Milton E. Harr

Professor Emeritus

Purdue University
Lyles School of Civil Engineering
550 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2051



Specialty Area(s)

In December of 1998, Dr. Milton E. Harr retired from Purdue University as Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering after 43 years on the faculty. He served in the U.S. Navy (D-Day in Normandy) and the U.S. Marine Corp (Iwo Jima) in World War II. He married (Florence) in 1945. Today, the couple have 4 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. He earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering at Northeastern University in 1949, an M.S. at Rutgers University in 1955, and the Ph. D. degree at Purdue University in 1958.

He has an extensive record in professional organizations, national committees, and consulting activities around the world. Among the latter are: Bendix Corp. (pads on lunar module); Committee to improve foundation of leaning tower of Pisa; Bougainville Copper; Dow Chemical Company; Hanna Mining Co.; Island Copper, Vancouver, Canada; Monsanto Chemical Co.; NASA Aeronautics Advisory Board (on pavements); Sandia National Laboratories (nuclear repository); Scientific Arbitrator for Mt. St. Helens, FEMA; U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (40+years) and the U.S. Air Force.

He has received many honors both in the U.S. and abroad. Among these are: Election to the National Academy of Engineering; Hero Award of American Society of Civil Engineers; Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brussels, Belgium; The Alexander von Humboldt Prize; and Distinguished Engineering Lecturer at many national and international universities; and most recently, Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (France).

He has written 4 technical books (Groundwater and Seepage, 1962; Foundations of Theoretical Soil Mechanics, 1966; Mechanics of Particulate Media-A Probabilistic Approach, 1977; Reliability-Based Design in Civil engineering, 1987; all published by McGraw-Hill) as well as a novel The Great Affair ( and a number of chapters in other technical books, and has authored or coauthored over 100 refereed papers.

He resides in Rhode Island in the summer and winters in Longboat Key, Florida.

Honors & Awards
Alexander von Humboldt, U.S. Senior Scientist Award (1983)

Bechtel Award (1983)

Board of Directors of Indiana Joint Highway Research Project (1969-1972)

Society of Chi Epsilon (Civil Engrg. Honorary)

Cross Canada Lecture Tour, April-May 1981


Distinguished Engineering Lecturer, Carleton Univ., Ottawa, 1987

Distinguished Engineering Lecturer, University of Alberta, Edmonton, 1983

G. Brooks Earnest Award, Cleveland Section, ASCE, 1987

Editorial Board of "Applied Ocean Research" (1978- 1990)

"International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics"(1978-1988)

HERO AWARD, Geo Institute of ASCE, 2006

Honorary Doctorate, Univ. of Brussels, Nov. 1987

Member of Advisory Panel of American Association of State Highway Officials (1955-1961)


Highway Research Board Committee on Stresses in Earth Masses

Indiana Academy of Science

Life Member of American Society of Civil Engineers

NASA Aeronautics Advisory Committee (1977-1981)

Pavement Design Division of HRB, Chairman (1964-1970)

Society of Sigma Xi (Research Honorary)

Task Force on Railway Maintenance Committee,
Transportation Research Board (1978-1982)

Track Structure System Design Committee, Chairman (1976-1979)

United States Committee on Large Dams

Shaw Lecturer, April 1984, North Carolina State University

Third Marine Division Association

United States Patent 4,571,695 "Non-contact Road Profilometer and Deflection Meter", February 18, 1986