Neil Taylor (2018)

A life spent going round in circles


The lecture covered a wide range of centrifuge related topics important in the career of the lecturer including the design, development and commissioning of the centrifuge at City, university of London, centrifuge operations at City, important developments including 2D and 3D ground movement measurements using image processing techniques, failure mechanisms near tunnels and minipile groups, and some thoughts on student projects and the role of supervisors in encouraging experimentation.


Neil Taylor graduated from Cambridge University in 1976 and later worked there as a researcher, earning his doctorate in 1984. He was appointed to a lectureship at City University London in 1984 where he promoted physical model testing research. He installed the Acutronic 661 geotechnical centrifuge in 1989 and has been active in initiating a wide range of centrifuge research projects. A key development in centrifuge testing has been to monitor deformation mechanisms. For this, he pioneered the use of digital image analysis techniques to measure ground movements in centrifuge models, which has become a standard technique used in centrifuge facilities around the world. Research has related to construction processes and has included studies on the generation and control of ground movements associated with tunnelling and retained excavations and their effects on infrastructure and novel foundation solutions including the use of minipiles as high load-capacity foundations. He has published widely in international journals and conferences and has edited and contributed to a book on Geotechnical Centrifuge Technology. He was awarded a personal chair as Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in 1996. In addition to his academic career, he has maintained active links with industry and is an associate of the London based specialist geotechnical engineering consultancy firm Geotechnical Consulting Group. He has served on the committee of the British Geotechnical Association, and the ISSMGE Technical Committees on Underground Construction in Soft Ground, and Physical Modelling in Geotechnical Engineering. He was elected to the office of Secretary General of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering and took up the appointment after the Council Meeting in Amsterdam, June 1999.