The mechanical engineer Evert Hoek was awarded an honorary doctorate by the UPC

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Evert Hoek upon receiving the honorary doctoral degree from Francesc Torres, rector of the UPC

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Investiture ceremony of Evert Hoek as an honorary doctor of the UPC

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EPSEM professor David Parcerisa conducted the event and delivered the oration in praise of Evert Hoek

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Evert Hoek during his acceptance speech for the honorary doctoral degree from the UPC

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Investiture ceremony of Evert Hoek as an honorary doctor of the UPC

On 6 March the UPC conferred an honorary doctoral degree on the engineer and rock mechanics expert Evert Hoek, an outstanding figure in the field of mining engineering worldwide. The award, approved by the UPC Governing Council on 21 June 2018, was promoted by the Manresa School of Engineering (EPSEM) in the framework of the events to celebrate the School’s 75th anniversary.

Mar 06, 2019

The award of an honorary doctoral degree of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) took place on 6 March, at 11.30 a.m., at the Manresa University Campus Library (Av. de les Bases de Manresa, 61-73). David Parcerisa, a professor and researcher at the UPC’s Department of Mining, Industrial and ICT Engineering, conducted the ceremony and delivered the oration in praise of Evert Hoek. The ceremony was streamed live on UPCtv.

Evert Hoek
(Southern Rhodesia, currently Zimbabwe, 1933) is an engineer specialised in tunnels and slope stability and an outstanding figure in mining engineering and rock mechanics worldwide. He has played a key role for more than 50 years in the field of geological, civil and mining engineering as a teacher, researcher and professional. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in 1956 and began his research career in 1958, specialising in the field of rock mechanics and earning a doctoral degree in 1965. He studied brittle fracture problems in South African mines.

An outstanding academic figure in mining and geotechnical engineering,
Evert Hoek’s contribution to the birth and evolution of rock mechanics has been vital for the development of mining and civil engineering projects over the last 60 years. The quality of his research is supported by the vast number of citations received by his works.

Hoek’s most relevant milestone was the introduction of the Hoek-Brown rock mass failure criterion, which defines brittle fracture behaviour in rock masses under compression. Since the publication of this study in 1980, the criterion has been used worldwide in geological, civil and mining engineering.

The quality of his research is supported by the vast number of citations of his works. With more than a hundred papers published, Hoek is also the author of many books that have laid the foundations for rock mechanics, slope stability and underground excavation. In fact, they are used as reference material in the field of geotechnical engineering, as well as in many subjects of the curriculum of the bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering and the master’s degree in Mining Engineering, which are taught at the UPC’s Manresa School of Engineering (EPSEM).

In terms of teaching, Hoek was a professor of rock mechanics for nine years at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London and for six years at the University of Toronto’s Department of Civil Engineering. He is also acknowledged for having trained an entire generation of engineers who have revolutionised rock mechanics, such as Nick Barton, who developed the Q-system of rock mass characterisation; Peter Cundall, who wrote the geomechanical modelling software FLAC, UDEC and PFC; and John Curran, who is the founder of Rocscience. In addition, Hoek monitored, in its early stages, the development of Rocscience’s geotechnical engineering software, which is based on the concepts of rock mechanics that he himself created. Along with other universities, the UPC uses an academic bundle of this software suite for practical exercises in several subjects related to mining and civil engineering.

Hoek spent eight years at the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and worked as an independent consultant on review and consulting boards for civil and mining engineering projects around the world. He has also taken part in local projects, such as the construction of the Cabanasses mine ramp in Súria.

Today he advises mining companies that are closely linked to the EPSEM and has a space for scientific dissemination on the Rocscience website called Hoek’s Corner, where you can find a large part of his academic work. 

International recognition
Evert Hoek’s career has earned him many international awards, such the appointment as a member of the engineering academies of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Gold Medal of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy in the United Kingdom and the William Smith Medal of the Geological Society of London, among others. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Waterloo in 1994 and by the University of Toronto in 2004. 

This award was promoted by the UPC’s Department of Mining, Industrial and ICT Engineering and the EPSEM in the framework of the events to celebrate the School’s 75th anniversary. His appointment is supported by renowned researchers linked to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (University of Alberta), the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering (University of Minnesota), the Department of Geology (University of Thessaloniki), the National Technical University of Athens , Golder Associates, RockMass Company and Rocscience.