Hubert Engels has gone down in history as the founder of the science of hydraulic engineering. He studied civil engineering and specialized in hydraulic engineering. Initially, he worked for the Prussian Hydraulic Engineering Administration, and in 1887 he accepted a professorship in hydraulic engineering. Three years later, he accepted a call to the Royal Saxon Technical University in Dresden.
Engels had extensive practical experience, which enabled him to revolutionize hydraulic engineering and hydromechanics. Whereas empirical approaches had previously been the rule in the construction of hydraulic structures, he focused on scientific methodology and standards. Thus, in 1898, he founded the world’s first permanent river engineering laboratory at the Technical University of Dresden.
Engel’s activities extended as far as Vienna, and he was a consulting member for the Schifffahrtstechnische Versuchsanstalt from 1911. Due to his services to hydraulic engineering research, Engels was appointed the first honorary member of the International Association for Hydraulic Structures Research (IAHR) in 1935.