Sometime during completing my master thesis on fluid flow in fractured rock masses, I was sent by Professor Jennings to Karlsruhe University in Germany. In tribute to Professor Jennings, he knew better than I did how significant that topic was and he gave me every chance. I confess after all these years that I did not see as clearly as he did, nor did I truly develop the opportunities he provided. Like all young men, I had my own ideas, interests, and agenda, which somehow lead me to this place and time and posting.

In Karlsruhe I went to meet Herr Professor Walter Wittke. He was most kind to me and most encouraging. I learnt from him and his students. I also owe him much.

But he grew more famous as the years passed. Here is what the website of the International Society for Rock Mechanics says of him:

Born in 1934, in Hamburg Germany, got his diploma in Civil Engineering in the University of Hannover in 1960; his doctoral thesis on “Shear Strength of Cohesionless Soil” was approved by the University of Karlsruhe in 1963, and after a stay at the University of California, Berkeley, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Denver, was appointed in 1965 as Lecturer for Soil and Rock Mechanics at the University of Karlsruhe. In 1970 he was appointed as Professor at the same University and in 1974 as Professor and Director of the Institute for Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering at the University of Aachen.

Prof. Wittke published over 150 publications, delivered more than 100 lectures, was referee for Ph.D. theses, was Chairman of the 7th ISRM International Congress in 1991, of International Symposia in 1970, 1974, 1982, and of numerous National Symposia, all held in Aachen.

Prof. Wittke was Chairman of the ISRM German National Group, is Member of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), of the International Association of Engineering Geology (IAEG), of the National Committee of International Tunnelling Association (ITA), of the National Committee of the International Committee on Large Dams (ICOLD), Chairman of various Commissions, Consultant on numerous projects in Rock Mechanics and Foundation Engineering in Germany and abroad.

Presently Prof. Wittke is President of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Beratende Ingenieure fur Grunbauund Felsbau GmbH, WBI, Aachen, consulting engineers, editor and co-editor of several technical journals.