Craig H. Benson, Ph.D., P.E., NAE Member

Craig Benson

Geological Engineering Chair
Civil and Environmental Engineering Chair
Director for Sustainability Research and Education
Wisconsin Distinguished Professor

University of Wisconsin-Madison
2205 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1691

Tel: 608/262-7242
chbenson@wisc.edu

Download current CV

Program Affiliations

Geological Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering 
Recycled Materials Resource Center 
Consortium for Risk Evaluation and Stakeholder Participation
Wisconsin Geotechnics Laboratory

Education and Certification

- BS, Lehigh University (Civil Engineering)
- MS, University of Texas at Austin (Civil Engineering/Geotechnical Engineering)
- PhD, University of Texas at Austin (Civil Engineering/Geoenvironmental Engineering)
- Professional Engineer, State of Wisconsin
- Diplomate of Geotechnical Engineering, Academy of Geoprofessionals

Fields of Interest

- geoenvironmental engineering
- sustainable infrastructure
- engineering for sustainability & life cycle analysis
- beneficial use of industrial byproducts
- recycled materials
- geothermal energy
- barrier systems
- mining engineering
- environmental containment systems

Selected Awards and Honors

- Diplomate, Geotechnical Engineering, Academy of Geo-Professionals, 2009
- Academy of Distinguished Alumni, University of Texas at Austin, 2009
- Croes Medal, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2008
- Alfred P. Noble Prize, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2008
- International Journal of Geomechanics, Excellent Paper Award, 2008
- Kellet Mid-Career Research Award, University of Wisconsin, 2005
- Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Award, ASCE, 2000
- Croes Medal, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1998
- Polygon Outstanding Instructor Award, Univ. of Wisconsin, 1991, 93, 97
- Casagrande Award, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1995
- Middlebrooks Award, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1995
- Collingwood Prize, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1994
- Outstanding Professor Award, ASCE Wisconsin Student Chapter, 1992
- Distinguished Young Faculty Award, U.S. Department of Energy, 1991
- Presidential Young Investigator, National Science Foundation, 1991
- Top 100 Educators Award, University of Wisconsin, 1991

Professional Affiliations

Geo Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers 
ASTM International
Global Waste Research Institute

Leadership Roles

- Board of Governors, Geo-Institute
- Executive Committee, ASTM International Committee D18
- Director, Recycled Materials Resource Center
- Management Board, Consortium for Risk Evaluation and Stakeholder Participation

Engineering Practice

As a Professional Engineer and educator, I strongly believe that engineering faculty should be engaged with engineering practice. Engagement with practice brings realism and relevance to the classroom as well as practical concepts to the research environment. I regularly become engaged in actual projects conducted by government and industry in the United States and abroad. My involvement includes specialty design and analysis, peer review, prototype and field-testing of new technologies, forensic engineering, and litigation support.

Expertise Summary

My expertise falls broadly in the discipline referred to as geoenvironmental engineering. This discipline is at the interface of the built and natural environments, and deals with issues in the subsurface or interactions between conditions at the earth’s surface and the subsurface. In most cases, the important objectives are protecting soil and ground water or engineering systems that reduce emissions or save energy. This requires knowledge of the mechanisms controlling energy and mass transfer in the subsurface and development of creative approaches to control the rate at which energy and/or mass is transferred. These principles are applied to controlling contaminant migration in the unsaturated zone and ground water, managing the movement of heat and water in near-surface soils, and assessing energy usage and emissions associated with geological engineering structures at the interface of the earth’s surface.

My research in geoenvironmental engineering fits in three broad classes: sustainability assessment of geological and civil engineering systems, reuse and recycling of industrial byproducts for sustainable construction applications, and design and assessment of environmental containment systems for municipal, hazardous, and radioactive wastes. In each of these areas, we emphasize a full range of study from basic theory to practice and address energy and mass transfer issues. Our research includes fundamental laboratory studies, development of computer models, and practical field demonstration of new technologies. In many cases, our research findings are validated at full-scale in operating facilities or infrastructure in collaboration with industry and/or government agencies.