EERI Publishes New Oral History Volume Featuring Dr. Izzat M. Idriss

Idriss headshotThe Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is excited to release the thirty-first volume of Connections: The EERI Oral History Series, featuring Dr. Izzat (Ed) Idriss, a pioneer in the field of geotechnical earthquake engineering. Born in Syria in 1935, Idriss moved from Beirut, Lebanon to upstate New York in 1954, beginning a six-decade career in the United States as a scholar and practitioner. This oral history covers his wide-ranging contributions to the field, including the development of innovative procedures for evaluating the behavior of soil sites and structures, and recounts his participation in post-earthquake reconnaissance and investigations of many major earthquakes of the last half-century, beginning with Alaska in 1964. It discusses his public service as a member of the California Governor’s Board of Inquiry tasked to investigate the failure of portions of the Cypress Freeway and Bay Bridge in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, as an advisor to Caltrans, and as a consultant for seismic risk mitigation on major public works projects around the world.

The volume recounts Dr. Idriss’s academic career, ranging from graduate studies at Caltech and Berkeley to his years as director of the Center for Geotechnical Modelling at the University of California, Davis, as well as his decades of engineering practice at the firm Woodward-Clyde. It also touches on his personal and family life, from recollections of his youth in Syria and Lebanon to his travels and hobbies in retirement.

Idriss coverInterviews for the oral history were conducted by Dr. Ross W. Boulanger, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis, and a longtime colleague and friend of Dr. Idriss. In a personal introduction, James K. Mitchell calls this volume “both fascinating and inspirational…the specifics of the people, places, and projects that he describes provide an excellent account of the development and growth of geotechnical earthquake engineering and practice.”

The EERI Oral History series is available free of charge in PDF format through the EERI Digital Library. This ongoing series publishes interviews with prominent figures in the fields associated with earthquake engineering and earthquake resilience to preserve the rich history of those who have shaped seismic design theory and practice. EERI gratefully acknowledges production support provided by FEMA/U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

To access the free PDF version of the Izzat M. Idriss volume, click on the link here to view the Digital Library item and select the download arrow (EERI members will need to log in to your member account; non-members may access a free copy by entering your name and an email address). Print-on-demand copies are available for purchase from Barnes and Noble here. View other recent Connections volumes currently available via print-on-demand here.

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