A melting pot of experts with research interests as diverse as geotechnical engineering, termite burrowing, tree physiology, granular physics and soft robotics trickled in from around the world in late May for the First International Workshop on Bio-Inspired Geotechnics. The NSF-funded workshop brought together 60 experts from engineering and science research, as well as industry, to foster dialogue and collaborations to better establish the field of bio-inspired geotechnics.
Sheng Dai arrived in Atlanta just a week before classes began for the fall 2015 semester, and it was really a homecoming of sorts. Dai is the newest faculty member in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, arriving after two years at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. But before that, he spent half a decade in the School, earning his doctorate in civil engineering. He finished in 2013.
An $18.5 million investment from the National Science Foundation will help researchers at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech — along with colleagues at Arizona State, New Mexico State, and the University of California, Davis — tap into the lessons nature teaches us and, potentially, revolutionize geotechnical engineering in the process.