International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering

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History

The International Society had its origins in the First International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering held in Harvard in 1936. A total of 206 delegates attended from 20 countries. In order to ensure continuation of this very successful initiative, an Executive Committee was set up with Karl Terzaghi as President and Arthur Casagrande as Secretary; but war intervened and the Second ICSMFE was not held until 1948 in Rotterdam. Again this proved to be a great success, with 596 delegates. By the time of the Third ICSMFE in Zurich in 1953, the International Society had become firmly established, with Terzaghi as President and Donald Taylor as Secretary. In 1957 A W Skempton became President, and the Secretariat moved to the UK. Since 1965, the Secretaries General have been J.K.T.L. Nash (1965-1981), J.B. Burland (1981) and R.H.G. Parry (1981-1999). The quadriennial ICSMFE became an established pattern from 1953 and the Jubilee Conference was held in San Francisco in 1985, attracting 2000 delegates and guests. The first Regional Conference was the Australasian Conference held in Australia in 1952, and quadriennial Regional Conferences have also become an established pattern. In 1981 the Steering Committee was set up to give a better focus to the rapidly expanding Society. It became the Board in 1985, which meets every year, while the Council meets every two years. In 1997, Council approved a change in name to the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering to reflect more accurately the activities of the Society. 

ISSMGE has experienced a rapid growth in membership, the 32 Member Societies and 2500 individual members in 1957 increasing to 50/11500 in 1977 and 71/16500 in 1998. The growth in membership has been matched by increasing activities, largely through the establishment of many active Technical Committees and Task Forces. 

Presidents of ISSMGE 
1936–1957 K. Terzaghi (USA)
1957–1961 A. W. Skempton (UK)
1961–1965 A. Casagrande (USA)
1965–1969 L. Bjerrum (Norway)
1969–1973 R. B. Peck (USA)
1973–1977 J. Kerisel (France)
1977–1981 M. Fukuoka (Japan)
1981–1985 V. F. B. de Mello (Brazil)
1985–1989 B. B. Broms (Singapore)
1989–1994 N. R. Morgenstern (Canada)
1994–1997 M. Jamiolkowski (Italy)
1997–2001 K. Ishihara (Japan) 
2001-2005 W. Van Impe (Belgium)
2005-2009 P.S. Sêco e Pinto (Portugal)