The first Biot conference on Poromechanics was held in 1998 at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), the Alma Mater of Maurice Anthony Biot (1905-1985), the founder of the field that is commonly referred to as Biot theory of poroelasticity, a field with unparalleled impact on a wide variety of disciplines, including civil and biomedical engineering, geophysics, acoustics, and materials science. This first conference, with its truly multidisciplinary nature, was so successful that the Poromechanics community continued to meet and exchange ideas in a four-year interval, 2002 at Université Joseph Fourier (Grenoble, France), 2005 at Oklahoma University (where the Biot centennial was celebrated), before BIOT-4 was hosted, in 2009, by Columbia University (New York, USA) where Biot, as the Professor of Mechanics, wrote his seminal 1941-paper on "General theory of three-dimensional consolidation", which made him the Father of Poromechanics.
As the year 2013 approaches, it seems appropriate to commemorate the "Grandfather" of Poromechanics, Karl von Terzaghi (1883-1963), the founder of consolidation experiments and theoretical soil mechanics in general. We will do so at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), the first university who granted Terzaghi, in 1929, a full professorship on the topic, and the place where Terzaghi established the, at that time, largest and most comprehensive soil mechanics laboratory in the world. Following the great examples of Terzaghi and Biot, our focus will be on the beneficial interaction of experiment, theory, and computation, and the merging of often over-specialized disciplines into a unified natural science viewpoint, jointly driven forward by scientists and engineers. It is in this spirit that we cordially invite colleagues working on the mechanics and physics of porous media, from the atomistic to the kilometer scale, to join us in Vienna, in 2013, at the 5th BIOT conference on Poromechanics - dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Karl von Terzaghi’s death.