Distinguished Colleagues, Dear Friends,


This is my sixteenth progress report after 485 days as your President. Note that previous reports are on the ISSMGE web site ( under “From the President” if you need them. In this report, I would like to talk to you about some ideas on how to improve the image of our profession, the new Schofield Lecture and the new McClelland Lecture, and the Council meetings in 2011 and 2013.


Image of our profession: In my last progress report, I asked for your ideas on how to improve the image of our profession. Unfortunately, I received very few ideas from you on this topic. I would like to ask you again for your ideas on how to make progress in that direction. You can also tell me whether or not it is a good idea or a waste of time to work in that direction. In the mean time, here are some of my ideas.
1. Create an ISSMGE news media and public interaction committee. This committee would facilitate our interaction with organizations such as CNN and the Discovery Channel. It would develop opportunities for positive visibility for our members and our profession.
2. Develop short announcement tri-fold on issues impacting the public. Where I live, we have serious problems with shrink swell soils and associated house damage; a trifold on dos and donts for home owners would connect the geotechnical engineer directly with the home owners and improve our public image. Our technical committees could develop such public oriented trifolds on their top issue.
3. Contact discovery channel and other TV media for big projects. I watched the Discovery channel show on the Burj Khalifa 828 m tall tower; there was not a word on the foundation!! We need to find projects which are most impressive and geotech only. Earth dams, tunnels, landfills may fit that goal.
4. Develop a time capsule for geotech to be opened in 1000 years.  What would you put in a geotech time capsule to be opened in 1000 years? Testing equipment? Books? Opinions? Videos?
5. Interaction with high school students and teachers by creating nice demo kits. Dave Elton has a series of soil magic tricks that are really fun to watch and that he presents in a very entertaining way. Such demo kits mixed with fun are perfectly suited to interest young minds and improve our reputation with the next generation.
6. Create or help further development of existing geotechnical disaster response centers. We already have such centers: GEER comes to my mind. ISSMGE could see what can be done to help these centers and, if gaps are found, help create new ones.
7. Geotech section in museums. Science museums have section on various fields of engineering; aerospace comes to my mind. We could help develop some displays which would underline the importance of geotechnical engineering. In fact it is my understanding that the French National Society is developing such a museum display to be part of the Paris conference. Bravo la France!
8. Questions and answers on geotech problems on the web. Trifold are old style but are appreciated by many. The web is the new way of information so we could have a place for the public to ask question on the web on geotechnical engineering issues. Dimitris Zekkos has done a remarkable job of organizing and is now developing GeoWorld with the help of ISSMGE. This could be a good place to have such an interaction with the general public.
All these ideas have advantages and drawbacks but I hope you will tell me which ones you think are most worthy of pursuit. Once I have your opinion, I will get to work on this and set it up.


Schofield and McClelland Lectures: I am very happy to report to you that the TC on Physical Modeling lead by Christophe Gaudin as Chair and Andy Take as Vice Chair has started the Schofield Lecture. Also the TC on Offshore Geotechnics lead by Philippe Jeanjean as Chair and Mark Randolph as Vice chair has started the McClelland Lecture. These new ISSMGE lectures were proposed by these 2 TCs to the ISSMGE Board and approved unanimously. The Schofield Lecture in Physical Modeling and the McClelland Lecture in Offshore Geotechnics add to our list of TC named lectures including the Ishihara Lecture in Earthquake Engineering, the Mitchell Lecture in Site Characterization, the Bishop Lecture in Laboratory Testing, and the Kerisel Lecture in Historical Monuments Preservation. All my congratulations go to Andrew Schofield and to the late Bramlette McClelland for a well deserved recognition.


Council meetings in 2011 and 2013:  The council meetings will take place in Toronto, Canada on 2 October 2011 just before the PanAm conference ( and in Paris, France on 1 September 2013 just before the 18th ICSMGE ( This is the occasion where our professional family gets together to celebrate our achievements and plan further progress. Please think about what you wish to see included in the discussions at those two meetings or at least the Toronto meeting for now and let me know about it. Aim to innovate, to think out of the box, to be bold about our future, and not be afraid to tackle difficult issues. I look forward to lively discussions and real progress.



Best wishes,
Jean-Louis BRIAUD
President of ISSMGE
International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering