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2019 T.H. WU Distinguished Lecture

February 15, 2019
3:30 PM - 6:30 PM
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The Ohio State University
201 W. 19th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
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Geotechnical Engineering Beyond the Earth

July 20, 2019 will mark 50 years since the first manned landing on the surface of the Moon. It is fitting, therefore, to look back at that exciting period and review the roles that geotechnical engineers have played in space exploration, with particular reference to the soil materials and their properties and soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering on the Moon.

In this illustrated presentation, the geotechnical activities that formed a part of the six successful Apollo missions will be described, including early speculation about the soil conditions, what soil is really there, sampling and in-situ testing, astronaut activities, unusual data sources, and contrasts with terrestrial soil behavior and mechanics. Soil conditions on Mars, as determined by past and ongoing unmanned explorations will also be discussed. Finally, some conclusions will be stated concerning future construction on, in, and with these soils.

Jame Mitchell

James K. Mitchell, Sc.D., P.E., Dist. M. ASCE, D.GE (Ret.), NAE, NAS
University Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Virginia Tech University

Jim Mitchell received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1951 and the S.M. and Sc.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953 and 1956. From 1958 to 1994 he was on the CEE faculty at the University of California, Berkeley and served as Department Chair from 1979-1985. His teaching, research and consulting activities focused on soil behavior, soil stabilization, ground improvement, lunar soils, environmental geotechnics, and mitigation of seismic risk.

He was the Principal Investigator for the Soil Mechanics Experiment during the Apollo Program missions to the Moon. He joined the faculty at Virginia Tech in 1994 and now is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Consulting Geotechnical Engineer. He was the 2006 recipient of the ASCE Outstanding Projects and Leaders Award (OPAL) in Education. He is an elected member of the United States National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.

The lecture is sponsored by The Ohio State University, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, and co-sponsored by the Central Ohio Geo-Institute Chapter.


Lecture will be held in Room 100E Scott Laboratory, 201 W. 19th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210

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Please RSVP to Kevin Satterfield,  614.247.7749

2 PDH are available for this lecture

The T.H. Wu Distinguished Lecture is a signature event in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering. Presented yearly, the lecture features prominent scholars and practioners in the field of geotechnical engineering. The lecture is held in memory of Dr. Tien H. Wu, professor emeritus and former chair of CEGE. The T.H. Wu Fund, endowed on June 24, 2011, promotes excellence in civil engineering by way of lectures by eminent practitioners and academics in the profession.