2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 5:00 PM


WEEKS, Edwin P., U.S. Geol Survey, Mail Stop 413, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, epweeks@usgs.gov

John Ferris enjoyed a long career as a scientist, teacher, and mentor with the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) starting in Long Island, NY in 1938 and ending, after several intermediate stops, in Reston, VA in 1980. John was educated as a Civil Engineer at Lehigh University in his home state of Pennsylvania, and evolved on the job to become a very competent quantitative ground water hydrologist. Although John was an accomplished scientist, publishing original papers on drain formulae, the analysis of cyclic water level fluctuations and on slug tests, his greatest contributions were as an educator and mentor. John first taught an informal short course on ground water to fellow USGS staff and staff of cooperating agencies in 1944-48. He wrote a chapter, "Ground Water", one of the first available, for Wisler and Brater's text "Hydrology", published in 1949. His official teaching duties began with the development of the two-week USGS Basic Ground Water Short Course, shared with Stan Lohman. This short course, the notes for which were the basis of Water-Supply Paper 1536-E, "Theory of Aquifer Tests", was taught from 1949 to 1962. Many young hydrogeologists, including the author, received their first formal training in ground water hydraulics from this course, as few Universities provided such training. Availability of such training began to change with efforts of the University of Arizona and USGS staff to establish a program in Hydrology and Water Resources. As part of this effort, John Ferris transferred from USGS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to Tucson, Arizona in 1961 to teach ground-water hydrology as Adjunct Professor. While at Tucson, John developed a 7-week short course on hydrology, mainly for USGS employees. John returned to Washington, D.C. in 1967, but continued to coordinate and teach the 7-week short course in Tucson until 1970, and at other short courses at the National Training Center, notably one he developed on Ground Water-Surface Water Relations, until failing health prevented his travel.. We owe a large intellectual debt to John Ferris, as he served as a major source of enlightenment and inspiration to many of us during the period that the field of hydrogeology was becoming a recognized science.