Elected in 1978
”Pioneering in the field of geotechnical engineering contributing to knowledge of earth sciences.”
BY ROBIN K. MCGUIRE
WILLIAM WALLACE (BILL) MOORE passed away on October 23, 2002, at the age of 90. Born in Pasadena, California, in 1912, he attended the California Institute of Technology, where he received a B.S. degree in 1933 and an M.S. degree in 1934, both in civil engineering. Following graduation he worked for several years for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and for other consultants before he founded the consulting engineering firm of Dames & Moore in 1938, in partnership with Trent Dames, another CalTech graduate.
Bill realized early on that structural engineers designing foundations for buildings and retaining walls needed to know more than soil mechanics to make informed decisions and recommendations. At the time, in 1938, soil mechanics consisted of determining soil characteristics such as grain size and shape, density, and water content that could be used to estimate the bearing capacity of the soil under load. He recognized the need for soil engineering, by which he meant the analysis and design of alternative foundations (e.g., spread footings, wood piles, steel piles, and concrete piles), as a basis for making decisions on estimated settlements, ease of construction, integration with the superstructure, and cost. In pursuing Bill’s vision of soil engineering, Dames & Moore specialized in soil testing, sampling, and analysis that provided information to support the evaluation of alternative foundation designs.