Our Instructors


Dr. John Curran is the founder and CEO of Rocscience and Robert Smith Professor Emeritus, Civil Engineering, University of Toronto. Over his 32 year career at the University of Toronto, he taught a wide range of subjects including rock and soil mechanics, soil dynamics, computational geomechanics, and the finite element method. His research focused on the development of boundary element and finite element techniques for 2D and 3D stress analysis of underground excavations including automated 3D finite element meshing techniques. He developed numerical techniques for modeling hydraulically propagated fractures in rock as well as constitutive models for anisotropic geomaterials. Most recently, he has been involved with the development of the rigid body impact mechanics engine in RocFall.

John obtained his bachelor and master's degrees in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto and completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California , Berkeley in 1976. He became an assistant professor in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto in 1977 and became the first holder of the Robert M. Smith Chair in Geotechnical Analysis and Mine Design in 1996. He started Rocscience Inc. in 1996 as a spin-off company from his research group at the University of Toronto, a company that has been very successful in the technology transfer of academic knowledge to the working engineer, in the form of fast and easy to use software. John has presented numerous Rocscience workshops to engineers around the world.


Dr. Thamer Yacoub, P.Eng. is the President of Rocscience. He has more than 20 years of experience in geomechanics numerical modeling. Thamer has a wide range of experience in several numerical modeling applications, covering topics including slope stability analysis, settlement and foundation analysis, surface and underground stress analysis. He also has extensive experience in probabilistic analysis of slopes.

Thamer received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Civil Engineering in 1986 and 1990 from the University of Baghdad in Iraq. He then obtained his Ph.D. degree in numerical geomechanics from the University of Toronto, Canada in 1999. Thereafter, Thamer joined Rocscience Inc. as a geomechanics specialist in 1999. Thamer was involved in developing the boundary element engine for Examine3D, and the finite element engine for Phase2. He was also the lead developer for the stress analysis in Settle3D. Thamer has extensive experience in fluid flow analysis and developed the groundwater engine for Slide and Phase2 (now known as RS2). More recently, Thamer managed projects related to liquefaction in Settle3D and the implementation of the rigid impact mechanics engine in RocFall.

Ongoing areas of interest include material model development, soil-structure interaction, liquefaction analysis in Settle3D, and three-dimensional finite element modeling in RS3.

Thamer has developed and taught several Rocscience workshops and seminars. He is the primary course instructor for both the Rocscience standard short courses as well as the customized course packages. He has presented courses in North and South America, the Middle East, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. Thamer has also taught several numerical modeling courses for graduate level students in South America.


Dr. Joe Carvalho, a Principal of Golder Associates in the Mississauga office in Canada, is a rock mechanics and fracture mechanics specialist with 25 years experience in the field. He is experienced in elasto-plastic, visco-elastic, and poro-elastic analysis of stress, including stress analysis of large open pit mines, underground storage schemes, and tunnels for subway and hydroelectric developments and for underground mine planning. He is also experienced in the analysis of fluid flow through porous media including diffusion processes and in fluid flow and mass transport in fractures (as applied to hydraulic fracturing of petroleum reservoirs for recovery enhancement). He also has considerable experience in probabilistic and risk assessment of surface and underground wedges, crown pillars for mine closure purposes, stability of open pits and long-term performance assessment and site characterization for nuclear waste disposal. He also has extensive experience teaching and training.

Dr. Carvalho obtained his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in 1984 and 1990 from the University of Toronto. in 1988 he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and worked as a Research Scientist in well stability, fracture and sand control for Dowell-Schlumberger for 2 years. At the end of 1990, he moved back to Canada to work with Dr. Evert Hoek on the development of analysis software funded by the Mining Research Directorate in Ontario. He was the principal developer of the programs Phases and Unwedge under contract with the Mining Research Directorate, and had significant input into the development of the programs Examine3D, Swedge, and CPillar. In 1993, he joined Golder Associates in the Mississauga office.


