4.6.1914 Northampton/UK - 9.8.2001 London/UK
Alec Westley Skempton graduated as civil engineer from the City and Guilds College, London, in 1932. After having completed his PhD thesis he joined the Building Research Station BRS in 1936. There, his love of geology guided him to the soil mechanics laboratory and Skempton began his lifelong involvement in this subject topic. The importance of Skempton's field immediately became apparent with the failure - under construction - of the earth embankment for a reservoir in Chingford, London. Skempton's analysis revealed that the speed of the construction had imposed too great a load on the clay strata before they had gained strength from the consolidation process. His work at BRS continued until 1946, encompassing Waterloo Bridge, the Muirhead Dam in Scotland, Gosport Dockyard and the Eau Brink Cut channel on the River Ouse.
In 1945, Skempton was invited to establish a soil mechanics course at Imperial College. The post became eventually a full-time senior lectureship in 1946. Skempton was elevated to the chair of soil mechanics in 1955; in 1981 he retired from this position. For the Institution of Civil Engineers ICE, he founded the soil mechanics and foundations committee in 1947 and was its chairman for years. Skempton also was the first chairman of the ICE archives collections from 1975. He edited the works of John Smeaton (1724-1792) today recognized as the founder of modern civil engineering, the papers on the early Fen drainage of John Grundy, and he co-authored the biography of William Jessop (1745-1814). Skempton was a vice-president of ICE from 1974 to 1976; he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1961 and knighted in the millennium honors.
Chandler, R.J. (2003). Sir Alec Westley Skempton. Obituary Notices FRS 49: 511-519. P
Skempton, A.W., Sowa, V.A. (1963). The behavior of saturated clays during sampling and testing. Géotechnique 13: 269-290.
Skempton, A.W. (1964). Long-term stability of clay slopes. Géotechnique 14: 75-101. P
Skempton, A.W., Coats, D.J. (1985). Carsington dam failure. Symposium Failures of earthworks: 201-220. ICE: London.
Skempton, A.W. (1985). Standard penetration test procedures and the effects in sands of overburden pressure, relative density, particle size, aging and overconsolidation. Géotechnique 36: 425-447.
Skempton, A.W. (1996). Civil engineers and engineering in Britain. Aldershot: Variorum.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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