Why Digging Deeper?

To the geotechnical engineer in me, it’s obvious.  The nature of my work is to “dig” into the ground, into the earth, into the world around me.  I work with things we can’t just see.  I have to dig simply to get the information that I need to even begin a project.  So from an eminently practical standpoint, the moniker is perfectly obvious.

But maybe I should dig a little deeper than that??  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.)

I’ve liked to dig and play in the sand since I was really little.  What little boy doesn’t?  I remember digging and filling and redigging holes in my backyard sandbox for hours on end.  I suppose I was laying the groundwork for an exciting career in some sense, but mostly I just enjoyed exploring this world and learning how things worked.  But in the sandbox, you can only go so deep before you reach the bottom and the sand runs out.  Then I got a little older and began to excavate bigger and bigger holes at the beach.  Still every hole had to stop when I couldn’t reach any farther or the water made the whole mess collapse.

When it comes to my academic pursuit of “playing in the sand,” I’m not sure where the bottom is.  Maybe there isn’t one.  Can I keep digging deeper into geotechnical engineering, soil mechanics, shear strength, slope stability?  Can I keep learning more about these fascinating topics?  I certainly hope so.  What about my teaching career – will I  keep digging deeper there or fall quickly into a rut?  What will that look like?

These and many other questions are what I hope to explore, discover, unearth – so to speak – as I write.

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