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HARRY BOLTON SEED
August 19, 1922–April 23, 1989
BY JAMES K. MITCHELL
PROFESSOR HARRY BOLTON SEED was the father of the important new area of geotechnical earthquake engineering. Having established himself as one of the country's brightest and most productive young civil engineers by the time of the great Alaska earthquake in 1964, he immediately began research that led to an understanding of soil behavior and ground response during earthquakes that is the basis for present-day seismic design around the world. Concurrently he built the program in geotechnical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, into one of the best in the world. He will be remembered as one of the foremost civil engineers of any generation, and the hundreds of students who learned from him during his forty years at Berkeley provide eloquent testimony to his superb teaching skills, brilliant mind, and compassion for all of those around him.
Harry Bolton Seed was born in Bolton, England, on August 19, 1922. The son of a cotton mill manager, he spent his childhood in the industrial center of Lancashire, where he attended Farnworth Grammar School. At Farnworth he excelled both at sports and academics, and thus were sown the seeds of what would become a most remarkable career.