Professor Pavel (Paul) Novak passed away on the 24th of February 2018 at the age of 99. He was born on the 7th of September 1918 in Stribro, now located in the Czech Republic. He lost family to the Holocaust and first came to England during WW2, studying engineering at the University of London, and making a contribution to the war effort by interrogating German POWs and as a member of the Home Guard. He met his future wife Elizabeth (Eli) in 1943 while staying in Nottingham. After the war he returned to Czechoslovakia, was from 1950 to 1955 Deputy Director of the Water Research Institute in Prague and later Director of the Institute of Hydrodynamics, the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. In 1968, when the Soviet army invaded Czechoslovakia, he returned to Britain where he was offered a position at Newcastle University. Prof. Novak was an internationally leading hydraulic engineer, and wrote several noteworthy books on the subject. He was Professor of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering from 1970-1983 and was Head of Department 1981-83. Pavel retired then and was accorded the title of Emeritus Professor. By then, the Water Resources Group was the largest such postgraduate group in the UK. His contribution to Newcastle was immense and he continued until recent times as an author and mentor. He held the University and city in his greatest affection as a place where he found freedom from the difficulties in central Europe in his earlier life. This affection is reciprocated.
Prof. Novak was the first official Editor of the Journal of Hydraulic Research (JHR) from 1983, following Johannes T. Thijsse (1893-1984), who had done this job as IAHR Executive Director from JHR foundation in 1963. Pavel has taken this position for 8 years until 1991, from when JHR Editors serve for 5 years. Pavel must be credited for having made JHR an internationally accepted journal, one of the few then published in Europe. In parallel, Pavel was a successful book author. Of note is his book Models in hydraulic engineering (1981) written jointly with Jaroslav Cabelka (1906-1989), his Hydraulic Structures (2001) and his Hydraulic Modelling (2010). In addition, he was the editor of the book series Developments in Hydraulic Engineering. He also authored more than 100 journal and congress papers. Pavel Novak was an Honorary IAHR Member and awarded the ASCE Hydraulic Structures Medal, among others. He was awarded in 2008 the highest honorary medal ‘De Scientia et Humanitate
optime Meritis’ of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. In his retirement, Paul painted landscapes with great enthusiasm and continued to write text books. He travelled widely and enjoyed many years of activity, only giving up skiing in his 70s.
Following the death of Eli after 70 years of marriage, he spent his last years in The Philip Cussins House in Gosforth he communicating from there with family, friends and colleagues often via email. Those, who were present at the 2017 ICE Seniors Annual Lunch will recall how he spoke, still with clarity and strength. Pavel is survived by his son Michal, daughter Zuzana, and over 50 grandchildren and great grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.