ASCE has honored Edward J. Cording, Ph.D., M.ASCE, NAE, with the invitation to present the 2020 Karl Terzaghi Lecture. For more than 40 years, Cording has made continuous efforts to advance the state of practice in the design and performance of underground structures. He remains a much sought-after consultant working on some of the most challenging projects nationwide.
Cording is a professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has made numerous transformative contributions in the areas of rock and soil mechanics. He, in collaboration with others, was the pioneer in evaluating the effect of using rock bolts on the geomechanics and performance of underground structures.
His interest in the impact of underground construction on existing structures in urban areas started with his work on the Washington Subway (Metro) in the 1970s with several of his doctoral students. He used the construction of the subway system as a full-scale laboratory to understand the relationship between movements due to tunneling or excavation, and surface movement impacting a range of structures with a focus on historic structures. He continued this groundbreaking work over the following decades, collecting additional case histories and conducting carefully controlled model-scale experiments in a custom-built facility to better understand the impact of ground movements on masonry structures. He elegantly combined field, laboratory, and numerical simulations with engineering judgment to develop guidance that is used by engineers worldwide who are exposed to his many publications and presentations.
Through his professional engagements, Cording seamlessly took his developments from theory to practice. Most recently through his engagement on the SR 99 tunneling (Bertha) under the city of Seattle, he is developing new understandings on the remarkable ground control that can be achieved by modern tunneling machines. He is also heavily engaged with the development of new rail lines for the Los Angeles Metro.
The Karl Terzaghi Lecture is awarded, upon the recommendation of the Board of Governors of the Geo-Institute, to a distinguished engineer who will deliver the Terzaghi Lecture at an appropriate meeting of the Society.