Dr Philip Stott, a research fellow in the Civil Engineering Department at the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) has received the J.E. Jennings award from the Geotechnical Division of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering for the third time in a row.
The awards has been won twice in a row before by two very famous professors, but this is the first time someone has received it three times in a row. “It’s very heartening to have people recognise the value of the research that we are doing here,” said Stott.
He research looks into the reason why so many houses, particularly RDP houses, fail. “This is because of heat problems with foundations. There are so many that have been so badly damaged that they’ve had to be knocked down and rebuilt within five years. I’ve done quite a few articles but these three, which gained the awards, are looking at this whole problem of underestimating soil. It’s not just South Africa; it’s worldwide. I have also presented this in Hong Kong. All over the world people are doing tests but they are missing the core of the problem, which has been overlooked. My papers are about where the big problem lies,” he explained.
Stott has been in the industry for a very long time. He received BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees from Manchester University. He lectured at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and has been working as a consulting engineer since 1984. He received the Henry Adams Award from the Institute of Structural Engineers, London. Currently he is a DTech Candidate and a member of the Soil Mechanics Research Group at the CUT Bloemfontein. He is also a member of the Structural and Geotechnical Divisions of SAICE (South African Institution of Civil Engineering).
Adding to great accolades he is also making sure to pass the knowledge to the younger generation. “It’s now not just myself. Other people have joined me in doing this and we have Professor Theron who is brilliant at organising this. She has been able to get us all the apparatus we need to do this and I’ve had some research students who have carried on with the work that I’m doing as there’s more than what I can look at myself. And two of these students have received their degrees and have published papers on the research. We are building up a team that is looking at this and I think we are gradually being recognised as being the leaders in the field in the country,” Stott concluded. – Seithati Semenokane