Dr. Strack was born in the Netherlands in 1943. He studied at the Technical University of Delft and received his Masters (Ingenieurs) in 1969 in Civil Engineering with emphasis on groundwater flow. He studied under the supervision of Professor Dr. Ir. G. De Josselin de Jong and received his Doctor’s degree in 1973 on his thesis entitled Many-valuedness Encountered in Groundwater Flow.
He became Assistant Professor in 1974 at the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering (now Department of Civil Engineering) of the University of Minnesota. He is a tenured Full Professor at the Civil Engineering Department since 1985. His primary research interest is the development and implementation of mathematical models for groundwater flow and transport. Dr. Strack developed the Analytic Element Method, a technique for modeling groundwater flow based on the superposition of analytic functions. Recent technical advances make it possible to solve complex problems with an accuracy that approaches that of exact solutions, while computational speed is no longer a function of the size of the problem. Transient flow has been implemented recently in the model.
He began to develop the Analytic Element Method in response to a problem presented by the Corps of Engineers in 1976, when he was asked to predict, with his team of students, the regional effect of the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway on the groundwater. Since then, he headed, and participated in, numerous projects to apply the analytic element method. Examples are three-dimensional modeling for the so-called WP Cave design of a radio-active waste repository in Sweden, a multi-layer groundwater model of the Toppenish Creek Aquifer System for the Yakima Indian Nation (with Barr Engineering Company), a stratified model of the Hanford, WA Site for Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, development of the Metropolitan Groundwater Model with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and carrying out research and development for the Multi-Layer Analytic Element Model (MLAEM) computer code used in the Dutch National Groundwater Model (NAGROM), including, among others, salt water-fresh water flow and transient flow. The Dutch Agency that supports this work is RIZA (Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment). This project has been on-going for over 10 years and constitutes Dr. Strack’s main consulting activity during the three summer months of each year (Dr. Strack has a 9-month appointment at the University of Minnesota). The result of this work is the computer code, which is a windows-based computer program with a graphical user interface developed by O. Erik Strack The computer programs SLAEM (Single Layer Analytic Element Model) and MLAEM are being used by several companies and government agencies in the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, China, and Botswana.
Dr. Strack has written a textbook ‘Groundwater Mechanics’, originally published by Prentice Hall in 1989, now published by Strack Consulting, Inc. A recent articel ‘History and Applications of the Analytic Element Method’ appeared in Reviews of Geophysics, 41 (2), art 1005; it gives a good overview of the method.
Dr. Strack, his post-doctoral assistant Dr. Mark Bakker, and his students, assisted by Dr. Theo Olsthoorn from the Amsterdam Water Supply Company, the Netherlands, completed work on ‘An Analytic Element Model of the Death Valley Region’ as part of the Yucca Mountain project for the USGS (1996), which resulted in MLAEM (version10/31/95) passing the stringent quality assurance tests administered by the US Department of Energy. The same team, but this time assisted by Dr. W.J. De Lange from RIZA, The Netherlands, participated in a Cooperative Agreement with the USEPA on ‘Analytic Element Modeling of Coastal Aquifers’ (1997).
He has consulted for numerous local engineering companies, notably Barr Engineering Company and Geraghty & Miller and has been expert witness on several occasions.
Dr. Strack markets his computer programs and carries out consulting through his company Strack Consulting, Inc.