Charles Fairhurst


Dr. Fairhurst obtained his Ph.D. in Mining Engineering from the University of Sheffield, UK in 1955. He joined the University of Minnesota faculty, School of Mines and Metallurgy, in 1956, serving as Head for several years until 1970, when the Mining program was joined with Civil Engineering to form the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering. He was Head of the joint Department from 1973-87, and retired in 1997.

He has con­sulted on rock stability problems for tunnels, dams, mines, and exca­vations through­out the world. He remains active in consulting, with a current emphasis on the mechanics of fracture propagation in naturally fractured rock and the effective stimulation of geothermal reservoirs. He served as Presi­dent of the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) from 1991-1995, and has been elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (1979) and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (1991). He is a Fellow of the ISRM and Fellow of the American Rock Mechanics Association. He received the 2017 SME President’s Citation Award “for outstanding contributions to the science and technology of Rock Mechanics which is fundamentally integral to SME's multiple disciplines.”

Dr. Fairhurst holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Nancy, France; St. Petersburg Mining Academy, Russia; University of Sheffield, England; and University of Minnesota, USA; and is Advisory Professor to Tongji University, Shanghai, China.                                                                          

In December, 2013, he was inducted as Officier, Légion d’Honneur, France. 

He is currently (2017) Vice-Chair, Section 11 (Earth Resources Engineering) of the US National Academy of Engineering, and is scheduled to assume the position of Chair starting July 1, 2018. 

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