In historic literature, there is the Great Man theory, whereby history is reflected in the biographies of preeminent characters. In the more theoretical and academic branches of specialty geotechnical engineering, the theory holds with, of course, Prof. Terzaghi one of the heroic great men a researcher, problem solver, and inspiration sans pareil. In contrast, in the branch of specialty geotechnical construction, technological advances occur principally through Great Leaps as opposed to steady and progressive evolution.|
Six criteria must be satisfied in support of awarding Great Leap status, beginning with a project-specific challenge of unprecedented scope or complexity, and ending with a legacy document detailing and codifying the leap. These steps are illustrated by reference to developments in drilling and grouting; cutoffs for dams; Deep Mixing; and micropiles, all techniques in which the author has been intimately involved throughout his professional career as a researcher, contractor, educator and consultant.
Donald Bruce received his BS (Geology and Mineralogy) and Ph.D (Geotechnical Engineering) from Aberdeen University, Scotland. He thereafter worked in specialty geotechnical construction in various countries and projects throughout the world before becoming Technical Director of Nicholson Construction, Pittsburgh, PA, from 1986-1996. Since then, he has been President of Geosystems, L.P., a consultancy based in Pittsburgh, PA and Scottsdale, AZ, specializing in the application of ground treatment, improvement and retention techniques. As such, he has participated in over 1,000 projects in 6 continents, principally associated with dams, levees, deep foundations, tunnels and mines.
Dr. Bruce is active in professional and trade associations in North America and Europe, and is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers (UK), and a Licensed Geologist and Engineering Geologist in the US. He has authored over 280 technical papers and three textbooks, the latest of which are Dam Foundation Grouting (Bruce and Weaver) and Specialty Construction Techniques for Dam and Levee Remediation.
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