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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.


Call for Abstracts extended: San Fernando Earthquake Conference (Lifelines2021)

The UCLA/ASCE Lifelines Conference 2021, February 7-10, 2021 — commemorating the 50th anniversary of the San Fernando Earthquake — is seeking session, paper, and presentation abstracts. The deadline has been extended to May 5. The anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the need to increase the resilience of our critical infrastructure systems to earthquakes and other hazards. The conference will provide a retrospective of where we are today and how we got here, and help define a global vision for where we are going to create resilient infrastructure systems within interdisciplinary and multihazard environments which support community and regional resilience. Learn more and submit here

Invitation for structural engineers to participate in the 2020 SE3 Survey

The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Committee is currently administering its third nationwide survey of structural engineers. The SE3 Committee's mission is to attract and retain the best and brightest into the profession and to ensure that all structural engineers have a clear pathway to success. The SE3 survey is an ongoing effort to identify trends, to understand the underlying factors, and to initiate industry-wide conversations. Based on key survey findings, the committee utilizes presentations, panel discussions, and networking events to provide recommendations for industry improvement. Survey topics include career development, compensation, work flexibility, and overall engagement. Click here to take the survey.

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Younger Members Committee

YMC webinar recording now available

If you missed the YMC-hosted webinar, “Explore Engaging Teaching Methods for the Science and Engineering Fields” featuring Diane Moug, Ph.D. (M.EERI,2014), Portland State University and Anahid Behrouzi, Ph.D., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, you can catch it online here!

Learn how you can incorporate experiments and demonstrations to enhance your teaching methods and improve your students’ learning outcomes. This webinar is designed for graduate students, academics, and other practitioners in the science and engineering fields with any and all levels of teaching experience. You’ll hear two dynamic presentations touching on different aspects of this topic.

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News of the Institute

EERI welcomes new Housner Fellows

Please join us in congratulating the EERI 2020 Class of Housner Fellows! Selected from a competitive pool, this highly-qualified group brings a wide range of impressive skills and a deep desire to advance earthquake safety (photo order from left to right):

Housner Fellows 2020

  • Guillermo Diaz-Fanas (M.EERI,2015), WSP, New York
  • Nuraini Rahma Hanifa (M.EERI,2019), Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia
  • Chiara McKenney (M.EERI,2011), Applied Technology Council, California
  • Tadesse Meskele (M.EERI,2014), GRI, Oregon
  • Maria Mohammed (M.EERI,2013), Structural Focus, California
  • Siamak Sattar (M.EERI,2011), National Institute of Science and Technology, Maryland

This fourth class of Housner Fellows will participate in a weeklong leadership training program, led by trainer and EERI board member Lucy Arendt (M.EERI, 2008) of St. Norbert College. During the two-year program, the class will develop a group project. The Housner Fellows Program was established in Fall 2011 through a substantial gift from Professor George W. Housner and has provided emerging leaders in earthquake safety with in-depth leadership training.

Webinar | Functional Recovery: Designing for Community Resilience

Bonowitz Lecture Website

Explore the emerging and timely concept of functional recovery as a basis for earthquake-resistant design in the 2020 EERI Distinguished Lecture, featuring David Bonowitz (M.EERI,1994). The Distinguished Lecture Award recognizes EERI members who have made outstanding contributions to earthquake risk reduction. The award encourages communications and dialogue on important and timely topics. 

Wednesday, April 29 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET 
FREE for EERI members and non-members | REGISTER HERE

David BonowitzIn this webinar, you’ll gain insights on how design for functional recovery is a necessary tool for assessing and improving community resilience. The lecture will examine four dimensions of functional recovery: definitional, technical, policy, and implementation. While designing buildings and infrastructure for limited downtime — or an acceptably quick functional recovery — is not new, it’s receiving more attention through state and federal legislation and showing new feasibility through research and technology. As this concept becomes more influential in our field, the lecture will also explore the roles you can play in shaping this thinking into design practice.

About David Bonowitz: Bonowitz is a structural engineer and a consultant on disaster risk reduction policy. His work links what engineers know to what policymakers, decision-makers, and stakeholders need, consulting to city, state, federal, and international agencies. He is an appointed member of the new Federal Emergency Management Agency-National Institute of Standards and Technology working group on Functional Recovery of the Built Environment and Critical Infrastructure. He is a co-author of “Functional Recovery: A Conceptual Framework,” an EERI white paper, and lead author of “Resilience-based Design and the NEHRP Provisions,” now in review by the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Provisions Update Committee.

Request your print copy by May 18: Mary Comerio's Oral History

March Pulse

Select EERI membership categories (regular, retired, honorary, young professional, and affiliate) may request a complimentary print copy of Mary Comerio's (M.EERI,1988) volume here (free shipping within the United States, a flat shipping fee of $20 USD will be charged to international addresses) by Monday, May 18. Download the PDF version here. The full Connections: The EERI Oral History Series (volumes 1–27) is available free of charge in PDF format on the EERI website. 

A trailblazer in the merging of architecture and disaster resilience, Mary Comerio is the first woman to be featured in EERI’s oral history collection. 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. 

“One of Mary's lasting legacies is her passion for the historically underserved and her willingness to speak up on their behalf,” said Lucy Arendt (M.EERI,2008), interviewer of this volume and a professor of business administration at St. Norbert College. “She used her voice and expertise to make buildings in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco safer for people who needed an advocate. Mary once engaged Fidel Castro - yes, that Fidel - in a debate about the need to provide housing that served all kinds of families. She won the debate.”

