The British Geotechnical Association (BGA) is the principal
association for geotechnical engineers in the United Kingdom.

Rankine Lecture

The Rankine Lecture is widely viewed as the most prestigious of the invited lectures in geotechnics. It commemorates WJM Rankine, Professor of Civil Engineering at Glasgow University, who was one of the first engineers in the UK to make a significant contribution to soil mechanics. He is best known for his theory for the earth pressure on retaining walls.

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The Rankine Lecture is widely viewed as the most prestigious of the invited lectures in geotechnics. It commemorates William John Macquorn Rankine, Professor of Civil Engineering at Glasgow University, who was one of the first engineers in the UK to make a significant contribution to soil mechanics. He is best known for his theory for the earth pressure on retaining walls.

William John Macquorn Rankine

William John Macquorn Rankine


The Rankine Lecture is held in March each year. In even-numbered years, the lecturer is from the UK. In odd-numbered years, the lecturer is from outside the UK. Each lecture is usually published in Géotechnique. A list of all the lecturers (and links to where their published papers can be purchased from ICE Publishing) are given below:

2018 Dr N. O'Riordan: Dynamic Soil-Structure Interaction - Understanding the Holocene, Instrumenting the Anthropocene
2017 Prof. E. Alonso: Triggering and Motion of Landslides
2016 Prof. R. J. Jardine: Geotechnics and Energy
2015 Dr. Suzanne Lacasse: Hazard, Risk and Reliability in Geotechnical Practice
2014 Prof Guy Houlsby: Interactions in Offshore Foundation Design
2013 Prof. M. Jamiolkowski: Soil Mechanics and the observational method: Challenges at the Zelazny Most copper tailings disposal facility
2012 Prof M. D. Bolton: Performance-based design in geotechnical engineering
2011 Prof. S. W. Sloan: Geotechnical stability analysis
2010 Prof. C. R. I. Clayton: Stiffness at small strain - research and practice.
2009 Prof. T. O’Rourke: Geohazards & Large Geographically Distributed Systems
2008 Dr A. Charles: The engineering behaviour of fill - the use, misuse and disuse of case histories
2007 Prof. A. Gens: Soil-environment interactions in geotechnical engineering
2006 Prof. R. J. Mair: Tunnelling and geotechnics - new horizons
2005 Prof. R. K. Rowe: Long term performance of contaminant barrier systems
2004 Prof. N. N. Ambraseys: Engineering, seismology and soil mechanics
2003 Prof. M. F. Randolph: Science and empiricism in pile foundation design
2002 Prof. D. M. Potts: Numerical analysis: a virtual dream or practical reality?
2001 Prof. H. Brandl: Energy foundations and other thermo-active ground structures
2000 Prof. J. H. Atkinson: Non-linear soil stiffness in routine design
1999 Prof. S. Leroueil: Natural slopes and cuts: movement and failure mechanisms
1998 Dr D.W. Hight: Soil characterisation: the importance of structure and anisotropy
1997 Prof. G.E. Blight: Interactions between the atmosphere and the Earth
1996 Prof. S.F. Brown: Soil mechanics in pavement engineering
1995 Prof. R.E. Goodman: Block theory and its application
1994 Prof. P.R. Vaughan: Assumption, prediction and reality in geotechnical engineering
1993 Prof. K. Ishihara: Liquefaction and flow failure during earthquakes
1992 Dr B. Simpson: Retaining structures: displacement and design
1991 Prof. J.K Mitchell: Conduction phenomena: from theory to geotechnical practice
1990 Prof. J.B. Burland: On the compressibility and shear strength of natural clays
1989 Prof. H.G. Poulos: Pile behaviour – theory and application
1988 Prof. H.B. Sutherland: Uplift resistance in soils
1987 Prof. R.F. Scott: Failure
1986 Dr A.D.M. Penman: On the embankment dam
1985 Prof. N. Janbu: Soil models in offshore engineering
1984 Prof. C.P. Wroth: The interpretation of in situ soil tests
1983 E. Hoek: Strength of jointed rock masses
1982 Dr D.J. Henkel: Geology, geomorphology and geotechnics
1981 Prof. N.R. Morgenstern: Geotechnical engineering and frontier resource development
1980 Prof. A.N. Schofield: Cambridge geotechnical centrifuge operations
1979 Prof. H. Bolton Seed: Considerations in the earthquake-resistant design of earth and rockfill dams
1978 Dr W.H. Ward: Ground supports for tunnels in weak rocks
1977 V.F.B. de Mello: Reflections on design decisions of practical significance to embankment dams
1976 Dr A.C. Meigh: The Triassic rocks, with particular reference to predicted and observed performance of some major foundations
1975 Prof. J. Kerisel: Old structures in relation to soil conditions
1974 Prof. R.E. Gibson: The analytical method in soil mechanics
1973 Prof. T.W. Lambe: Predictions in soil engineering
1972 Prof. P.W. Rowe: The relevance of soil fabric to site investigation practice
1971 Prof. J.C. Jaeger: Friction of rocks and stability of rock slopes
1970 Prof. K.H. Roscoe: The influence of strains in soil mechanics
1969 Prof. R.B. Peck: Advantages and limitations of the observational method in applied soil mechanics
1968 R. Glossop: The rise of geotechnology and its influence on engineering pracice
1967 Dr L. Bjerrum: Engineering geology of Norwegian normally-consolidated marine clays as related to settlements of buildings
1966 Prof. A.W. Bishop: The strength of soils as engineering materials
1965 Prof. N.M. Newmark: Effects of earthquakes on dams and embankments
1964 Prof. A.W. Skempton: Long-term stability of clay slopes
1963 A. Mayer: Recent work in rock mechanics
1962 Dr L.F. Cooling: Field measurements in soil mechanics
1961 Prof. A. Casagrande: Control of seepage through foundations and abutments of dams

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