EERI Honorary Members: Bill Anderson and Bill Iwan

The EERI Board of Directors selected William (Bill) A. Anderson (M. EERI, 2001) and Wilfred (Bill) D. Iwan (M. EERI, 1989) as Honorary Members of the Institute. Honorary membership is awarded to recognize members who have made sustained and outstanding contributions to the field of earthquake engineering and to EERI and the pursuit of its objectives. Presentation of EERI Honorary Awards and Tribute to Bill Anderson will take place at the 10NCEE Wednesday lunch on July 23, 2014.

William (Bill) A. AndersonEERI Honorary Member Bill Anderson (1937–2013) passed away unexpectedly in late December external link icon. Anderson was trained as a sociologist at the Ohio State University Disaster Research Center and was a professor of Sociology at Arizona State University before going to the Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation in 1976, where he remained for the next 26 years.

While on leave from NSF, Anderson took a position with the Disaster Management Facility at the World Bank where he was one of the architects of the ProVention Consortium. In 2001, he moved to the National Academy of Sciences to direct the Disasters Roundtable and serve as associate executive director of the Division on Earth and Life Studies.

Coming from a tradition of field research carried out in the immediate aftermath of disasters, Anderson recognized the value of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes program, enabling multidisciplinary teams to collect perishable data after damaging earthquakes. NSF funding for the LFE program enabled EERI to disseminate field observations through written reconnaissance reports and live presentations throughout the country.

Recognizing the need to develop ties to researchers in other earthquake-prone countries, Anderson funded a series of international workshops that allowed researchers to exchange information about their work and to develop personal relationships. That tradition served EERI well after major earthquakes in many countries; it lived on after Bill left NSF, ensuring valuable post-earthquake research collaboration throughout the world.

Wilfred (Bill) D. IwanEERI Honorary Member Bill Iwan is emeritus professor of applied mechanics and emeritus director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. Professor Iwan joined the Caltech faculty in 1964. His research deals with fundamental areas of mechanics, understanding and characterization of strong earthquake ground motion, analysis and monitoring of the response of structural systems subjected to extreme events, and public policy regarding disasters.

Iwan’s research achievements include the development of methods to represent complex nonlinear structures with simpler linear systems, the development of practical methods for earthquake-resistant design, and the development of simplified methods for the analysis of seismic isolation systems for critical equipment. In 1979 he proposed an earthquake early-warning system for urban regions. He introduced the concept of a “drift demand spectrum” as a means of measuring the damage potential of strong earthquake ground motion, and has worked toward improving both seismic instrument design and the interpretation of data.

Professor Iwan is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). He is a recipient of the George W. Housner Medal awarded by EERI, both the William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award and the Nathan M. Newmark Medal awarded by ASCE, the Alfred Alquist Medal awarded by the Earthquake Safety Foundation, and a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Consortium of Strong Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS). He was the inaugural recipient of the Bruce A. Bolt Medal awarded jointly by EERI, the Seismological Society of America, and COSMOS.

For more information on the EERI Honorary Membership, visit the EERI website at external link icon.

Note: See the full list of 2014 EERI Award Recipients at external link icon. In the next issue of The Pulse, we will feature the Earthquake Spectra Outstanding Paper Award.