Dr. Carlos Carranza-Torres is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Duluth Campus. He teaches courses on engineering geology, rock mechanics, soil mechanics, numerical modeling in geotechnical engineering, and surface and underground excavations in rock. His research focus has been in the development of analytical and numerical models to describe the mechanical response of excavations, and more recently he has been involved in projects requiring field and lab characterization of rock and rock masses for energy storage in mines of Northern Minnesota. Dr. Carranza-Torres is currently serving as senior co-editor of the journal Engineering Geology and as associate editor of the journal Tunnelling and Undergound Space Technology. He is also serving or has served in editorial boards of other major geotechnical engineering journals.

Dr. Carranza-Torres obtained his Masters degree in Engineering Geology at ITC, Delft, The Netherlands and his Ph.D. in Geomechanics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus. After working for seven years at Itasca (in Minnesota), he became an independent consultant. During this time he had the opportunity to work in several major civil and mining engineering projects involving design and analysis of stability of excavations throughout the world.

Since becoming a faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2008, he still remains involved in consulting, in particular in geotechnical mining projects as associate consultant for SRK. At various times in his career Dr. Carranza-Torres has taught training courses in the use of numerical models to geotechnical engineers working in industry. Most recently, he taught courses for Phase2 and Slide organized by Rocscience in Chile and Peru.


Dr. Reginald Hammah, P.Eng., is the Rock Mechanics Lead (West Africa) in the Accra office of Golder Associates. He has a strong backgroun in numerical modeling and the application of software tools to geomechanics problems, including stress and stability analysis of slopes and underground excavations. He is also very experienced in the use of probabilistic and risk assessment techniques in geotechnical analysis.

Reginald graduate with a Masters degree in Structural Engineering from the Zaporozhye Industrial Institute in the Ukraine in 1993. He immediately went to Canada to pursue further studies and obtained his Ph.D. in Rock Mechanics from the University of Toronto in 1998. In December 1998, Reginald joined the Mine Waste Group in the Mississauga office of Golder Associates. He later moved to the Sudbury office as a Rock Mechanics Specialist. In 2000 he joined a team of professors at the University of Toronto to help apply for a major research grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. Reginald served as research manager for the Lassonde Institute that was born out of this grant. He was also the Technical Co-Chair for the 2002 North Amercian Rock Mechanics Symposium. Thereafter, Reginald moved over full-time to Rocscience Inc. He participated in the development of programs such as Phase2, Slide, and RocData. He also helped develop and teach several Rocscience training courses and seminars. Reginald joined Golder Associates again in 2010 to help the company grow its business in Africa.


Dr. Tony Meyers, CPEng, comes from a family having 6 generations involved in the mining industry. He has a degree in Mining Engineering, a diploma in Finance, and completed a Ph.D. in Rock Mechanics at the University of Adelaide in 1992. He has worked as a Charted Professional Engineer for 25 years. During that period he worked in the surface and underground mining industries and for three years in the petroleum industry with Flopetrol Schlumberger providing well testing services onshore and offshore. He worked in academia for 13 years providing courses in Fundamental and Advanced Rock Mechanics and Numerical Modeling to graduate level students at the University of Adelaide and South Australia. In these roles he was co-applicant with Professor Stephen Priest on several successful major grants aimed at facilitating research into rock mass characterization.

Tony is currently an independent consultant for Rocktest Consulting in Adelaide, Australia, which he formed in the mid 1990s, to provide Rock Engineering services to the mining and civil industries. He specializes in the application of probabilistic numerical methods, particularly when applied to the design of pit slopes in mining. He is experienced in the application of risk assessment techniques and the management of excavations to ensure that the risks remain acceptable. Tony has been using Rocscience software since the early 1990s and has regularly communicated with the company concerning the development and functionality of the software. He was on the National Committees of the Australian Geomechanics Society, 2000-2007, was Vice President (Australasia) of the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM), 2007-2011, as well as publishing extensively in local and international journals. He is a regular organizer and presenter at conferences and workshops in Australia and internationally. Tony was a keynote presenter for the ISRM lecture tours.


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