EJGE/Magazine Feature

Karl von Terzaghi

Court Apperance Story

Karl Terzaghi was in the witness chair in a courtroom as an expert witness (some time in the late 1950's). The opposing lawyer quoted KvT from his 1943 Theoretical Soil Mechanics book and asked Terzaghi if that is not what he had written. Terzaghi said "Yes". "Then," replied the lawyer triumphantly, "the testimony you just gave contradicts what you wrote, does it not Dr. Terzaghi?". Those who knew KvT in the courtroom were hushed into disbelief until Terzaghi replied: "Sir, you think I am such a vegetable that I have not learned anything new since then?".

Contributed by Cameran Merza who remembers "I was a grad student at U of Illinois (1965-67), when either Don Deere or Ralph Peck related the story to the class, and it made a most profound impression on me."


WWW Consortium Geotechnical Engineering Domain Administrator: Mete Öner

For corrections, complaints, and praise, email to:


© Copyright Mete Oner, 1997