Dr. James J. Scott was dedicated to the science of rock mechanics and innovations in mining and mine safety. Widely known for inventing new methods of ground support for underground mines, Jim Scott was also an outstanding mining engineer and a consummate teacher, always ready to share freely his knowledge and experience, whether in formal presentations or one-on-one on the ground and in the mine.
Jim earned BS and PhD degrees in mining engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Early in his career, he worked at Bethlehem Steel’s Cornwall Mine and quickly rose from Shift Foreman to Head Engineer. In 1963, he joined the faculty of the Missouri School of Mines at Rolla, where he ultimately became Chairman of the Department of Mining and Petroleum Engineering.
While at Rolla, Jim took several sanctioned leaves to lend assistance to industry and government. He spent time with Copper Range Co., White Pine, Michigan, where he initiated an applied rock mechanics program that served as a model for underground mines everywhere—a significant breakthrough in applying rock mechanics theory to practical mine operations. At Marble Cliff Quarry Co. in Kentucky, Jim turned a struggling underground limestone mine to profitability, securing both the safety and the future of this deep mine.
In 1970, Dr. Scott was called by the U.S. Bureau of Mines to be Assistant Director, responsible for all research efforts and initiatives. Specific emphasis was given to programs focused on reducing health and safety hazards for miners. Particular emphasis was given to assisting industry in complying with the respirable dust standards of the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.
In 1977, Dr. Scott assumed the role of Adjunct Professor of Mining at Rolla and started Scott Mine Technical Services, Inc. (SMTS). With the founding of SMTS, Jim’s penchant for developing new concepts in mining and mine safety truly flourished. His emphasis on rock mechanics instrumentation, mine roof analysis, and mine management led to fourteen patents. His most notable development was the friction rock stabilizer, or “Split-Set” roof fixture. Other innovations included cable slings for roof and pillar control, in-situ beam supports, and a shortwall headbeam support.
Dr. Scott had over 60 publications to his credit. He was an active member of industry and academic professional societies. He was recognized as the 1969 Outstanding Alumnus—Research, University of Missouri. He was named a Ford Fellow, University of Wisconsin, and received the 1981 Distinguished Service Award, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin. He received AIME’s 1982 Rock Mechanics Award and SME’s 1991 Daniel C. Jackling Award.
Dr. James J. Scott was internationally recognized as an expert in rock mechanics theory and its practical application to problems of ground control. He distinguished himself in the mining industry through his leadership in making the underground mining environment a safer place to work.