Prize-winning English translation of Darcy's classic

Henry Darcy wrote Les Fontaines publiques de la ville de Dijon in 1856 to describe the construction of Dijon’s water supply system. In an appendix, he describes his experiments on water flow through sand and the empirical law he concluded from the results.

This law, known as Darcy’s Law, is the foundation of the science of hydrogeology. It is used in petroleum engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering and soil science, and other sciences.

Patricia Bobeck’s translation of the complete Darcy book was published in 2004 under the title of The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon. The translation contains 28 plates of engineering drawings that were originally published as a separate volume.

The hydrogeology community has greeted the translation with great enthusiasm. Darcy’s original publication is now a rare book, with only about 10 copies available in the US, so that anyone who wanted to read it had to go to a rare book library and struggle through mid-19th-century-style French prose. The translation makes Darcy easily accessible to modern day scientists.

In 2004, the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation awarded the inaugural S. Edmund Berger Prize for Excellence in Scientific and Technical Translation to Patricia Bobeck for the Darcy book.


Book specifications

Hardcover: 584 pages

Publisher: Kendall Hunt Publishing Co. (March 1, 2004)

Language: English

ISBN 10: 0757505406

ISBN 13: 9780757505406

Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.5 x 1.5 inches

Shipping weight 3.8 pounds

Reviews & articles

From the foreword by Dr. Jack Sharp, Jr. of the University of Texas:

"Patricia Bobeck's wonderful translation opens a window into the engineering science of the early 19th century, its challenges, and its modern implications. Scientists, engineers, policy analysts and the well-read general public will find this a most intriguing volume."


Nimmo, John R., 2009, Review (PDF) of The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon by H. Darcy. Translated by P. Bobeck. Kendall/Hunt. Vadose Zone J. 7:1311-1312.

Davis, Stanley N., 2006, Review of The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon by Henry Darcy, Translation by Patricia Bobeck, Earth Sciences History, v. 25, no. 1, pp. 164-166.

Brown, G.O., 2005, Review of The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon by Henry Darcy, Translation by Patricia Bobeck, ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, p. 430.

Sharp, J.M. Jr., and Simmons, C.T., 2005, The Compleat Darcy: New Lessons Learned from the First English Translation of Les Fontaines Publiques de la Ville de Dijon, Ground Water, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 457- 460.

Simmons, C.T., 2004, The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon By Henry Darcy, 1856, English Translation by Patricia Bobeck, Episodes Journal of International Geoscience, Vol. 27, no. 4, pp 307-309.(PDF)

Related Articles

Ritzi, R.W. Jr. and Bobeck, P., 2008, Comprehensive principles of quantitative hydrogeology established by Darcy (1856) and Dupuit (1857), Water Resources Research, Vol 44 W10402, doi:10.1029/2008WR007002 (PDF).

Simmons, C.T., 2008, Henry Darcy (1803-1853): Immortalized by his scientific legacy, Hydrogeology Journal doi:10.1007/s10040-008-0304-3, (PDF).

Bobeck, Patricia, "Henry Darcy in his own words," Hydrogeology Journal, v. 14, no. 6, September 2006. Abstract.

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