Dear ISRM members, colleagues and friends,
the year of 2017 is near to the end following the Christmas season holidays in many countries. In general, this is a time when we wish to reflect on the year that had gone and on the year to come, looking for some spiritual renewal in ourselves and wishing a world future with peace, love, kindness, faith and increased solidarity among human beings. For us, it is also a time to reflect on our professional activities, on the technological advances and their influence on our work and on our responsibility of rock engineers towards the protection of the planet.
In his ISRM 17th ISRM Online Lecture in 2017, Prof. Charles Fairhurst called our attention to the fact that population is growing fast and the projections point to about 10 billion people by the middle of this century! How can this growth in population be achieved in a manner that is sustainable from an economic, social and environmental perspective? Development in the sciences and in many branches of engineering is needed to cover the huge demands for resources, but following environmental requirements.
For the ISRM Board, 2017 was again a year of important decisions and also a year with plenty of activities and meetings around the world. As the President of ISRM and following our desire for the continuation of the success of our Society in the years to come, I would like to share with you some of the news from 2017.
Thanks to the support of the members and the National Groups, we have two important reasons to celebrate in the ISRM year of 2017: the addition of the term “Rock Engineering” to the name of our Society and the election of the ISRM President for 2019-2023. Prof. Resat Ulusay, together with a new Board, will continue the successful journey of the ISRM which started in 1962.
Added to the contribution of our National Groups organizing activities in their respective countries and the performance of our Technical Commissions, under the leadership of their Presidents, we also had the collaboration of some of our Fellows who, acting together with our Vice Presidents, encouraged the development of interesting regional activities, participating also with lectures in some of these events. Our e-Newsletter, distributed every four months, brings much information of these activities. With the increased involvement of our members through their respective National Groups, our Society expanded to 61 National Groups during 2017.
We have had an interesting and successful 2017 conference year. We continued to have a relevant number of Specialized Conferences. The ISRM Czech National Group together with the Institute of Geonics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, organized the successful EUROCK 2017 held in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in June. The ISRM South African National Group (SANIRE), together with the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), organized the ISRM International Symposium AfriRock 2017 in Cape Town, in October. Two of the ISRM National Groups, respectively the Spanish National Group and the French National Group celebrated their 50th Anniversary. The two events celebrating 50 years of activities were very well organized with the presence of well-known experts from each country and also from other countries, which gave keynote lectures. Also, the Presidents of both National Group described the development of their national activities in these last 50 years. These events were attended by the ISRM President, the Vice President for Europe and the Secretary General.
I want to congratulate three of our Board colleagues who received important Awards, recognizing the importance of their activities: Prof. Norikazu Shimizu for the Annual Prime Minister Prize in Japan on Disaster Prevention, delivered to him in September; Prof. Doug Stead for the Legget Medal, delivered to him in October, by the Canadian Geotechnical Society and Prof. Resat Ulusay for the Hans Cloos Medal, delivered to him by the IAEG in November 2017. These prizes are good reasons for pride in our Board and for our Society in general.
- This year, the Board analyzed 19 candidate theses and selected Dr. Michael du Plessis, from South Africa as the winner of the “Rocha Medal 2018”. Two Proxime Accessite certificates were also selected to be given to Dr. Topias Siren from Finland and to Dr. Javier Touriño from Spain.
- Professor François Malan was selected for the “Franklin Lecture 2017” and delivered his Lecture during the International Symposium Afrirock 2017.
- The “Best Performing National Group Award” was given to China and Japan, following the Board decision during the Afrirock 2017.
New ISRM Fellows
Following our Statutes, the Board selected four new Fellows of the ISRM, who were inducted during AfriRock 2017: the ISRM Immediate Past President Prof. Xia-Ting Feng (China) and the Emeritus Prof.s Álvaro J. Gonzalez Garcia (Colombia), Yuzo Ohnishi (Japan) and Ivan Vrkljan (Croatia).
Following our Programme of Online Lectures, this year we had four lectures which were delivered by Prof. Charles Fairhurst (from USA), Prof. Marc Panet (from France), Prof. Xia-Ting Feng (from China) and Prof. Milton Kanji (from Brazil). We thank all these Professors very much for their time to prepare these important lectures which will be stored in the ISRM website for the next generations.
Early Career Forum
The Board approved a new ISRM activity, the “Early Career Forum” which had its first edition during AfriRock 2017. The objective of this Forum is to promote the participation of selected brilliant young rock engineers, up to 35 years of age, in some of our events. The selected young engineers must submit a paper to the Forum and present it orally in English. This activity is financed by the ISRM Education Fund. This first Forum had an important financial contribution from China, through the efforts of Prof. He Manchao, President of the Education Fund Committee. The next edition of the Early Career Forum will be held during EUROCK 2018, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
To go ahead with our wish to enhance the participation and engagement of our National Groups, the President and the Vice Presidents have been encouraging and participating in many of the events organized by our community.
Finally, I would like to stress and thank for the involvement of our Past Presidents, our Fellows and our National Groups in our activities during 2017, as well as for the strong commitment of our Vice Presidents and Secretary General, and for the invaluable support of the Secretariat in Lisbon.
I specially thank the Portuguese National Laboratory for Civil Engineering (LNEC), where the ISRM headquarters are located, for providing support and the infrastructure for the work of our Society since 1966.
We certainly believe that the success of ISRM is a result of all these contributions, during the 55 years of existence of our Society.
I wish all of you a HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL 2018!
Eda F. de Quadros