In Memoriam: Jim Mitchell (1930-2023)

Jim K. Mitchell (1930-2023)

We celebrate the life and mourn the passing of a geotechnical legend, Jim Mitchell, who died peacefully in his home in Massachusetts on December 17, 2023, at the age of 93.

It is virtually impossible to summarize the many contributions and professional achievements throughout Jim’s career. He was a celebrated professor at UC Berkley from 1958 to 1993 and then spent his remaining years at Virginia Tech. He officially retired from Virginia Tech in 1999 but remained active until the end. Many geotechnical engineers are familiar with his book, the Fundamentals of Soil Behavior. has his obituary, but also has a legacy website with much more information on his accolades and testimonials from friends and colleagues along with some great photos.

The Geo-Institute has been posting things about Jim over the past few days, including this impressive list of his ASCE awards:

They also posted a great 1960 Department Photo from Berkeley with some well-known names in geotechnical engineering and the following interview from the Geo-Institute’s Director’s Cut series, for their 100th episode!

There is also this Geo-PIT talk at Geo-Congress 2019 entitled Geotechnics Goes Out of This World where he describes his research activities in soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering as it pertains to the Apollo missions to land on the Moon.