- Ralph Brazelton Peck
Dr. Ralph Brazelton Peck (
June 23, 1912– February 18, 2008) was an eminent civil engineer specializing in soil mechanics. He died in his sleep on February 17, 2008. He was awarded the National Medal of Sciencein 1974 "for his development of the science and art of subsurface engineering, combining the contributions of the sciences of geology and soil mechanics with the practical art of foundation design."
Peck was born in
Winnipegto O.K. and Ethel Peck, and moved to the United States at age six. In 1934 he received his Civil Engineer degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Instituteand was given a three year fellowship for graduate work in structures. On June 14, 1937 he married Marjorie Truby and obtained a Doctor of Civil Engineering degree.
After receiving his degree, he worked briefly for the American Bridge Company, then on the Chicago Subway, but Peck spent the majority of his career (32 years) at the
University of Illinois, initially in in structures but later focused on civil engineering under the influence of Karl Terzaghi, ultimately retiring in 1974. He was highly influential as a consulting engineer, with some 1,045 consulting projects in foundations, ore storage facilities, tunnel projects, dams, and dikes, including the Cannelton and Uniontown lock and dam construction failures on the Ohio River, the dams in the James Bayproject, the leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Systemand the Dead Seadikes.
During his career Peck authored over 200 publications, and served as president of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering from 1969 to 1973. He received many awards, including:
* 1944 The
Norman Medalof the American Society of Civil Engineers
* 1965 The Wellington prize of the ASCE
* 1969 The Karl Terzaghi Award
* 1975 The
National Medal of Science, presented by President Gerald Ford
* 1988 The
John Fritz Medal
* [http://www.ejge.com/People/Peck/Index.htm Geotechnical Engineers Hall of Fame]
* [http://www.ngi.no/english/files/publ207_edb_-_redigert.pdf Norwgian Geotechnical Institute retrospective]
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3540542.ece Obituary in "The Times", 12 March 2008]
* [http://technology.infomine.com/reviews/observationalmethod/ Observational Method Technology Review, InfoMine.com]
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