Jagmohan Humar. An unheard name in India. A lesser-known name in Canada. An Indo-Canadian with an amazing list of achievements behind him. The author of a highly recommended and appreciated book on structural ynamics, yet Rajasthanis in the USA don’t know him to be a Rajasthani. Here’s sharing with you the untold story of Jagmohan L Humar, often known as Jag Humar.
Born in a Jain family of Udaipur, Humar has been last month appointed to the Order of Canada, one of the highest civilian honors by the government of Canada, “for his contributions to structural engineering, for his commitment to education, and for his long-standing service as a community leader” (as quoted on the website). Like the motto of this recognition, DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (“They desire a better country”), Humar truly desires to serve his countries toward betterment.
When he started to study for his B.Sc. at Banaras Hindu University, he surely had some dreams that he is living today. Flying high with an M.Sc. from IIT, the leading engineering institute in India, it wasn’t difficult for him to enrol for a Ph.D. from Carleton University (completing it in 1974). Nothing has stopped him ever since. In fact, he went on to teach where he was a student once!
Now a former Chancellor’s professor at Carleton, he has headed his department as the Chair of the Department from 1989 to 2000. With his efforts to develop and establish independent programs at graduation, postgraduation and doctoral levels, the university today offers one of the strongest programs in Canada. Though he continued there till his retirement in 2003, yet the university couldn’t have let go of this gem and he was appointed as the Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Research Professor. His hard work was being recognized across the country by now, not just by the experts of the field but also the students he supervised. His research in the areas of structural dynamics and earthquake engineering are followed and studied globally now. It is his love for the field and dedication to research more and better that Carleton today has an endowment fund in his name which provides scholarship to students of civil and engineering students.
Engineering topics like dynamics of structures, dynamic response of bridges, analysis of soil-structure interaction and dam-reservoir-foundation interaction under dynamic loading, computer-aided design and computer-aided learning in civil engineering, the response of structures to seismic ground motion, among many others have his unabated expertise.
An author and at times co-author or more than 150 journals and papers about his field of research, he has headed the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering as the Associate Editor. His book, Dynamics of Structures (pub. 1989, 2nd edition pub. in 2002), has been in demand by young students and experts alike and is a yearly book at many engineering schools globally. Many others of his research work too have found mention in different pieces of literature around the world. He has also bagged some of the top-notch awards of the field, like The Whitman Wright Award of CSCE, the Gzowski Medal of CSCE, A.B. Sanderson award of CSCE, EIC Award and the Fellowship, the Fellowship of CSCE, induction as the Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE). His teaching and supervision at the Carleton have not only brought him students’ love and respect but also awards for teaching excellence and research achievement.
For a man with expertise like his, it isn’t possible for outstanding projects and developments to not seek his guidance and consultation. Humar has been guiding teams for projects like Ottawa’s National Aviation Museum, Toronto’s SkyDome, etc. He has rightfully earned his place with the Canadian National Committee on Earthquake Engineering as a member and the Canadian Association for Earthquake Engineering as the Vice President. A member for 15 years, he has also chaired the Canadian Research Council’s Standing Committee on Earthquake Engineering, the body that provides seismic designs to the National Building Code of Canada.
Must confess, without going through at least a few of his published works, we as layman don’t understand the depth of his work, but we do understand that his work helps students and researchers alike. Besides his work and research, his compassion and help the society grow too is highly recognized both in India and Canada. He is the driving force behind quite some women empowerment organizations in India that promotes education among Indian women. His idea of promoting development of India is rather clear – with education. He has set up 2-3 educational institutes in Udaipur. During one of the events he attended in India, he quoted, “India is a hub of multi-talented people. The scientists, engineering and doctors are world-renowned. It is imperative for engineers of the country to work diligently, with determination, honesty and skills for India’s development.”