The Society
Introduction to ISRM
The ISRM Board
National Groups
Statutes and By-laws
Benefits to members
How to join the ISRM
Commissions and JTCs
ISRM Information
Products and Publications
List of Corporate Members
Links of Interest
Contact Us


Forgot your password?
Join the ISRM
Manuel Rocha

Manuel Rocha

President of the ISRM, 1966 - 1970

Born at Figueira da Foz PORTUGAL in 1913, he died in 1981.

Curriculum Vitae

Education: He graduated in Civil Engineering from the Lisbon College of Engineering in 1938, and was awarded post-graduation scholarships by the Institute of Higher Education, to be further trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA USA, and at the École Polytéchnique Fédérale of Zurich SWITZERLAND.

Highlights of Professional Experience: At 28 years of age he set up the Civil Engineering Research Centre at the Lisbon College of Engineering and directed the Centre until it became part of the Civil Engineering National Laboratory, the LNEC, created in 1947. Seven years later he became the director of LNEC, position held until 1974, when he was appointed President of the National Council of Civil Engineering Laboratories.

As director of LNEC he supervised the whole research work carried out in it both from the scientific and administrative standpoints. At different periods, he especially directed research in building materials, experimental design of structures, observation of structures, soil mechanics, earth and concrete dams, and rock mechanics.

Through his 83 publications, his active participation in 70 congresses and symposia, often as session chairman, theme reporter or panel member, his collaboration as a consultant to several organisations, his activity as a member of many Portuguese, foreign, and international organisations, as well as member of the editorial board of a number of technical journals, and also through his visits to 163 research institutes and universities of 43 countries, where he delivered about 200 lectures and discussed research and higher education organization, policies, and activities, he made himself and LNEC well known to the scientific and technical community worldwide.

He was Professor at the Technical University of Lisbon and at the New University of Lisbon, with responsibility for Rock Mechanics at both Universities and also for Seepage in Rock Masses and for Underground Structures at the latter.

He was appointed as Minister of Housing and Public Works of the first Cabinet after the Portuguese Revolution in 1974.

Awards: He received honorary degrees from Brazilian, French, and Portuguese Universities, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. He was decorated by the Governments of Brazil, France, Germany, Portugal and Thailand.

Involvement in the ISRM: Along his term of office as President (1966-1970), the ISRM membership increased from 400 to some 4,400 members. After leaving the ISRM Presidency he was appointed Chairman of the Commission on Classification of Rocks and Rock Masses and along 8 years was particularly active to draft a Basic Geotechnical Description of Rock Masses with the purpose to establish a language common to rock mechanics specialists and experts from related fields. His acceptance to steer the ISRM Commission on Tunnel Failures could unfortunately not be materialized due to his premature decease.