Design Philosophies in Geotechnics: Thoughts and Practices from Karl Terzaghi

Sergei Terzaghi

Whilst 2nd October is commonly recognized as Karl Terzaghi’s birthday – at least in the geotechnical community, it is important to recognize that we are also in the midst of a number of key 100 year anniversaries based around his key discoveries and findings.  These include Consolidation Theory (1916-1919), validation of lateral earth pressure theory, Erdbau Mechanik (1925), filter rules amongst others.  While is always a good opportunity to reflect on some of his thoughts, ways of operation, discussed in context of the time and today, it more opportune now than ever before as the pace of evolution/change increases in our profession.  There will be opportunity to discuss and debate these thoughts.

About the speaker

Sergei Terzaghi Principal Geotechnical Engineer, Arup

Born 1962 in Eugene Oregon. Moved in short order to Kobe, Geneva, Santa Cruz Ca, before settling in New Zealand, where I completed most of high schooling (baring one year in Austria). Trained At University of Canterbury graduating with BE (Hons) in 1986. I started work in Auckland, New Zealand with a small local firm called Murray North, working on a wide range of engineering projects throughout New Zealand and indeed the South Pacific and Singapore. This proved to be an ideal training for a geotechnical engineer given the range geotechnical materials present and hence range of complex problems to resolve. Murray North was acquired by Woodward-Clyde in 1993. This expanded range of operations to include western USA. I moved to Sinclair Knight Merz in 2000 seeking wider opportunities. This added Australia to sphere of operations and resulted with moving to Australia in 2005. Ended up moving to Arup in 2009. Had a spell based in Los Angeles between 2017 and 2019. Currently based in Sydney, with discussions on projects around the Globe.

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