The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Thursday, 10 January 2013 13:00

Nilmar Janbu (1921-2013)


As distributed by NGI on 1/8/2013, available here.

The text and image in this article is reproduction from what has been posted on the NGI webpage and is copied here upon permission.

Professor Nilmar Janbu passed away on January 4th

Professor Emeritus Nilmar Janbu, the acclaimed scholar in geotechnical engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), passed away peacefully in Trondheim on January 4th 2013. He was 91.


Nilmar Janbu was active with geotechnical work up to just a few years ago. He was a dear colleague to many in the geotechnical and engineering community in Norway and abroad and a fabulous educator in geotechnical engineering. His enthusiasm motivated hundreds of civil engineering students at NTH/NTNU to choose geotechnical engineering as their major.

Nilmar received his M.Sc. degree at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, USA, in 1949, where he worked with Professors Karl Terzaghi and Arthur Cassagrande. In 1954, he successfully defended his doctoral work, also at Harvard. Nilmar Janbu joined NGI in 1952, working closely with Laurits Bjerrum and Bjørn Kjærnsli. Nilmar established and became the leader of NGI's department and laboratories in Trondheim. In 1961, when NTH (NTNU's former acronym) opened a new
Department for Geotechnical Engineering in Trondheim, Nilmar was appointed as
its first Professor.

Nilmar Janbu became internationally recognized for his work within geotechnical engineering. He had a thorough understanding of the mechanical behaviour of soils, and over the years he developed many new concepts and made valuable contributions to the practical solution of geotechnical engineering problems, including settlements, slope stability and deformations. In addition to his teaching, he worked also as a consultant and problem-solver for both private organisations and governmental bodies.

Nilmar has given guest lectures throughout the world, such as in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, China, Russia and the USA. In 1985, he gave the prestigious "Rankine Lecture" at Imperial College in London. He wrote more than 130 scientific publications, including for example:

  •     Stability analysis of slopes with dimensionless parameters, PhD thesis, Harvard Soil Mechanics Series 46, Cambridge, USA 1954
  •     Guidance to practical solutions in foundations engineering (¿Veiledning ved Løsning av Fundamenteringsoppgaver¿), with L. Bjerrum og B. Kjærnsli, NGI Publication No 16, 1956
  •     Basics in geotechnics ("Grunnlag i geoteknikk"), Tapir, Trondheim 1970
  •     Slope stability computations, in The Embankment Dam Engineering, R. Hirschfeld (ed.). New York 1973, pp. 47-86
  •     Soil models in offshore engineering. 25th Rankine Lecture, Geotechnique 35, No. 3, London 1985, pp. 241-285
  •     Sediment deformations. A classical approach to stress-strain-time behaviour of granular media as developed at NTH over a 50 year period, Trondheim 1998.


A memorial service for Nilmar Janbu will be held in Trondheim on Friday January 11th, at 15:00 (3:00 PM).
Address for memorial service: Svanholm Seremonirom, Brøsetvegen 145, N-7048 Trondheim.


Read 10013 times Last modified on Friday, 18 January 2013 09:19