The Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory have been operating for more than 45 years, with continuous physical model testing on all kinds of coastal processes, nearshore structures, and wave energy devices.

In 1972, the HWRL originated with the construction of the large wave flume to study the stability of coastal structures. Jack Nath developed the design specifications for the Large Wave Flume and Wave Generator, and secured with O.H. Hinsdale the initial funding for the Laboratory.

Jack Nath served as its Founding Director from 1972 to 1980.

Charles Sollitt succeeded Jack Nath and served as Director from 1981 to 2001.

In 1989, the HWRL was expanded by the Office of Naval Research to include a directional wave basin and a spiral basin to study the complex, three-dimensional nature of coastal problems.

In 2001, the HWRL was designated by the National Science Foundation as a site for Tsunami research within the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

The Directional Wave Basin was expanded to its current layout from 2001 to 2003, with the support of NSF through the NEES program.

In 2004, the HWRL became one of the Experimental Facilities for the NSF Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. NEES program ran from 2004 until 2014.

Dan Cox succeeded Charles Sollitt and served as Director from 2002 to 2010.

In 2009, a new wave machine for the Large Wave Flume was installed, specifically designed for extreme shallow water wave conditions, such as large scale periodic and solitary waves.

William Mcdougal succeeded Dan Cox and served as Director from 2011 to 2012.

David Trejo served as Interim Director from 2013 to 2014.

Pedro Lomonaco became the current HWRL Director since Aug 2014.

In 2016, the HWRL became one of the Experimental Facilities for the NSF Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI).


In 2003, Peggy Hoecker, a close friend to the Hinsdale Family, wrote a song referring the HWRL:


Ripples and Wake

By: Peggy Hoecker

There was a fine man, O.H. Hinsdale was he,

Who was fascinated with the land and the waves of the sea,

He contemplated the power, the rhythm and the energy,

Of the white capped waves that ebbed and flowed, at the merge of land and sea.


Ripples and a wake made in history,

One man's dream left a legacy,

Like a pebble dropped into a glassy lake,

There's much to be learned from the ripples and the wake.


A generous philanthropist, O.H. Hinsdale had a dream,

Of recreating ocean waves by the use of a machine,

And a research center where all could go to learn and study

The affects of waves upon a reef, or a great tsunami.


So, one man's dream and vision will be a legacy:

An on-going study of waves and land and sea.

It's like Hinsdale dropped a pebble into a glassy lake,

So generations can learn from the ripples and the wake.


Lyrics to a song written by: Peggy Hoecker, September, 2003 ©

In honor and memory of a family friend, O.H. Hinsdale Sr.