Half a Century of Soil Mechanics—Some Thoughts for the Future in the Light of the Past

by Gregory P. Tschebotarioff, (F.ASCE), Consulting Engr.; Lawrenceville, N.J.,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 3, Pg. 321-337

Document Type: Journal Paper


Based on personal experience, an outline is given of the growing pains of soil mechanics after it acquired that name by Terzaghi's introduction in the 1920's of mathematical analyses for the consolidation of clays and by coherent treatment of the entire field. Tribute is paid to Martin S. Kapp (early 1950's) for further healthy development by his avoidance of exclusive cliques. Notable contributions are cited which expanded the field to become geotechnical engineering. It is now too complex for handling by any single operation. This conclusion of the 1966 Committee on Research of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, ASCE; and its recommendations to create special agencies for cooperative endeavor are endorsed. Such Geotechnical Institutes should have the additional right and duty to obtain, analyze, and preserve for the entire profession records of actual failures in the field as an important source of cross-fertilization between theory, research, and practice.

Subject Headings: Soil analysis | Soil treatment | Consolidated soils | Failure analysis | Distinguished engineers | Mathematics | Clays | Foundations

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