Frost returns to his alma mater to deliver lecture named for his mentor

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


In some ways, when Professor David Frost delivers the 14th Leonards Lecture at Purdue University this spring, he will be returning to his roots.

Frost earned his master’s and Ph.D. from Purdue in the late 1980s. And one of his co-advisers and mentors was Gerald Leonards, the namesake of the lecture.

“I consider Jerry to be one of the most important influences on my professional development,” Frost said. “It was a privilege to work with him at Purdue from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s. His focus on understanding the fundamentals of the problem and on learning from failures are values that remain with me today. It is a wonderful honor to be asked to deliver the 14th Leonards Lecture.”

The lecture is part of a day-long workshop of technical presentations put together by the Purdue Geotechnical Society each year. Organizers said they invited Frost to give the signature lecture because of his many contributions to geotechnical engineering research and practice as well as his expertise in geotechnical forensics and post-disaster damage assessment.

Frost said his lecture will cover how information is used in failure investigations — and how that’s changing.

“The reason I chose this topic is to illustrate how the philosophy and approach advocated by Dr. Leonards in investigating failures remains just as relevant today despite the explosion in [the] quantity of information available, and in fact, may be even more important now as fundamental insight and understanding get displaced by ever-increasing large data sets.”

The Purdue Geotechnical Society Workshop and Frost’s Leonards Lecture is scheduled for April 15.