Terzaghi, Karl

Terzaghi, Karl

(1868–1963) engineer; born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. After graduating from an Austrian technical college, he practiced engineering in Vienna; in 1916 he went to Istanbul to teach and in 1918 joined the faculty of Robert College there. He first came to the U.S.A. in 1925 to teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1925–29), then went to Vienna to teach (1929–38), returning to the U.S.A. in 1939; he became a citizen in 1943 and taught at Harvard (1946–56). His entire career was devoted to establishing the modern discipline of soil mechanics—the behavior of soil under stress—and foundation engineering, thereby enabling engineers to design safe foundations, earth dams, etc., on a scientific basis.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Terzaghi, Karl


Born Oct. 2, 1883, in Prague; died Oct. 25, 1963, in Winchester, Mass. American engineer and scientist in soil mechanics and foundation engineering. Doctor of sciences (1912).

After graduating in 1904 from the Technische Hochschule (now the Technical University) in Graz, Austria, Terzaghi worked as a geologist. From 1916 he conducted research and taught in higher educational institutions in Austria, Turkey, the USA (including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University), and other countries. He was one of the founders of soil mechanics. He founded the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering in 1936 and was the organization’s president until 1957 and honorary president thereafter. He was the author of a large number of research works and expert evaluations, many originals of which are preserved in the Terzaghi Library at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute in Oslo.


In Russian translation:
Stroitel’naia mekhanika grunta na osnove ego fizicheskikh svoistv. Moscow, 1933.
Mekhanika gruntov v inzhenernoi praktike. Moscow, 1958. (With R. Peck.)
Teoriia mekhaniki gruntov. Moscow, 1961.


From Theory to Practice in Soil Mechanics: Selections From the Writings of Karl Terzaghi, With Bibliography and Contributions on His Life and Achievements. New York-London, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.