Raymond Davis: Materials lab leader
Many of today’s high-rise buildings, long-span bridges and dams were strongly influenced by Berkeley-generated research on engineering materials and structures. These advances were made possible by the vision of civil engineering professor Raymond Davis, who grew the Engineering Materials Laboratory into the preeminent facility for construction research.
Davis joined the faculty in 1920 and was quickly appointed director of what was then the small materials lab. During his time on campus, he expanded the lab into a thriving hub for cutting-edge research, particularly in the area of construction materials, with special facilities for studying cement and concrete.
Davis himself supervised many significant projects at the lab, including the large model studies of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, tension studies of heavy riveted joints for long-span bridges, and stability studies of rockfill dams during earthquakes.
An acclaimed concrete and cement researcher, he also consulted with many large private and governmental organizations on infrastructure projects, including the Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam and Colorado River Aqueduct.
In recognition of Davis’ numerous contributions to engineering research and his foresight in developing the lab itself, the Engineering Materials Laboratory was renamed Raymond Earl Davis Hall in 1969.