More than 50 ASCE members and guests gathered at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association on Thursday, October 23rd for the most recent installment of the Terzaghi Lecture series. The lecture was given by Dr. J. Carlos Santamarina, Ph.D., Ing., A.M.ASCE. Dr. Santamarina is the Goizueta Foundation Faculty Chair and a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His presentation, “Energy Geotechnology: Enabling New Insights into Soil Behavior,” provided a fascinating overview of the increasingly critical role that geotechnical engineers will play in the uphill battle to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy.
The lecture explored potential applications of geotechology that would aid this effort, such as the geological storage of CO2. Dr. Santamarina explained how striving to move forward in the energy field will facilitate a more holistic understanding of soil behavior. The implications of this new perspective range from redefining basic soil characterization methods to understanding complex relationships between hydraulic, chemical, mechanical, biological, thermal and mechanical processes. Ultimately, the presentation urged geotechnical engineers to start tackling the energy problem now during this important time in history. As Dr. Santamarina explained, while there are still many unknowns in this area, the process of solving these difficult problems will improve the field for the better.
As the 2014 recipient of the distinguished Terzaghi Lectureship, Dr. Santamarina has given his presentation to different ASCE sections throughout this year. Hosted by the Geo-Institute Chapter of the ASCE Pittsburgh Section, the event also included a social hour and a sit-down dinner. The Section was happy to be able to provide 1.0 PDH hours for this presentation.