Obituary 28 Nov 2019

Giovanni Barla 1940-2019

Influential rock mechanics researcher and former Professor of Rock Mechanics at the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, Giovanni Barla died on 17 November 2019. As Head of the Department of Structural and Geotechnical Engineering at the Politecnico di Torino from 2003 to 2011, Barla was also Editor in Chief of the journal Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering. He was a past President of the Italian Geotechnical Association (AGI) and Vice President for Europe of the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM).

Giovanni Barla
Giovanni Barla

Barla received many recognitions through his long and distinguished career including being elected as a Fellow of the ISRM in 2012, and awarded for outstanding contributions from the IACMAG in 2014, and Emeritus Membership of the AGI in 2015. He was a member of the Torino Academy of Science and a renowned international consultant.

Graduating in mining engineering from the Politecnico di Torino in 1965, Barla specialised in rock mechanics for his post-graduate work and obtained a Masters’ degree from Columbia University, New York, in 1967. He was awarded the Doctor of Engineering Science Degree from Columbia University in 1970 for a thesis on stress analysis of underground excavations.

His research interests spanned several specific topics in the fields of rock mechanics, tunnel engineering, rock slope and dam engineering, and numerical methods in geomechanics. He acted as designer, geotechnical consultant, or was responsible of the numerical studies on a wide range of rock, geotechnical, and mining engineering projects.

Past students of Professor Barla have been paying respects to their master on the international social media services. His reputation will live on in his many authored and co-authored papers and text book publications in his specialist field of rock mechanics.

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