Alumni Hall of Fame
Ralph B. Peck
Class of 1934
Leader in Soil Mechanics
An acclaimed international expert in the field of soil mechanics, Ralph Peck has helped to change the face of the Earth through his discoveries of the way soils behave.
Through his work on the Chicago subway in the early 1940s he emerged as one of the undisputed leaders in the development and practice of soil mechanics and foundation engineering.
As a distinguished professor at the School of Engineering of the University of Illinois, he conducted field and laboratory research on stabilization of railroad beds and embankments, the mechanics of earth dams, the stability of retaining walls, and the settlement of foundations.
Peck has served as a consultant for major foundation projects throughout the world, from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, to rapid transit systems in Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, to dams in Turkey and Greece, to the Dead Sea dikes in Israel.
President Ford awarded Peck the National Medal of Science in 1974.