In 1970, Prof. Léon Calembert was at the origin of the creation of a committee for Engineering Geology in Belgium. A couple of years later, another Belgian scientific association was founded by Prof. Josef Brych with the purpose to focus on Rock Mechanics. Those initiatives followed a more global trend which was marked by the founding in the 1960’s of the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) and the International Association for Engineering Geology (IAEG). In order to celebrate 50 years of Engineering Geology, and consecutively Rock Mechanics, in Belgium, the Council of the Belgian Society for Engineering Geology and Rock Mechanics decided to organize a major event in 2020 at the Atomium, Brussels. Unfortunately, the COVID crisis completely disrupted the organization and the event was postponed several times. Finally, on 9 September 2022, the jubilee took place, accompanied by a commemorative book.
During this day, we could remember how the scientific societies were created in our country and their evolution: a recognition to the people who made (and are still actively contributing to) our society, its structure and its activities. For instance, in addition to regular technical meetings, the Belgian associations also organized several big events at the international level. The Jubilee was also highlighted by the participation of two distinguished guests reprensenting the international associations. Rafig Azzam, professor emeritus from the RWTH Aachen University, was President of the German National Association of Engineering Geology and Vice President for western Europa of the IAEG. He is currently President of the IAEG. Prof. Wulf Schubert comes from Graz University of Technology (Austria). He was the Vice President at Large for the ISRM and President of the Austrian Society for Geomechanics since 2007.
Prof. Wulf Schubert
Graz University of Technology – Institute of Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling
President of the Austrian Society for Geomechanics
Formerly Vice-President at Large for the ISRM
Prof. Rafig Azzam
Professor emeritus, from the RWTH Aachen University
President of the IAEG
Formerly President of the German National Association of Engineering Geology (2009-2017) and Vice-President for western Europa
Beyond the historical aspects, the Jubilee was also an opportunity to depict the general scientific framework in which the evolution in the fields of experimental characterization and numerical modelling are addressed. A focus on monitoring was also proposed, looking to the perspectives for the future. Next to that, topics that represent big concerns in the Belgian context were addressed: major urban projects, risks and underground workings.
Finally, the Council decided to relaunch the Calembert Award in order to recognize somebody who distinguished him·herself in Engineering Geology and/or Rock Mechanics. As a tribute to his career, Prof. Christian Schroeder was awarded.