The University of New Hampshire Annual  Pedro de Alba Lecture

in Geotechnical Engineering  

To appreciate Dr. de Alba’s passion for research and teaching, and years of dedication to students and the profession, the geotechnical engineering group in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Hampshire is presenting the Pedro de Alba annual geotechnical lecture series . The lectures will be in Spring which coincides with his birthday. Each year, a well-known researcher in the field of geotechnical engineering present a key lecture in geotechnical engineering. All of the geotechnical community in the region and in the country are invited to attend. The program will include presentation of the Pedro de Alba Memorial Scholarship, light refreshments, and time for networking.  

2013 Lecture



Technical, Professional, and Life Teachings from Shapers of Geotechnical Engineering 


Speaker: Professor James K. Mitchell, Sc.D., P.E., NAE, NAS

Cahill Professor of Civil Engineering Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech

Consulting Geotechnical Engineer

Date and Time: 18 April 2013, 6:30-8 PM

Networking hour (Cash Bar and Appetizer) at 5:30

Venue: University of New Hampshire, Huddleston Hall


I have had the good fortune over the past 60 years of studying under, working with, and learning from many of the pioneers and most notable contributors to the modern geotechnical engineering field.  Starting with D.W. Taylor at M.I.T. and Karl Terzaghi and Arthur Casagrande at Harvard, I will describe the nature of my personal associations with a dozen or so "Giants of Geotechnics," all now deceased, including such other well-known engineers as Alec W. Skempton, Laurits Bjerrum, James L. Sherard, Stanley D. Wilson, Ronald F. Scott, Ralph B. Peck, Robert V. Whitman, and H. Bolton Seed.  Some of their most notable contributions will be described briefly, some highlights of my personal associations with them will be noted, and some unique personal lessons they imparted will be identified.


For more information and in order to register please contact Jean Benoît at or Majid Ghayoomi at

Sponsorship opportunities are available in support of this annual event.


Professor de Alba's Bio:

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico on April 2, 1939, Pedro A. de Alba obtained his BSCE in 1964 from the National University of Mexico (UNAM). He then worked as a design engineer for public and private sector, before obtaining his MS in 1969 from the University of California, Berkeley. He obtained his Ph.D. working on liquefaction of sands during earthquakes under the supervision of his advisor, Dr. H. Bolton Seed. After his Ph.D. in 1974, he worked as a senior engineer for Shannon & Wilson in Burlingame, California (1974-1976) and then as a research engineer at Berkeley (1976-1977) before joining the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Hampshire in 1977. In his 33 years at UNH he taught over twelve different courses in geotechnical engineering at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Professor de Alba was an outstanding teacher, a scholar and, above all, a gentleman. He was a mentor and a role model to his students and colleagues. In his numerous service roles he always showed great compassion and support for students and the university. His professional interests were in experimental techniques for measuring the dynamic response of soils, especially residual strength of liquefied sand. Professionally he was involved with several major research projects including the deep array for earthquake response at Treasure Island and the National Geotechnical Experimentation Sites program. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the American Society for Testing and Materials where he served as an editorial board member for the Geotechnical Testing Journal. He was also co-editor and founder of the earthquake engineering journal Sismodinámica. His dedication to the engineering profession was truly exemplary.