Title: First pages
Author(s): F. H. Wittmann
Paper category : book
Book title: 1947-1997: Fifty Years of Evolution of Science and Technology of Building Materials and Structures
Editor(s): F. H. Wittmann
Publisher: RILEM Publications SARL
Publication year: 1997
Pages: I - XIX
Total Pages: 1
Nb references: 1
Abstract: It is just fifty years ago when RILEM (Réunion Internationale des Laboratoires d'Essais et de recherches sur les Matériaux et les constructions) has been founded. One of the major aims of the founding members was to establish a worldwide basis for an intense exchange of ideas, experiences, and new results. Just after world war two there was a particular need for this initiative. During the first years of RILEM activities annual meetings and correspondence were the only means of transfer of information. This could not be a satisfying solution on the long run and the need for more or less regular publications became quite obvious. Consequently the first RILEM Bulletin has been published already in March 1951. Reports, communications, and inquiries among the members together with results of the corresponding evaluation were published in French and English as simple copies of typewritten manuscripts in the first series of RlLEM Bulletins. Among the different reasons for introducing this more formal way of distribution of documents was an economical one, postage of the Bulletin was possible at a reduced fee. A second series of the Bulletin has been launched in 1959. By then the evident discrepancy between the originality and the overall quality of the published contributions on one side and the limited circulation together with the poor editing on the other side became a serious obstacle for any further evolution: "il restait une revue confidentielle à l'usage des membres". Finally in 1968 this second series of the RILEM Bullletin has been transferred into the international journal Materials and Structures.
Due to the rather modest beginning of RILEM publications some papers exist which must be looked upon to be real landmarks in their field and still they are practically inaccessible. One striking example is the paper by Fernando Luiz Lobo B. Carneiro on the tensile strength of concrete. In this paper the mechanical basis of the now widely used and commonly called Brazilian test is outlined for the first time. This paper has been cited thousands of times in the past and is still regularly being cited today but hardly any author has had a chance to read it. The fifties anniversary of RILEM is a unique opportunity to have this paper together with a selection of other outstanding papers republished and made available again to a wider public.
Any selection of papers from the wealth of RILEM publications will always remain subjective to a certain degree. In order to maintain nevertheless a certain degree of objectiveness we made a computer based analysis of the number of citations of different papers published in the Bulletins and the RILEM journal. This can be considered as a specific citation index. Another criteria especially for very early papers has been the fame of the author within the RILEM community and outside.
Strangely enough some of the celebrities have published a series of important contributions and others have not published one single line. When we asked one of the obvious candidates for being included in this volume he answered, 1 have always been so critical with respect to my writing colleagues so that 1 could not dare to publish myself, they were just waiting to take bitter revenge.
Ai1 publications included in this volume have been written in the last half century. In reading the selected papers one can follow the evolution of knowledge and the change of scientific instruments and procedures during these years. It is of particular interest to see how the science of strength of materials has gradually developed into specific applications of fracture mechanics. At the same time we can critically follow characteristic modifications in the style of scientific publications and the way of dealing with practical problems. Fifty years ago there was a small elite group working in this field. Most of them knew one another personally and they were able to follow major progress in this wide field al1 over the world. Everybody will be impressed by the independent way of thin than by individuals. This is of course true for nearly all fields of science. Not all of the many members of research groups of today have the same ability to express their ideas in a convincing and clear way. This makes it sometimes difficult to grasp the real value of modem publications. It is also in this sense that we can learn quite a bit in having a critical look into these historical papers.
We hope that reading in this special volume turns out to be both useful and enjoyable.
Online publication: 1997-09-01
Publication type : full_text
Public price (Euros): 0.00
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