I think of myself as a bimbo – one who specializes in bimrocks (block-in-matrix rocks). For several years I proudly wore the PhD graduation T-shirt that Jim Falls, CEG gave me in 1994, emblazoned with his word “bimbeau“, a more elegant alternative to my bimbo. I suppose if I were a French woman researcher, I would be a bimbelle.
Yes, I have fun with bimwords. So much so that I collect them.
I coined the odd word “bimrocks” in November 1992 for my PhD Oral Examination presentation, initially as an abbreviation for “block-in-matrix rocks“, which are complex mixtures of hard blocks of rock embedded in weak matrix rocks. So, I first came up with “bimrocks” for convenience – you try saying and writing “block-in-matrix rocks” a few times. You will stutter too. But I gave “bimrocks” respectability with a technical definition: mixtures of rocks composed of geotechnically significant blocks within a bonded matrix of finer texture.
I then a wrote a PhD dissertation on bimrocks, which you can read if you really have nothing better to do. Once graduated I became a bimdoc.
By the way. There are a lot of other things that bimrocks are not:
- blocks in the bimrocks
- bimsteins: (pumices, or air-in-matrix)
- blokbims: (light weight building blocks made in Turkey, using pumice)
- bimbo rock(s), which is a rock music label.
While en route between Bergamot and Brescia in Northern Italy a few ago, our train stopped at the village near Bergamot. On the wall of the platform was this sign. Someone in Italy loves someone who loves bimrocks: “Hullo Bimba, I love you“. The origin of bimba and bimbo is Italian. They are affectionate diminutives of bambina and bambino (little girl and little boy). There is then a charming connection between bimbo, bimrocks and myself, given I am still a young man at heart.
Coincidentally: the original geotechnical engineering research in bimrocks was performed in the 1970’s in Italy on olistostromes (complex mixtures of shales and sandstones, jumbled together by submarine landslides), which are part of the vast suite of Geotechnically Complex Formations – as they are known in Italy. (See the excellent paper by Napoli et al, 2022; “Practical classification of geotechnically complex formations with block-in-matrix fabrics“ – which delights me by introducing the new word bimunits to embrace the vast range of geological conditions expressed by fragmented and mixed materials (bim materials):
“The high internal heterogeneity and compositional variability of block-in-matrix units (“bimunits” in the following), which is mainly due to the strong rheological contrast between blocks and the matrix, extends the geotechnical complexity over a wide spectrum of complex formations, ranging from rocks to soils, with a significant engineering and societal impact (Medley and Zekkos, 2011).” – Napoli et al, 2022.
Professor Ludger Suárez-Burgoa recently called me “the Father of Bimrocks” – a kind gesture, which I cherish. I am not a father of any children other than of lots of papers; an uncle to several others written by colleagues; and a wicked stepfather to scores of other papers as a demanding Reviewer. So it with enjoyment that I shall soon present a lecture titled: “30 years later: BimPapa reflections on the evolution of bimrocks” in Italy, the land of bimbos and bimbas and bimunits …
This post is based on stories first told at edmedley.com