22.2.1859 Cliousclat/F - 17.3.1943 Paris/F
Albin Dumas has contributed almost through his complete life to a distinguished engineering journal, the Génie Civil. This journal was founded in 1880 and disappeared in 1973, almost a century later. It contributed to the engineering profession by its variety in topics and the exchange between practical and more scientific papers. Dumas joined the editorial board in 1895 and was mainly responsible for writings relating to water flow and hydropower. He was appointed chief editor in 1903 and took over as general director in 1926. Finally, in 1929, he presided over the administrative council of the society. Dumas was awarded the title Cavalier of Légion d'Honneur in 1912 and promoted to Officer in 1932.
Dumas graduated from Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in 1882 and joined the Corps of Roads and Bridges. He moved to the isthmus of America to participate in the works for the Panama Canal. Based on the success of Suez Canal, Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894) decided to approach the Panama site also with a Canal à niveau, thus passing the hills of Panama with a waterway at sea level. Due to technical and logistic reasons, the works turned out to a disaster for de Lesseps, for the collaborators and for the Frenchman who had financially supported the project. Works were suspended in 1889 and de Lesseps with his chief engineers had to go through trials. The Panama adventure turned out to a disaster for the nation, and its president had to retire. Dumas as an engineer had gone through a deep crisis and returned to France in 1891. As he described in 1912, he had foreseen the weakness of de Lesseps' concept and in vain proposed a project that resembled to the design later adopted by the USA. However, nobody in France wanted to hear the name Panama again, after so much humiliation, loss and bad luck. Dumas found satisfaction in technical writing, and thus eventually came into contact with an engineering journal that he largely improved according to his standards. He gave to the journal a more technical taste and requested authors to submit papers that would indeed be read by the public. He obviously succeeded in this task, although there was no more place for such knowledge in the modern society.
Calfas, P., Lemaire, E. (1943). Albin Dumas. Le Génie Civil 120(4): 73. P
Dumas, A. (1891). Projet d'achèvement du canal de Panama. Bernard: Paris.
Dumas, A. (1896). Nouveau projet d'achèvement du canal de Panama. Frémont: Arcis/Aube. Dumas, A. (1907). Le barrage avec évacuateurs de crues souterrains. Génie Civil 28: 105-111. Dumas, A. (1912). Le canal de Panama. Annales des Ponts et Chaussées 82(2): 157-306.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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