9 March 2009

The loss of a geotechnical great – Sir Alan Muir-Wood

Posted by Dave Petley

The Daily Telegraph is today carrying an obituary of Sir Alan Muir-Wood. Whilst Sir Alan will be best remembered as one of the modern-day fathers of tunnelling, his early work was focused on erosion on the south coast of England. For example, he was responsible for developing an understanding of the Folkestone Warren landslide in Kent in SE England (see image below), and for many other coastal slopes beside.

His legacy lives on, partly in the form of Halcrow, for whom he worked until retirement in 1984, and also in the form of his sons – David Muir-Wood is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Bristol, whilst another, Robert Muir-Wood, is the chief research officer for the Catastrophe Modelling company RMS. The world of geotechnics is a little poorer for his loss.