Donald M. Burmister

(1895 - 1981)



Burmister Lecture

Biography (By Prof. Robert D. Stoll)

From Foundation Studies for The White House (1952):
Donald Martin Burmister, Professor of Civil Engineering, took his A.B. at Columbia University in 1926, his B.S. in 1927, his C.E. in 1928, and his Ph.D. in 1938. Professor Burmister started his teaching career at Columbia in 1929, and soon became interested in soil as a foundation material while investigating the properties of concrete aggregates. He initiated courses in Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering in 1934 and established the Soil Mechanics Laboratory. 

At present he is studying the fundamental nature of the stress-strain relations of soils, as a basis for improving foundation design. Two projects are being carried on for the Corps of Engineers for the computations of stresses and displacements in Layered Soil Systems, as applied to foundations of heavy structures and for airport runways. Professor Burmister is looking forward to the opening of the new Engineering Center and to enlarged soil laboratory facilities.

He has been a consultant in soil and foundation work since 1937 when he tested the soils of the Flushing Meadows for the World's Fair of 1939. Among the recent important projects on which he has served as a consultant on foundations are the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the White House, Pier #57 New York, the New York State Throughway bridge between Nyack and Tarrytown, and the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge.

The author is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, the Highway Research Board, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Professor Burmister is the author of numerous technical papers on soil mechanics.


 
 
 

Established the Soils Laboratory in 1933. Retired from Columbia University in 1963.

Egleston medal, 1978

Ph.D. Thesis: A study of the Physical Characteristics of Soils with Special Reference to Earth Structures, 63 p., 1938.

Prof. Burmister signed on the cover of his copy of the Proceedings of ASTM Symposium in 1939
 
 

Books Prof. Burmister had written

Soil Mechanics, 1948, 1952, Columbia University.

Burmister Concepts in Soil Mechanics, 1949, Columbia University.

Notes on Soil Mechanics. Part I, Soil Physics and Soil Mechanics Prepared for the Course C.E. 117, 1934, Columbia University.

Notes on Soil Mechanics. Part II, Soil Mechanics and Engineering Applications Prepared for the Course C.E. 117, 1934, Columbia University.

Experimental Soil Mechanics, 1948, 1952, Columbia University.
 
 

Selected Papers of Prof. Burmister

Graphical distribution of vertical pressures beneath foundations, Trans ASCE, Vol. 103, p. 341, 1938.

Some investigations of the shearing resistance of cohesionless and cohesive materials, Proceedings of ASTM Symposium on Shear Testing of Soils, pp. 1071-1083, 1939.

Practical methods for the classification of soils, Proceedings of Purdue Conference on Soil Mechanics and Its Applications, September, p. 129, 1940.

Classification system for composite soils, Engineering News Record, July 31, p. 61, 1941.

The theory of stresses and displacements in layered systems and applications to the design of airport runways, Proceedings of Highway Research Board, pp. 126-148, 1943.

Theory of stresses and displacements in layered systems, Proceedings of Highway Research Board, pp. 127-148, 1943.

The general theory of stresses and displacements in layered soil systems, Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 89-96, No. 3, pp. 126-127; No. 5, pp. 296-302, 1945.

Principles and techniques of soil identifications, Proceedings of Highway Research Board, pp. 402-433, 1949.

The importance and practical use of relative density in soil mechanics, Proceedings of ASTM, Vol. 48, 1249-1268, 1948.

The applications of controlled test methods in consolidation testing, ASTM STP No. 126, pp. 83-97, 1952.

General discussion, ASTM STP No. 126, pp. 99-103, 1952.

Importance of natural controlling conditions upon triaxial test conditions, ASTM STP No. 106, pp. 248-266, 1951.

Identification and classification of soils - an appraisal and statement of principles, ASTM STP No. 113, pp. 3-24, 1951.

General discussion, ASTM STP No. 113, pp. 85-91, 1951.

The importance of natural controlling conditions upon triaxial compression test conditions, Triaxial testing of Soils and Bituminous Mixtures, ASTM STP 106, 1951.

Foundation Studies for the White House, Columbia Engineering Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 3, March, p. 13, 1952.

The applications of controlled test methods in consolidation testing, ASTM STP No. 126, pp. 83-97, 1952.

General discussion, ASTM STP No. 126, pp. 99-103, 1952.

The place of direct shear test in soil mechanics, ASTM STP No. 131, pp. 3-18, 1953.

Principles of permeability testing of soils, ASTM STP No. 163, pp. 3-26, 1955.

Judgement and environmental factors in soil investigations, ASTM Bulletin, No. 217, Oct., p. 55, 1956.

Stress and displacement characteristics of a two-layer rigid base soil system: influence diagrams and practical applications, Proceedings of Highway Research Board, pp. 773-814, 1956.

Suggested methods of test for identification of soils, Procedures for Testing Soils, ASTM, pp. 199-211, 1958.

Suggested method of test for maximum and minimum densities of granular soils, Procedures for Testing Soils, ASTM, pp. 148-150, 1958.

Suggested method of test for permeability of granular soils, Procedures for Testing Soils, ASTM, pp. 239-245, 1958.

Suggested method of test for consolidation of soils, Procedures for Testing Soils, ASTM, pp. 287-295, 1958.

Evaluation of the pavement systems of the WASHO road test by layered system methods, Highway Research Board Bulletin No. 177, 1958.

Strain-rate behavior of clay and organic solids, Papers on Soils 1959 Meetings, ASTM STP 254, pp. 88-105, 1959.

Application of layered system concepts to design and construction of asphalt pavement, Conference on Asphalt Pavements, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, December, 1962.

Applications of layered concepts and principles to interpretations and evaluations of asphalt pavement performances and to design and construction, International Conference on Structural Design of Asphalt Pavements, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, pp. 218-233, 1962.

Physical stress-strain and strength responses of granular soils, ASTM STP 322, pp. 67-97, 1963.

Concepts and principles for prototype loading bearing tests for foundations of structures and pavements, ASTM STP 322, pp. 98-119, 1963.

Environmental factors in soil compaction, Compaction of Soils, ASTM STP No. 377, pp. 47-66,1965.