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Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

Founded in 1948, EERI's mission is to reduce earthquake risk by (1) advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering, (2) improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment, and (3) advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes.

News of the Institute

Craig Comartin to Receive the 2016 Alfred E. Alquist Medal

comartin2Craig D. Comartin (M. EERI, 1987), president of CDComartin, Inc., past president of EERI, and founding technical director of The Concrete Coalition, is the 2016 Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal winner. Comartin will receive the honor at the 2016 EERI Annual Meeting in San Francisco in April.

The Alquist Medal is awarded to an individual, company, or organization that has made substantial contributions to the field of seismic safety and earthquake risk reduction, having directly affected the seismic safety of the general population. The Alquist Medal recognizes career contributions or notable and/or singular achievements: a significant contribution to the public good is the primary selection criterion.

Working in the field of structural engineering for over forty years, Comartin pioneered the evaluation and design of structures to meet complex performance objectives and the management of seismic risks associated with groups of individual facilities. He helped implement performance-based earthquake engineering for the buildings at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, by combining financial analysis techniques with performance-based engineering. Comartin has given freely of his time and considerable talents to advance the profession of earthquake engineering, including serving as EERI President, Secretary-Treasurer, and member of the Editorial Board of Earthquake Spectra. He was active in the establishment of EERI’s Endowment Fund, and continues to serve as chair of EERI's Initiatives Development Committee.

Comartin's most important contribution to public safety is the creation of The Concrete Coalition, a network comprised of individuals, governments, institutions, and agencies with an interest in assessing and mitigating the risk associated with dangerous non-ductile concrete buildings. While many lamented the lack of mitigation activities for this building type, Comartin acted. The Coalition, using mostly volunteer labor, has succeeded in developing an approximate inventory of non-ductile concrete buildings in California; created a database of case histories that document performance of concrete buildings in past earthquakes; and, by working with engineers and officials in San Francisco and Los Angeles, defined tools to understand and reduce risk from these building types. Coalition partners include the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center at UC Berkeley, the Applied Technology Council, and others—a network of influence and action that will continue to contribute to public safety for years to come.

2015 Shah Family Innovation Prize: Call for Nominations

Do you know a young academic or professional making a difference in reducing global earthquake risk? EERI members are encouraged to nominate candidates from government, private firms, academia, and the international community for the 2015 Shah Family Innovation Prize.

The Shah Family Innovation Prize was created with a substantial gift to the EERI Endowment Fund by the Haresh C. Shah family of Stanford, California. The intent of the prize is to stimulate further creativity and leadership in the earthquake risk mitigation community and EERI.

The selection process recognizes a combination of past accomplishments and future potential, emphasizing creative and innovative thinkers who have demonstrated at early stages in their careers the potential to make major contributions. EERI membership is not required for either the nominator or candidate, although it is strongly encouraged. Candidates must be less than 35 years of age on January 1, 2016.

Submit your nominations for the Shah Innovation Prize online by January 15, 2016 at

For more information about the required nomination package, selection criteria, and past winners, visit

The 2015 Shah Prize Selection Committee: Ellen Rathje, University of Texas-Austin, (Chair); Jack Baker, Stanford University; Stacy Bartoletti, Degenkolb Engineers; Patricia Grossi, Independent Consultant; and Emily So, University of Cambridge.

EERI Endowment Donors

EERI would like to thank donors to the Endowment Fund and acknowledge their recent contributions. EERI’s Endowment supports innovative projects that assure the Institute’s continuing leadership in the earthquake engineering profession.

The list below reflects donations that the Institute received from mid October to mid November 2015.

James D. Goltz

Kenneth Mark

Sandra Hyde

David W. Cocke
Klaus H. Jacob
Gayle S. Johnson
Franklin Lew
Terry R. Lundeen
Peter J. May
Robert B. Olshansky
Mete Sozen
Akira Wada

Other Amounts
Sergio M. Alcocer
Mohammad Joolazadeh
Jean-Paul Pinelli

Thank you for your support!

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News of the Profession

Marshall Lew Named UCLA Distinguished Alumnus

lew marshallMarshall Lew (M. EERI, 1978) has been named the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

Lew, principal and vice president of AMEC Environmental & Infrastructure in Los Angeles, is nationally renowned as a leader in geotechnical and earthquake engineering, holding leadership posts with the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California, the California Hospital Building Safety Board, California Strong Motion Instrumentation Advisory Committee, and most notably, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Lew was Secretary-Treasurer for the EERI Board of Directors for six years, and currently serves as the EERI Southern California Regional Chapter President.

