A native of Minnesota, Roy W. Carlson was a graduate of the University of Redlands, earned a master's degree in civil engineering from Berkeley in 1933, and was awarded a doctorate in materials from MIT. He came to Cal in 1931 to study materials for Hoover Dam, beginning a 60-year affiliation with UC Berkeley.
Dr. Carlson is internationally renowned for his research in concrete technology and for the invention of several widely used instruments for gauging the behavior of concrete. Recognized as a leading authority in the field, Dr. Carlson has played a vital role in the construction and testing of dams throughout the world. His career spans six decades, beginning in 1925 with his work for the Southern California Edison Company, for which he helped determine the safety of 37 dams. During the 1930s, Dr. Carlson joined Berkeley campus researchers at the new Engineering Materials Laboratory in studying materials for Hoover Dam. Dr. Carlson was also awarded Brazil's highest honor, the Order of the Southern Cross, for his twenty-year involvement with dam projects in that country and his encouragement of a generation of Brazilian engineers to come to the Berkeley campus to study concrete technology.
In his home country, Dr. Carlson's professional achievements were recognized with his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1974 and honorary membership in the American Concrete Institute in 1977.
He was awarded the Berkeley Citation in 1980, and the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award in1986. He had a long and distinguished career in concrete technology and brought great honor to Berkeley and the engineering profession. Dr. Carlson passed away in 1990 at the age of 90.