University of Texas-AustinCivil EngineeringGeotechnical
 Faculty | Research Program | Courses | Admissions | Announcements | Links
Biographical Information
Research Group
Research Activities

Jorge G. Zornberg, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

- Biographical Information -

Download Full CV

Dr. Zornberg, P.E., is Professor and W. J. Murray Fellow in the Geotechnical Engineering program at the University of Texas at Austin. He has 30 years’ experience both in research and practice in geotechnical, geosynthetics, and geoenvironmental engineering. He earned his B.S. (Hons.) from the National University of Cordoba (Argentina), his M.S. from PUC-Rio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

As part of his professional consulting experience, Prof. Zornberg participated in the analysis, design and forensic evaluation of retaining walls, reinforced soil structures, transportation facilities, impoundment and mining lining systems, as well as urban and hazardous waste containment facilities. He has served as expert witness in cases involving the collapse of earth retaining structures, failure of geosynthetic barrier systems, and failure of pavements and structures on expansive clays. He has been involved in projects involving the design of geosynthetic-reinforced covers, development of design approaches for geosynthetic drainage layers, evaluation of wind uplift of exposed geomembranes, quantification of leakage through defects in liner systems, unsaturated flow modeling of evapotranspirative covers, deformability (finite elements) and stability (static and seismic) analyses of earth structures, assessment of structures subjected to differential settlements, performance of geosynthetic-reinforced bridge abutments, and evaluation of alternatives for landfill and mining closures. Prof. Zornberg evaluated the closure of high-profile hazardous waste facilities, including the first evapotranspirative cover and the first triple-lined system in US Superfund sites. He was involved in the first integral geosynthetic-reinforced bridge abutment in a US highway.

As part of his academic experience, Prof. Zornberg conducts research on soil reinforcement, geosynthetics, earth retaining structures, unsaturated soils, liner systems, and numerical and physical (centrifuge) modeling of geotechnical and geoenvironmental systems. His research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Federal Highway Administration, Transportation Research Board, Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Education, Geosynthetic Institute, geosynthetic manufacturers, as well as the Departments of Transportation of Texas, Colorado and California. Prof. Zornberg’s research in the area of soil reinforcement includes the evaluation of failure mechanisms of retaining walls, strain distribution within reinforced soil structures, fiber-reinforced soil, geosynthetic-reinforced bridge abutments, creep response of geosynthetics, use of geosynthetics in roadways, and geosynthetics to reinforce poorly draining fills. Prof. Zornberg’s research in the area of environmental geotechnics includes the design of geosynthetic drainage layers, leakage through geomembrane defects, shear strength of geosynthetic clay liners, analysis of exposed geomembrane covers, hydraulic characterization of unsaturated soils, performance of unsaturated soil covers, benign reuse of recycled waste, characterization of expansive clays, and the behavior of unsaturated geosynthetics. He has offered numerous short courses, and teaches graduate courses at the University of Texas at Austin on Earth Retaining Structures and on Geoenvironmental Engineering.

In recognition to his contributions, Prof. Zornberg received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) awarded by President George W. Bush in 2002. This Presidential Award is “the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.” In addition, Dr. Zornberg received the Mercer Lecture award (ISSMGE and IGS, 2015), the J. James R. Croes Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE, 2012), the Best Paper Award from the Journal of GeoEngineering (2011), the Best Paper Award from the Geosynthetics International Journal (2010), the IGS Award from the International Geosynthetics Society (2004), the Award of Excellence from the North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS, 2003), the Research Development Award from the CE Department at the U. of Colorado (2003), the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF, 2001), the Young Researcher Award from the Civil Engineering Department at the U. of Colorado (2001), the Collingwood Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE, 2000), the Junior Faculty Development Award from the University of Colorado (1999), and the Young IGS Member Award from the International Geosynthetics Society (1996).

Prof. Zornberg served as President of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS), a non-profit organization with over 4,000 members worldwide (2010-14). In addition, he currently chairs the Technical Committee on Geosynthetics of the Geo-Institute of ASCE and co-chairs the 2017 Geo-Congress. Prof. Zornberg has authored over 350 technical publications. He is the editor of several ASCE Geotechnical Special Publications and the author of several book chapters. Prof. Zornberg was awarded three patents. He is an Editorial Board member of the journals Geosynthetics International, Geotextiles and Geomembranes, Soils and Rocks, GeoEngineering, Transportation Geotechnics, and Environmental Geotechnics. Prof. Zornberg chaired the First Pan-American Geosynthetics Conference (GeoAmericas 2008) held in Cancún, Mexico and co-chairs the Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 Conference to be held in Orlando, FL. He has been invited to deliver keynote lectures in numerous events around the world, including the USA, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, UK, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, Germany, Turkey, Israel, India, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Australia, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa.
OFFICE: ECJ 9.227G | PHONE: 512-232-3595 | FAX: 512-471-6548 | E-MAIL: | UT Mail: C1792