Links to Recent News and Views

Ten recent stories, reports, or opinions from around the Web:

oneTitan Supercomputer Takes on the Big One (Science Codex) US Department of Energy's computer tasked to develop physics-based earthquake simulations to better understand earthquake systems. external link icon

twoQuake protection looms large in LA stadium bid for Olympics (Sacramento Bee/AP) Can a stadium damaged in the 1994 Northridge quake be made safe enough to host worldwide sporting event? external link icon

threeYellow-Stickered New Zealand buildings Halve in Value (Radio New Zealand) Value of buildings in Wellington labelled with an earthquake-prone 'yellow sticker' has dropped by 45 percent. external link icon

fourNepal's slow earthquake recovery raises possibility of grim winter (CBC News/AP) About 9,000 died in April earthquake, and many survivors are in tents, huts. external link icon

five 'An NGO gave us food. But can we build walls with macaroni?' (The Guardian) Relief efforts slow as villagers hit hardest by Afghan quake in October still await shelter external link icon

sixCanterbury residents 'most vulnerable' five years after the quakes (The Press) Mental illness rates are soaring as Canterbury enters the "most vulnerable point" in its post-earthquake recovery. external link icon

sevenAre earthquakes impacting Oklahoma's deficient bridges? (Fox23) Oklahoma ranks as one of the worst states for the number of structurally deficient bridges and is one of the most seismically active. external link icon

eightBuilding Codes For PV In Seismic Areas Are Ready For A Shake Up (Solar Industry Mag) Testing solar panel systems for earthquake performance external link icon

nine36 Lawmakers Request $16.1 Million to Fund Earthquake Early-Warning System (Government Technology) Funds would continue USGS research on the United States West Coast external link icon

tenHandsome earthquake-resistant school uses natural cooling in Thailand (Inhabitat) One of nine earthquake-resistant schools built after 2014 6.3M earthquake uses local materials external link icon

VIDEO: Non-Structural Testing of Refrigerators at PEER

refrig videoThe PEER lab at UC Berkeley’s Richmond Field Station collaborated with Estructure, an Oakland-based engineering firm, and performed shake table testing of non-structural objects (e.g., refrigerators and book shelves) under varying earthquake excitations. The objective of the research project was to determine the effectiveness of anchorage, with the goal of reducing damage and injury in the event of an earthquake. The research project, which took place earlier this year, also provided useful data that extended beyond the scope of the project. “We took a look at building codes,” Estructure President, Maryann Phipps, S.E. explained. “We wanted to see if existing code design requirements are appropriate for protecting non-structural components.”

Watch the video highlight on the PEER YouTube channel external link icon

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Registration Open for 2016 PEER Annual Meeting, January 28–29, 2016

The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) will present the 2016 PEER Annual Meeting at the International House on the University of California, Berkeley campus on Thursday, January 28, and Friday, January 29, 2016. “Decision-Making in the Face of Uncertainty” will feature the role of multi-disciplinary performance-based engineering with seismic and related natural hazards to achieve community resiliency.

Registration is now open, and early bird discount rates end on December 15, 2015. Read more on the PEER meeting website: external link icon

2016 Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series

Dates and speakers have been announced for the 2016 Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series held at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The Structural Engineering Institute-Lehigh Valley Chapter will be awarding 1 PDH credit for each lecture to eligible attendees. More information at link icon

March 4, 2016 (Friday), 4:30 pm: "Performance-based Design: What, How, When, Why, and Why Not to Use It," by Ronald O. Hamburger (M. EERI, 1988), Senior Principal, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.

April 15, 2016 (Friday), 4:30 pm: "Lessons Learned," by John Zils, Senior Structural Consultant, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP

April 22, 2016 (Friday), 4:30 pm: "Structural Use of FRP Composites in Construction: Past Achievements and Future Opportunities," by Jin-Guang, Chair Professor of Structural Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

For additional information about the Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series please visit: link icon

1st International Conference on Natural Hazards and Infrastructure

iconhic2016A new conference, the 1st International Conference on Natural Hazards and Infrastructure: Protection, Design, Rehabilitation, will take place in Chania, Crete, in Greece, June 28–30, 2016.

The three-day conference is dedicated to fostering the exchange of ideas, practices, and state of the art among academics, industry experts, and professionals active in infrastructure design against earthquake, landslides, floods, and tsunamis. Abstract submissions are optional. Paper submission deadline is February 15, 2016. More information available at http://iconhic2016.comexternal link icon

Open Opportunity: Director of Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder

The Institute of Behavioral Science, in collaboration with the Departments of Sociology, Geography, Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and Economics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, invites applications for a tenured position to direct the established and internationally-recognized Natural Hazards Center. The appointment will be at the rank of full professor or advanced associate. The director will be expected to provide leadership and vision in the field of natural hazard research and management of the center’s research and knowledge dissemination programs, as well as to secure funding for the center’s activities.

