Vaughan Griffiths, Ph.D., D.Sc., D.GE, P.E., C.Eng, Dist.M.ASCE, who has attained an preeminent reputation in the fields of risk assessment and finite element modeling, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2019 class of Distinguished Members for important contributions in universally increasing the safety and economy of geotechnical engineering projects.
Griffiths has advanced the state of knowledge among practitioners throughout ASCE and educated those who, worldwide, apply themselves to risk assessment and finite element modeling in geotechnical engineering. His legacy includes more than 300 papers and three textbooks, which have seen translation into several languages, Chinese among them.
His article on earth-slope stability, published in the journal Geotechnique in 1999, is one of the most highly cited papers in the literature. This work helped transform the way slope stability analysis is performed, the strength reduction method now being a standard component of proprietary codes used routinely in geotechnical practice. The result of this development was enhanced project safety and economy in civil engineering around the globe.
Griffiths’ distinguished 40-year-plus academic career – first at the University of Manchester and for the past 24 years at the Colorado School of Mines – has been characterized by an envied balance between research, educational leadership and professional service. He is a much sought-after instructor of continuing education courses for practitioners in geotechnical engineering, with over 30 courses given for ASCE Continuing Education in addition to offerings for professional groups as far and wide as Norway, Colombia, Canada, China and New Zealand, to name only a few recent visits.
His research focuses on petroleum geomechanics, probabilistic geotechnical engineering, soil mechanics and foundational engineering, and finite element software development.
Griffiths has served ASCE in an array of leadership positions, including as Colorado Section president, Region 7 governor, and on the Board of Direction as regional director (2010-2013). He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, in the United Kingdom. Last year he gave the keynote lecture at the 4th Australasian Conference on Computational Mechanics, in Hobart, Australia.
He chaired the highly successful Geo-Risk 2017 conference in Denver and for the last six years has chaired the Geo-Institute’s Risk Assessment and Management (RAM) Technical Committee. The committee received the Best Committee of the Year award from the G-I in 2018 for its outreach and national lecture series. Griffiths’ professional merits and efforts have garnered him the ASCE H. Bolton Seed Medal.