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

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

As part of his professional consulting experience, Prof. Zornberg has been involved in the analysis, design and forensic evaluation of retaining walls, reinforced soil structures, roadway systems, mining facilities, impoundment lining systems, as well as urban and hazardous waste containment facilities. He has served as expert witness in litigation cases involving the collapse of earth retaining structures, failure of geosynthetic barrier systems, and failure of pavement and civil infrastructure founded on expansive clays. His design consulting activities have involved deformability and stability analyses of earth retaining structures, geosynthetic-reinforced bridge abutments, the evaluation of geosynthetic-reinforced covers, new methods for geosynthetic drainage layers, wind uplift of exposed geomembranes, closure of mining waste facilities, vertical expansion of waste containment facilities, leakage through defects in liner systems, impoundments for the oil and gas industry, unsaturated flow in evapotranspirative covers, roadways founded on expansive clays, and liner alternatives for landfill and mining systems. 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 load-carrying geosynthetic-reinforced bridge abutment in a US highway.

As part of his academic experience, Prof. Zornberg conducts research on soil reinforcement, new earth retention systems, transportation geotechnics, geosynthetics, 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 and transportation geotechnics includes the study of failure mechanisms in earth retaining walls, soil-geosynthetic interaction, geosynthetic-reinforced bridge abutments, fiber-reinforced soil, creep of geosynthetic reinforcements, and the use of geosynthetics in roadway systems. Prof. Zornberg’s research in the area of environmental geotechnics includes the characterization of expansive clays, geosynthetic drainage layers, leakage through geomembrane defects, characterization of dewatered dredged materials, shear strength of GCLs, exposed geomembrane covers, flow through unsaturated soils, and the analysis of unsaturated soil covers. He teaches graduate courses on Earth Retaining Structures and Geoenvironmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

In recognition of 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 2019, the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) recognized his “major contributions to the geosynthetics discipline” by establishing the “Zornberg Lecture,” an honorary inaugural lecture for the Pan-American Conferences on Geosynthetics. In addition, Dr. Zornberg received the IGS Service Award (2018), 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 (IGS, 2004), the Award of Excellence from the North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS, 2003), the Research Development Award (CEAE Dept., U. of Colorado, 2003), the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF, 2001), the Young Researcher Award from the CEAE Department at the U. of Colorado (2001), the Collingwood Prize from ASCE (2000), the Junior Faculty Development Award (U. of Colorado, 1999), and the Young IGS Member Award from the IGS (1996).

Prof. Zornberg served as President of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS), a non-profit organization with over 4,000 members worldwide (2010-14). He was elected “Fellow” of ASCE, a society in which he currently serves as chair of its G-I Technical Committee on Geosynthetics. Prof. Zornberg has authored over 450 technical publications. He has also authored several book chapters and served as editor in ASCE Geotechnical Special Publications. Prof. Zornberg was awarded three patents. He is an Editorial Board member of the journals Geosynthetics International, Geotextiles and Geomembranes, Soils and Rocks, GeoEngineering, and Transportation Geotechnics. Prof. Zornberg chaired the First Pan-American Geosynthetics Conference (GeoAmericas 2008, Cancún, Mexico) and co-chaired the Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 (ASCE, Orlando, FL). He has been invited to deliver numerous keynote lectures around the world, including the USA, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Iceland, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Turkey, Israel, China, India, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa.
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