Prof. J. Carlos Santamarina

Prof. J. Carlos Santamarina came to EPFL on the 25th of September 2015 and gave a presentation entitled “Energy geotechnology – Enabling new insight into soil behavior”.


Energy is critical to life. The coming decades will see worldwide population growth and associated economic development that will result in a pronounced increase in energy demand. Historically, geotechnical engineering has been crucial to projects that have sustained societal transformations. Once again, geotechnical engineering has a central role to play in the evolving energy challenge, from resource recovery and infrastructure development, to energy storage and waste management. Examples during this lecture show that the emerging field of energy geotechnology drives us to reconsider the basic tenets of geotechnical engineering (such as soil formation, index properties, and classification), to extend our understanding of geomaterials (at high pressure and temperature, long time scales, and large number of repetitions), to recognize new phenomena (most often couplings between hydraulic, thermal, chemical, biological and mechanical processes, and various forms of localization), and to advance technological innovations for characterization (in situ, sampling, and laboratory) and monitoring.

About the speaker:

J. Carlos Santamarina graduated from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Ingeniero Civil), and completed graduate studies at the University of Maryland (MSc) and Purdue University (Ph.D.). He taught at NYU-Polytechnic, the University of Waterloo (Canada), and Georgia Tech. Two books and 300 publications summarize salient concepts and research results. His former students are faculty members at more than two dozen universities, researchers at national laboratories, or practicing engineers at leading organizations worldwide. Dr. Santamarina is a frequent keynote speaker at international events, a member of both Argentinean National Academies (Sciences and Engineering), and has participated in several Committees at the USA National Academies. He is a recipient of the ASTM Hogentogler Award; he was the 2012 British Geotechnical Association Touring Lecturer; and he delivered the 50th Terzaghi Lecture in 2014.