The Geotechnics Section, formerly known as the Soil Mechanics Section was formed by Professor A. W. Skempton in 1946. A history of the section, including a discussion on the early years is given on pages 153-162 of 100 Years of Civil Engineering at South Kensington by Joyce Brown.

The Skempton and Bishop archives give overviews of the contributions of both Professors Skempton and Bishop to geotechnical engineering, and include searchable databases of their work

The August 2015 Bulletin of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering includes an article which gives an overview of our current research. You can access the research highlight article here.

A one-year, postgraduate specialist degree in soil mechanics has been offered by the section since 1950, during which time  hundreds of students from all over the world have participated in this MSc. These courses remain popular. Many of our alumni return each year to attend our annual pre-Rankine lecture seminars.  The Soil Mechanics section expanded and was renamed as Geotechnics in 1996 when Engineering Geology was incorporated, alongside the associated MSc programme.  The application of Geology to Civil Engineering has been taught at Imperial College since 1910 when Dr Herbert Lapworth provided a regular course of lectures entitled "Engineering Geology".  In 1964, under the guidance of the then Dr John Knill , the Masters course in Engineering Geology was initiated.  All graduates automatically became members of Herbert Lapworth Club (alumni club).


Prestigious Lecturers Associated with the Section

2016 Prof. R. J. Jardine Energy & Geotechnics
2004 Prof. N.N. Ambraseys Engineering, seismology and soil mechanics
2002 Prof. D.M. Potts Numerical analysis: a virtual dream or practical reality?
1994 Prof. P.R. Vaughan Assumption, prediction and reality in geotechnical engineering
1990 Prof. J.B. Burland On the compressibility and shear strength of natural clays
1966 Prof. A.W. Bishop The strength of soils as engineering materials
1964 Prof. A.W. Skempton Long-term stability of clay slopes
*Academic staff members at the time of their lecture
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Alumni and Former Staff who Delivered the Rankine Lecture

2007  Prof. A. Gens Soil-environment interactions in geotechnical engineering
2000  Prof. J.H Atkinson Non-linear soil stiffness in routine design
1998 Dr D.W. Hight Soil characterisation: the importance of structure and anisotropy
1982 Dr D.J. Henkel Geology, geomorphology and geotechnics
1981 Prof. N.R. Morgenstern Geotechnical engineering and frontier resource development
1974 Prof. R.E. Gibson he analytical method in soil mechanics
*Imperial College Alumni and Former Members of Staff
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Glossop Lectures

 2008  Professor Mike de Freitas Geology; its principles, practice and potential for Geotechnics 
 2000  Professor John Hutchinson Reading the Ground: Morphology and Geology in Site Appraisal 
1999  Professor Richard Chandler Clay Sediments in Depositional Basins: the Geotechnical Cycle
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