Fish Culture and Experiment Station
3059 National Fish Hatchery Road #F
Hagerman, Idaho 83332
Research & Extension Center
CSI Evergreen Building
315 Falls Avenue East
Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
821 W. Idaho Street
Boise, ID 83702
M-F: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Parking is available in the Eastman Garage located above the VandalStore with entrances on both Idaho and Main Street.
Engineering Move: A Risk Worth TakingWould you ever expect engineering and romance to be in the same sentence? When it comes to Ralph Budwig, they go hand in hand.
When Budwig, professor of mechanical engineering director for the College of Engineering in Boise and director of the stream lab, moved to Boise just four years ago, his professional and personal life changed.
“I took a risk in coming down here, and it has paid off,” says Budwig.
Before making a home in Idaho’s capital city, Budwig had spent 22 years teaching undergraduates and mentoring graduate students on the Palouse.
“I was really fascinated between the connection of mathematics and fluid motion.”
For ten years Budwig’s work focused on the flow of blood, and he has published research on the flow of abdominal aortic aneurysms. Then he took a liking to water – and for the professor the change from one substance to the other made perfect sense.
“All of these things are flowing fluids!”
When he wasn’t working with students and preparing his research projects, Budwig played the role of a single dad. A tragic 1997 bicycle accident in Moscow took the life of his wife and left him to be both mother and father to their three children.
“My kids were roughly 10, 11 and 14 years old when it happened,” Budwig says. “Thank God for my staff, especially my assistant. I have sent her messages saying she was Saint Margie for putting up with me and my venting!”
With his children grown, Budwig decided it was time for a change.
“Fluid dynamics is a part of ecohydraulics and I knew they had a big deal down here,” says Budwig. “Plus…for a man in his late 40s or 50s…Moscow and Pullman may not the best places to be looking for a spouse!”
So he took a risk, applied for an opening with the University in Boise – and made the move.
In Boise, Budwig’s focus is the flume, a unique piece of research equipment in American science. It’s a large scale research tool that can tilt like a mountain stream and help researchers recreate stream and river flows while studying their effects.
Budwig says he has few projects of his own in the flume at the Idaho Water Center. Instead, he is focused on working with others to make sure their projects are successful.
“I am focused on graduate education, working with nontraditional students which I love. We have even had students here from London!”
The move from the Palouse has changed Budwig’s life. While his children still make northern Idaho their home, the engineering professor says his life has changed for the good as he’s made a home here in the south. The risk he took to uproot and move to Boise has paid off in many ways, including the fact that he’s now remarried.
“See, engineering can be romantic!”