Happy Karl Terzaghi’s Birthday 2012 (Updated)

Ah, October….here in the U.S. the leaves are beginning to turn as fall begins (or, in some places, fall off due to summer heat and lack of rain).  The beginning of fall marks a lot of things, such as the Major League Baseball playoffs (insert favorite team name here!), but more importantly the anniversary of the birthday of Karl Terzaghi!

I know that the past few years I have written an extended post highlighting something from Professor Terzaghi’s life or contributions to soil mechanics.  Alas, this fall I let the date creep up on me and my schedule this week left me little time to spend on a more detailed post.  I hope to resume that tradition next year.

Nonetheless, after a busy day of conference calls, design reviews, and calculations of pile resistance (or capacity for all of the folks still living in the ASD world), there will be time for a toast today, or maybe even a slice of birthday cake, in honor of our hero, Karl Terzaghi!



Randy Post at Geoprac.net has set up 12 Terzghi Tweets for today.


My friend (and former professor) Dr. Dave Elton, P.E., currently on sabbatical from Auburn University (War Eagle!), sent this ode today:

A timely ode to our Profession.

The beauty of soil’s

What we consider today,

In which cause we toil,

Be it silt, be it clay.

Foundations are mighty!

The piles we drive!

Geosynthetics are awesome!

We feel so alive!

Tho’ our pride sometimes suffers:

The hillside displaces.

And foundations still settle,

Leaving dirt on our faces.

Still our cause it is just!

From gravel to marl,

Our technology awesome!

Started by Karl!

So onward we press,

With our powers, expert.

As to-day we honor,

The Father of Dirt.

Happy Terzaghi’s Birthday.

Karl Terzaghi (1883 – 1963)

(Celebrate: Go trigger a landslide. You have my permission.)


D. Elton, P.E.

Auburn University October 02, 2012

Not copyrighted. Forward at will.