of IAHR
IAHR-Hong Kong with Prof Li Guifen and Wang Lianxiang, September 2007 in Tianchi, Xinjiang
Professor Li Guifen will be missed greatly by IAHR. Professor Li will be remembered not just for her research contributions but as an empathetic person who made international visitors feel welcome and connected researchers - particularly students and early career researchers across the globe. She did much to foster international networks and our community has lost a warm and wonderful ambassador.
---- Peter Goodwin, Past President of IAHR, President of University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Professor Li was on the IAHR Council when I first joined the Council. It is always sad when a distinguished member of our IAHR family passes away.
---- Roger Falconer, Past President of IAHR
I am also extremely sad to learn the news of the passing away of a colleague and a friend Mme Prof Li Giufen I had the privilege of numerous interactions with her on different professional activities. She was very dedicated to the growth of our Association. The IAHR has lost an invaluable honorary member and a mentor to numerous younger scientists.
---- Etienne Mansard, Past President of IAHR
I join the feeling for the loss of Mme Prof. Li Giufen, who was a prominent and active member of our association.
---- Ramón M. Gutiérrez Serret, IAHR Secretary General
It is very sad to hear the passing away of Prof. Li Guifen. Prof. Li was my advisor and good friend. I shall never forget her thoughtful comments and her gentle behavior. Prof. Li made great efforts in the development of hydraulic engineering in China and development of IAHR, especially the IAHR China Chapter. May she rest in peace.
---- Zhaoyin Wang, Past Vice President of IAHR
A very sad day indeed to read about the unexpected demise of Madame Prof. Li Guifen. A devoted hydraulic engineer passed away. In the nineties and zeros I frequently visited China and passed often many hours and days in the pleasant surroundings of madame Li, prof. Wang Lian Xiang and prof. Bingnan Lin. They were excellent hosts and I learned a lot from them. I will remember her dearly.
---- Henk Jan Overbeek, IAHR Honorary Member
It is with deep sadness we note the loss of one of our great colleagues, Prof Li Guifen. Prof Li has been part of the IAHR family for long, serving the IAHR Community in numerous ways, Member of the IAHR Council, Chairing many a committees, organizing many conferences including the IAHR APD Congress. A very strong pillar in our water community has temporarily rested. May her Soul rest with God. With deep sadness.
---- Dr. Gregory Shahane De Costa, President of IAHR APD
The news Prof. Li Guifen passed away made me fallen in a deep sorrow. I will always remember that li-gong, as we called her in Chinese, led us to actively participate in so many activities of IAHR congresses and symposiums. She was always instructive to young engineers and scholars, friendly to our colleagues from abroad, gentle to partners from home and abroad, helpful to all the visitors. Whoever had a chance to work with Prof. Li would remember her attitude, and would bring kindness back to her at any chance of meeting her. l believe Prof. Li had made a great contribution to the IAHR community. May I say that there is certainly a seat in the haven for our respectable Prof. Li Guifen! In our Chinese way, be smoothly on the way towards the west haven!
---- Prof. Lianxiang Wang, Past Secretary of IAHR APD
With deep sadness we note that Prof. Li Guifen, a distinguished and devoted member of the IAHR family over several decades, has passed away. With Prof. Li Guifen we have lost a highly esteemed researcher with a leading role in promoting international cooperation, international student exchange and the development of the IAHR China chapter in its global role. I highly appreciate her efforts since the 1980´s on many occasions, which have had significant impacts on the development of IAHR. We will keep her in thankful memory.
---- Prof. Helmut Kobus, Past President of IAHR
I am deeply sad to hear that Prof. Li Guifen passed away.
The LOC of the 25th World Congress of IAHR in Tokyo in 1993 organized a pre-congress symposium on “Present Status of the Research in the Reduction of Water Related Disasters” to urge young professionals to pay more attention to International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction which started in 1990. Prof. Li kindly accepted to be one of speakers.
In the 29th World Congress of IAHR in Beijing in 2001 Prof. Li organized a memorial symposium on “Pioneers of Modern Hydraulic Engineering in Asia”. I was asked to present a paper on Dr. Mononobe as a pioneer in Japan. We agreed that “It is quite important for young professionals to understand historical background of modern hydraulic engineering in Asia.” Through these two examples I really understood distinguished contribution of Prof. Li to IAHR and China Chapter especially for next generation. May she rest in quiet smile.
---- Dr. Nobuyuki Tamai, Past President of IAHR