Dr. Antonio Bobet:
Challenges and Opportunities in Geoengineering

Event Date: March 11, 2014
Hosted By: CoE Academic Affairs
Time: 3:30 PM
Location: HAMP G212
Contact Name: Marsha Freeland
Open To: All
Dr. Antonio Bobet


The field of Geoengineering has become key to address the challenges of this century. One such challenge is the renovation and maintenance of the aging infrastructure in the US. The technical difficulties to do so are enormous and unprecedented because of the scale of the problem and decreasing resources. Another such challenge stems out of society’s continuous demand for improved levels of comfort and access to sustainable, safe and renewable resources, e.g. gas from shale reservoirs, where geoengineering plays the most important role. Sustainability calls for safe and economic technologies for waste disposal, CO2 sequestration and new sources of clean energy. The science required to face these problems is inherently interdisciplinary, but not yet available. Finding solutions for these questions is a great challenge but also a great opportunity.

The seminar provides and overview of three projects that highlight challenges in geoengineering and point towards new directions of research. The first project describes the investigation on the response of underground structures during earthquakes and illustrates the benefits of working at the interface between disciplines. The second project explores a change of paradigm, from “ground engineering” to “engineering the ground” and presents an autoadaptive method to strengthen existing infrastructures against earthquake failure by engineering the existing pore fluid in the ground. The third project, at the intersection between geomechanics and geophysics, contributes to the concept of “transparent earth” and presents evidence of the existence of precursors to slip failure, in the form of detectable changes in the material that precede fault rupture.


Dr. Bobet is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Technical University of Madrid in Spain and a Doctor of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Bobet’s areas of interest include rock mechanics, underground structures, soil-structure interaction during extreme events and problem soils. He has extensive experience in practice. He was a senior geotechnical engineer at Euroestudios, consulting engineers, in Spain for four years, and a construction manager for Ferrovial, Spain, also for four years.

He has authored or co-authored more than one hundred technical publications. He serves or has served on the Editorial Board of ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal, Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering Journal, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology Journal and International Journal for Analytical and Numerical Methods in Geomechanics. He is a member and past chair of the ASCE rock mechanics committee, a Director of the Board of Directors of the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA), the Chair of the 2012 U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium and is a member of the Geotechnical Advisory Board (GAB) of the Panama Canal. He is also the President of the American Rock Mechanics Association.

Dr. Bobet has received a number of awards, including the ASCE 2011 Ralph B. Peck Award, the 2012 National Award for Significant Contributions in Science and Technology - SENACYT Panama, and the 2012 ARMA Research Award.