January/February 2023 - 87

FEATURE ARTICLE
A PROPOSED FUTURE DIRECTION
Exploring the Historical Development
of Geotechnical Engineering
Introduction and Study
Origins
" History never repeats itself, but it often
rhymes. " The old aphorism reflects how
the study of the past may, perhaps, be
most widely valued when it can be used
to improve current and future decision
making. The education the authors
received as geotechnical graduate
students certainly impressed upon them
the importance of recognizing that not
all wisdom is necessarily new. Much of
their graduate coursework involved
reading technical papers that had
introduced concepts of outstanding
historical significance in the field, such
as pore pressure coefficients, stress
paths, and the stress history and normalized
soil engineering model. These
papers gave the authors both respect for
and interest in the historical development
of the field. After graduation, the
authors furthered and deepened this
interest by continuing to expand their
knowledge of the profession through
both experience in practice and the
review of additional literature.
Existing Work on
Geotechnical History
The authors' sustained interest in the
history of their profession eventually
led them to examine existing literature
on the topic. Their preliminary review
showed them that geotechnical
engineers have long valued their
shared professional heritage and have
already published many case histories,
literature reviews and articles on
historical topics. Yet the search also
indicated to the authors that systematic
AUTHORS Michael Bennett, E.I.T., American Geotechnical and Environmental Services, and Thomas Kennedy, Geopier Foundation Company
DEEP FOUNDATIONS * JAN/FEB 2023 * 87

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