The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) George W. Housner Medal for 2023 has been awarded to T. Leslie Youd (M.EERI 1974, in recognition of his pioneering contributions in the field of geotechnical earthquake engineering. The Housner Medal is awarded to recognize members of the Institute and others who have made extraordinary and lasting contributions to public earthquake safety through the development and application of earthquake hazard reduction practices and policies. It is the Institute’s most prestigious award.
Youd is a professor emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering, followed by a doctorate in civil engineering from Iowa State University and postdoctoral studies at Imperial College, London. In his fifty-year career, Youd has made fundamental contributions to geotechnical earthquake engineering. His pioneering work on soil liquefaction and associated lateral spreading began in 1972 and remains fundamental to understanding of volumetrically-induced compaction of dry sands from seismic loading. From 1967 to 1984, he was a Research Civil Engineer with the United States Geological Survey, where he instrumented the Wildlife Site, the first field site to record ground motions and pore water pressures as liquefaction and lateral spread occurred. In 1984, he joined the faculty at Brigham Young University, where he and his students developed the MLR procedure for predicting lateral spread displacement.
In addition to his research contributions, Youd has been a leader in the worlds of post-earthquake field reconnaissance and consulting. He has conducted post-earthquake investigations following 20 major earthquakes on 5 continents and led EERI reconnaissance teams and edited reports following the 1993 Hokkaido, Japan and 1999 Kocaeli, Turkey earthquakes. He previously served on the EERI Board of Directors and as chair of the Learning From Earthquakes and Honors Committees. He has also been a consultant to the United States Department of Energy, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, and the Utah Department of Transportation, among other organizations.
Youd is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an Honorary Member of EERI and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the recipient of the 2002 H. Bolton Seed ASCE Medal. He will be presented with the Housner Medal at the 2023 EERI Annual Meeting in California next spring.