The University of New Hampshire Annual Pedro de Alba Lecture

in Geotechnical Engineering


2017 Lecture




Speaker: Professor G. W. Clough

President Emeritus of the Georgia Institute of Technology

Secretary Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution


Date and Time: Tuesday, 4 April 2017, 6:30-8 PM

Networking hour (Cash Bar and Appetizer) at 5:30

Venue: University of New Hampshire, Huddleston Hall



The Smithsonian was founded in 1846 based on an act of Congress and a gift made by James Smithson, an Englishman who never visited the United States.  The Smithson funds were used to build the Smithsonian Institution building.  It was completed in 1855 and was the first structure on what is now known as the National Mall.  From its founding in 1846 until 1915, the Smithsonian was a science based organization and grew through activities in natural history, astronomy, zoological studies, and scientific collections.  In this phase two large museums and research centers, and the National Zoo were built.  Over time the Smithsonian expanded to include history, art and culture.  Today the Smithsonian consists of 19 museums and galleries, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo.  It has facilities in 8 states, Panama and Belize.  It has astronomical observatories in Hawaii, Arizona and Chile. 

In the seven years of G. Wayne Clough’s tenure as secretary of the Smithsonian, over $1.5 billion worth of facilities were built, including the recently completed National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the first Leeds Platinum building, the Mathias Laboratory of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.  From looking back historically to his perspective on the most recent developments, Dr. Clough provides an overview of how the Smithsonian’s great buildings were constructed.


For more information and in order to register please contact Jean Benoît at

Sponsorship opportunities are available in support of this annual event.


To watch the 2017 de Alba Lecture click here ; Presentation File


Previous Lectures , you can watch the recorded lectures.


As we celebrate the 5th anniversary of this successful lecture series, we would like to solicit your help in reaching our goal of $50,000 for the de Alba Scholarship Endowment.  Please contact Marya Gorczyca at for details.  Sponsorship of this lecture is also greatly appreciated.  


Professor de Alba's Bio:

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico on April 2, 1939, Pedro A. de Alba obtained his BSCE in 1964 from the National University of Mexico (UNAM). He then worked as a design engineer for public and private sector, before obtaining his MS in 1969 from the University of California, Berkeley. He obtained his Ph.D. working on liquefaction of sands during earthquakes under the supervision of his advisor, Dr. H. Bolton Seed. After his Ph.D. in 1974, he worked as a senior engineer for Shannon & Wilson in Burlingame, California (1974-1976) and then as a research engineer at Berkeley (1976-1977) before joining the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Hampshire in 1977. In his 33 years at UNH he taught over twelve different courses in geotechnical engineering at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Professor de Alba was an outstanding teacher, a scholar and, above all, a gentleman. He was a mentor and a role model to his students and colleagues. In his numerous service roles he always showed great compassion and support for students and the university. His professional interests were in experimental techniques for measuring the dynamic response of soils, especially residual strength of liquefied sand. Professionally he was involved with several major research projects including the deep array for earthquake response at Treasure Island and the National Geotechnical Experimentation Sites program. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the American Society for Testing and Materials where he served as an editorial board member for the Geotechnical Testing Journal. He was also co-editor and founder of the earthquake engineering journal Sismodinámica. His dedication to the engineering profession was truly exemplary.