The mission of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder is to advance and communicate knowledge on hazards mitigation and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Using an all-hazards and interdisciplinary framework, the center fosters information sharing and integration of activities among researchers, practitioners, and policy makers from around the world; supports and conducts research; and provides educational opportunities for the next generation of hazards scholars and professionals.

Candidates are expected to have an established and ongoing program of original research, a distinguished publication record, and demonstrated ability to obtain external funding, as well as a record of high-quality teaching. Tenure will be held in Sociology, Geography, Anthropology Environmental Studies, or Economics, depending on the discipline of the successful candidate. Review of candidates will begin December 1, 2016 and continue until the position is filled. Questions should be addressed to Professor J. Terrence McCabe, University of Colorado, who is chair of the search committee (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Application materials are accepted electronically at external link icon

Two Postdoctoral Fellow Positions at University of Canterbury, New Zealand

The University of Canterbury, New Zealand, has two postdoctoral positions in Ground Motion Simulation and Nonlinear Site Response Analysis open. Applicants require a Ph.D. in Civil/Earthquake Engineering, Geophysics or a related field, and applications will be accepted until November 22, 2015.

More information on positions and how to apply. external link icon

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Earthquake Spectra: Preprint Manuscripts

spectra 150Two preprint manuscripts have been posted to the Earthquake Spectra website prior to formal publication. The papers to be published are:

  • "Strain Limit States for Circular RC Bridge Columns" by Jason C. Goodnight, Mervyn J. Kowalsky (M. EERI, 1994), and James M. Nau

  • "Seismic Hazard in the Eastern United States" by Charles S. Mueller, Oliver S. Boyd (M. EERI, 2005), Mark D. Petersen (M. EERI, 2002), Morgan P. Moschetti (M. EERI, 2015), Sanaz Rezaeian and Allison M. Shumway

To read all current preprint manuscripts posted, visit Earthquake Spectra preprints. external link icon

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Member Spotlight

Welcome New EERI Members

EERI welcomes the members who have recently joined the Institute. If you wish to connect with your fellow members, you can locate their contact information in the EERI online membership directory, which requires logging in to the Member Resources Area of the EERI website.

Malcolm Ammons, University of Michigan, Civil
Adrian Argente Del Castillo, University of Puerto Rico, Structural
Michael Bain, Johns Hopkins University, Civil
Abbas Booshehrian, University of Minnesota, Structural
Elena Bucurici, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Andrew Burton, University of Michigan, Structural
Andreea Cojocaru, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Joseph Conlon, Johns Hopkins University, Civil
Ionut Craciun, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Giorgiana Dinica, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Petronela Dragomir, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Tarek El-Afifi, University of Texas - Austin, Structural
Jacob Eull, Iowa State University, Civil
Byron Foster, University of Utah, Geotechnical
Katelyn Freeseman, University of Minnesota, Structural
Yu Gao, Virginia Tech, Structural
Raegan Hensley, Johns Hopkins University, Civil
Ionut Hera, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Patrick Hughes, University of California San Diego, Structural
Oana Iagar, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Alexandra Jipescu, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Masoud Khazaei Poul, Drexel University, Structural
Radu Mihei, Technical University of Bucharest, Civil
Ammar Motorwala, Virginia Tech, Structural
Neda Nabid, University of Sheffield, Civil
Matthew Paris, Johns Hopkins University, Civil
Bryan Pon, Johns Hopkins University
Ricky Poulton, Johns Hopkins University, Civil
Amrita Ramamurthy, Cornell University
Jenny Ramirez-Calderon, University of Colorado, Geotechnical
Ivan Rodriguez, California State University Sacramento, Civil
Carolyn Ruoff, Cornell University, Civil
Christina Thomas, Cornell University
Nicole Trujillo, University of New Mexico, Civil
Nancy Varughese, University of Texas - Austin, Civil
Sarah Westley, Johns Hopkins University, Civil
Avital Zenilman, Johns Hopkins University, Civil

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25 Ways to Get Involved

Get Involved with EERI

25 waysLooking to be more involved with EERI? We've come up with a list of opportunities for members. Each edition of The Pulse will highlight a way to do more.
Download the 25 Ways flyerexternal link icon (PDF)

#3: Begin a regional initiative to inventory, mitigate, and increase awareness about vulnerable concrete building in your region.

The Concrete Coalition is a network comprised of individuals, governments, institutions, and agencies with an interest in assessing and mitigating the risk associated with dangerous non-ductile concrete buildings. There is a lack of in-depth information available for building officials, public policy makers, and the general public regarding the level of risk associated with these buildings. The coalition uses volunteers to conduct inventories in communities and, with other measures, work to provide resources to facilitate seismic safety programs in vulnerable regions.

Visit the Concrete Coalition website to learn about current and past activities, and access resources. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
499 14th Street, Suite 220, Oakland, CA 94612-1934 USA
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