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Mr F. C. Greenfield (F): Back in the mid-1960s I remember being impressed with a paper read by a very young Sam Thorburn to a 1-day piling conference held at the Institution of Civil Engineers, his subject being mainly piles founded on bed rock in Scotland. Whitaker & Cooke read a paper about their work on piles in London clay, the emphasis being on settlement of a single pile under the constant rate of penetration test. The subject of interaction of piles-let alone interaction of piles (or other foundations) with structure and soil-was very much in its infancy, and structural engineers and geotechnic engineers seemed to work in some sort of splendid isolation!
Building work on the French Pantheon (the Church of Sainte-Genevieve) was started in 1756, and there was a celebrated dispute, in 1770, as to whether or not the crossing piers would be strong enough to carry the projected dome. In the event, the piers were indeed found to be defective, but not for the reasons originally suggested. The technical history of this building is presented in this paper; the form of construction led effectively to a thin skin of each pier carrying the entire load. Local stress concentrations then produced the splitting and spalling observed in the piers. Similar defects may be seen in some crossing piers of medieval cathedrals; although the details of construction are different, medieval piers, as those of the Pantheon, can have weak central cores. Professor J. Heyman
A Union view of elections to the Engineering Assembly Mr John Lyons, the General Secretary of the Engineers' & Managers' Association and also a member of the Engineering Council, has voiced strong criticism, in the June issue of his union's journal, of the four major engineering institutions. The targets for his criticism are the lists of selected candidates for the elections to the Engineering Assembly published by each of the institutions. The comments made by Mr Lyons, which may be of interest to our members and which have been extracted from the press release, are as follows: The Assembly, as a vehicle for the views of the profession, faces the possibility of being stillborn. If this happens it will be down to the actions of the four major engineering institutions, who have set out in an organised way to secure as many seats as possible for their own chosen nominees . . . to the detriment of smaller institutions. Verulam