Obituary - Ralph Peck - TunnelTalk



Dr. Ralph B. Peck 1912-2008

Dr. Ralph B. Peck 1912-2008
A leading authority in the science of geotechnical engineering died on February 18th 2008. Dr.Ralph Peck died at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, aged 96.
Peck is recognized as the successor and pioneer of the work started and developed in the fields of soil mechanics and geomechanical engineering by his mentors Karl Terzaghi and Arthur Casagrande.
With a degree (1934) and a PhD (1937) in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, Peck attended the soil mechanics course at Harvard University and was a laboratory assistant to Casagrande (1938-39). He then represented Terzaghi as an assistant subway engineer on the Chicago Subway Project for the City of Chicago from 1939-42.
In 1942 he joined the University of Illinois and was a Professor of Foundation Engineering from 1948-74.
On retiring as Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois in 1974 and moving to Albuquerque, Peck continued an active consulting practice that included more than 1,000 consulting projects across the United States and in 28 countries of the world. Among these were the rapid transit systems in Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington DC; the Alaskan Pipeline System; the James Bay Project in Quebec; and the Dead Sea dikes.
Peck served as President of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering from 1969-73.
In 1974, he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Ford. Other honors include the Norman Medal, The Wellington Prize, and the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Education from the American Society of Engineers.
His last project was the Rion-Antirion Bridge in Greece, which received the ASCE's OPAL Outstanding Civil Engineering Award for 2005, the only project outside the United States to be so honored.
Professor Peck is missed by a son and daughter and their families and memorial contributions were requested to the Ralph B. Peck Geotechnical Engineering Fund University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 West Green Street, MC-386 Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.