ASCE has honored Sarah Springman, Ph.D., C.Eng, with the 2025 Karl Terzaghi Lecture for contributions in geotechnical engineering in the areas of landslide mechanics and soil-structure interaction through the integration of physical modeling, numerical simulation, and field experiments.
Springman's 40-plus-year career has addressed a diverse set of technical areas in geotechnical engineering: landslides, permafrost, and soil-structure interaction, as well as fundamental aspects of soil mechanics and physical modeling using geotechnical centrifuges. These contributions have influenced our understanding of landslide mechanics, triggering mechanisms, and analysis methods for landslides, and Springman addressed climate change through her work on permafrost long before climate change research was en vogue. She has been one of the pioneers of the use of geotechnical centrifuges as well as active in the physical modeling community through her involvement in ISSMGE technical committee TC2 (now TC 104): Physical Modelling in Geotechnics.
The emphasis of Springman's research and technical contributions have been on the geotechnical modeling of soil-structure interaction problems, including the design and construction of abutments, pile foundations, reinforced soil, and ground improvement of soft and sensitive soils (e.g., sand compaction piles, dynamic compaction). She has combined physical modeling in environments such as geotechnical centrifuges with numerical modeling, with particular emphasis on geotechnical natural hazards, landslides, and melting permafrost.
Springman is a celebrated orator. Her CV lists no less than 93 keynote lectures. In her leadership roles as rector of ETH Zurich, principal of St Hilda's College, Oxford, and vice president of the International Triathlon Union, she has shown that she can deliver an inspiring presentation. Her impact on the many students she has advised for is significant, as evidence by their successful careers as leaders in our profession.
The Karl Terzaghi Lecture is awarded, upon the recommendation of the Board of Governors of the Geo-Institute, to a distinguished engineer who will deliver the Terzaghi Lecture at an appropriate meeting of the Society.