January/February 2023 - 89

By contrast, the authors found their
work more fruitful as they began
comparing the different works they had
reviewed. Comparing these works led
the authors to conclude that a serious
rivalry existed until the early 20th
century between civil engineers who
mainly approached geotechnical
problems theoretically and other civil
engineers who tackled such problems
primarily by using common field
practices and rules of thumb. For
example, while Rankine used pages of
equations to derive his theory of lateral
earth pressure in the U.K. in the 1850s,
other British civil engineers in the
The Institution of Civil Engineers library in London
1880s harshly criticized overly precise
calculations of earth pressure as being
as worthless as weather forecasts in
almanacs. This debate raged on in civil
engineering circles until Karl von
Terzaghi became prominent in the
mid-1920s in part by realizing that the
engineering behavior of soils was best
described using a combination of the
two approaches. He developed a series
of semi-empirical procedures to help
unite theory and practice in the new
field of soil mechanics by allowing
practitioners in the discipline to
simultaneously consider both field data
and theoretical considerations during
the design process. For instance,
Terzaghi and his mentee, Ralph Peck,
developed an equation by which the
settlement of sands could be estimated
from their SPT N-values. In this regard,
Terzaghi was once again following the
example laid out by Anderson in his
1893 lecture. " The competent and
successful engineer, " Anderson had
remarked, " is careful to make theory
and practice walk side by side, the one
ever aiding and guiding the other,
neither asserting undue supremacy. "
They began their studies
of geotechnical history by
reviewing 15 articles and
book chapters on
geotechnical topics from
the 19th and early 20th
centuries, writing articles
on the main points of
each, and posting the
articles on a website they
had created.
Exploring Geotech History,
Part II
Once the authors had reviewed the
aforementioned works from early
geotechnical history, they decided to
incorporate quantitative metrics into
their selection process for future works
to be reviewed. The authors chose to
use how many times a work had been
cited as a first-order approximation of
its impact on geotechnical history.
They reasoned that such a method
would substantially improve upon
simply choosing works from previous
anthologies of historical geotechnical
literature by helping them indeDEEP
FOUNDATIONS * JAN/FEB 2023 * 89

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January/February 2023

TOC
January/February 2023 - Intro
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