Karl von Terzaghi (October 2, 1883 – October 25, 1963)
Photograph From the World Wide Web of Geotechnical Engineering Hall of Fame (http://www.ejge.com/People/Terzaghi/Terzaghi.htm)
Yes, my friends, another year has passed and it is once again that joyous day amongst geotechnical engineers and the geo-industryâ€¦Karl Terzaghi’s Birthday! Today marks the 124th year since the birth of the Father of Modern Soil Mechanics. As I pondered what to say today to mark the occasion, I pulled my copy of “Karl Terzaghi – The Engineer as Artist” by Richard E. Goodman off my shelf for inspiration.
As I flipped through the pages covering Professor Terzaghi’s early life, I found the section on his service in WWI. Since we are at war, and as a veteran U.S. Army Combat Engineer (Essayons!), I felt it appropriate to highlight Professor Terzaghi’s service as an engineer in the Austrian Army. He received a commission as Oberleutnant and was placed in charge of a 250-man engineer brigade, one of four within a “Land Storm” battalion. He quickly took the reigns of leadership and organized his men into a disciplined and effective unit, so well, in fact, that he was made Land Storm Commander in charge of the entire 1,000 man battalion. While on the Serbian front, he was tested as a designer and builder of trenches, works, and fortifications due to the soft soils and high groundwater conditions. After a time in
, he was reassigned to manage an airfield where he completed his military service.
So today, as you raise your mug, glass, bottle, or can to toast Professor Terzaghi the Engineer, remember that he also took the path of countless others in honorable service to their country. (And, as we are honoring Professor Terzaghi, we will not today entertain discussions or debates of the geo-political events of his day, including the many causes of WWI and the side on which
Some links of interest for you today: a list of Terzaghi quotes , a post about his honorary doctorate at the Instanbul Technical University, advice from Professor Terzaghi, and the World Wide Web of Geotechnical Engineering Hall of Fame,
I hope you enjoy the rest of your day working in the greatest and most fun field in civil engineering. Just think, you get to be a geotechnical engineer (or geo-professional)!!!!!!!!
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