In 1978, Comerio joined the faculty in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and served as chair of the Department from 2006-2009. She holds Master’s degrees in Architecture and Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. As an architect, Comerio has designed numerous public and private facilities, including market-rate and affordable housing. Her research focuses on the costs and benefits of seismic rehabilitation (particularly housing), post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, and loss modeling. She is the author of Disaster Hits Home: New Policy for Urban Housing Recovery

Comerio led the Building Systems Research in the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, during the ten years when PEER was one of three NSF-funded national earthquake centers. She also served as co-principal investigator on one of the National Science Foundation’s Grand Challenge projects focused on the mitigation of collapse risk in nonductile concrete buildings. She serves on the Governing Board of the QuakeCoRE Center for Earthquake Resilience in New Zealand and continues to consult internationally on disaster recovery and resilience planning.

Comerio also brings a long and rich history of service and leadership to EERI. She served as president of EERI, as a member on its Board of Directors, Honors Committee, and Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) committee, and as a Distinguished Lecturer. She was also a member of the EERI reconnaissance teams to Umbria and L’Aquila and leader of the teams to Christchurch. In 2019, EERI honored Comerio with one of its highest distinctions — an honorary membership to the Institute. 

“Over the course of her career, Mary has made a material difference in the lives of thousands of people - as the president of EERI, LFE reconnaissance leader, professor, scholar, mentor, advocate, community member, wife, and mother,” said Arendt. “She seamlessly walks among all these roles. Mary is the kind of hands-on leader we all wish we could be – she’s brilliant, caring, funny, determined, incisive, energetic, pragmatic, generous, hard-working, and always other-focused.”

“As an architect working in the realm of earthquake engineering research, I have always tried to bridge the gap between our technical understanding of earthquake (and other disaster) impacts on the built environment, and the social and economic consequences of disaster losses,” said Comerio. “Architecture is a field in which the diverse understanding of many building issues can be brought together in a creative way.”

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Member Spotlight

Frangopol awarded the 2020 Alfred M. Freudenthal Medal

20190701 FrangopolDan M. Frangopol (M.EERI,1987), the inaugural Fazlur R. Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture at Lehigh University, has been awarded the 2020 Alfred M. Freudenthal Medal by the Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Frangopol, who is a Distinguished Member of ASCE, a past Vice President of EMI, and an Inaugural Fellow of EMI, has been recognized for his “outstanding contributions to the advancement of probabilistic, reliability and risk methods in civil engineering, particularly in developing probabilistic models for life-cycle performance assessment, maintenance and optimum management of civil infrastructure systems in diverse loading environments.”

Established in 1975 to honor Freudenthal, who is recognized as the “father” of structural reliability, this prestigious medal is awarded every two years to “an individual in recognition of distinguished achievement in safety and reliability studies applicable to any branch of civil engineering.” Congratulations, Dan! Read more

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Subscribing Member Spotlight

ITT Enidine, Inc.

ITT EnidineITT Enidine, Inc. is one of EERI's Silver-level Subscribing Members in 2020. Established in 1966, ITT Enidine Inc. provides products and services to the industrial, aerospace, defense, rail and transportation markets throughout the world. The company is a premier supplier of engineered mechanical shock absorbers, vibration isolation products, noise attenuation products as well as deceleration devices and products for hydraulic/pneumatic actuation and motion control applications. ITT’s global resources, six-sigma and lean manufacturing provide ITT Enidine Inc. the resources to stay at the forefront of new technologies, research & development, and high-quality production.

Haselton Baker Risk Group

HB-RiskThe Haselton Baker Risk Group is one of EERI's Silver-level Subscribing Members in 2020. Founding members, Jack Baker (M.EERI,2004) and Curt Haselton (M.EERI,2014), have worked together for over a decade on research to support and advance the structural engineering profession. In 2014 they created the Haselton Baker Risk Group to meet the needs of cutting-edge engineering design professionals.

Haselton Baker Risk Group enables engineers to quickly implement advanced design and assessment methods into practice. As the first software tool from HB-Risk, the Seismic Performance Prediction Program (SP3) implements the FEMA P-58 (ATC-58) analysis method, distilling years of research into a user-friendly tool enabling performance-based design methods (and advanced building-specific risk assessments) never before broadly feasible in a design office. SP3 supports both new design and advanced building-specific risk assessments.

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Learning from Earthquakes

Virtual clearinghouse established for recent Idaho earthquake


Idaho Virtual Clearinghouse:
EERI partnered with the Idaho Geological Survey and Idaho Office of Emergency Management to establish a virtual earthquake clearinghouse website for the M6.5 March 31, 2020 Stanley, Idaho earthquake. Resources on the site include photos from aerial reconnaissance, an animation of the earthquake aftershocks, and remote sensing products.

Earthquake Occurrence in Southeast Idaho Fact Sheet:
EERI partnered with the Idaho Geological Survey and Idaho Office of Emergency Management to develop the Earthquake Occurrence in Southeast Idaho Fact Sheet. The Fact sheet is being used by the state for public outreach and shows how the M6.5 March 31, 2020 Stanley, Idaho earthquake fits into the tectonic setting in Idaho.

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Student Leadership Council

Highlights from the 17th Annual Seismic Design Competition

2020 04 15 SDC CSIPhoto credit: Computer and Structures, Inc.

Contributed by Jenna Williams (M.EERI,2017), Lead SDC Chair 

Over 400 undergraduate students participated in the 17th annual Seismic Design Competition (SDC) in San Diego, California this March, 2020. Forty-six undergraduate SDC teams from Canada, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Romania, Turkey, Ecuador and across the United States traveled to compete for the title of SDC champions. The main objective of the competition was to build a scale five-foot-tall balsa wood structure that would be able to withstand two earthquake simulations on a shake table. The SDC teams were judged on their structure’s architecture, a poster, a presentation, and the accuracy of their predictions of the roof displacement and acceleration. This year’s design problem challenged teams to build an L-shaped floor plan for the bottom 18 inches of their structure—an attempt to introduce students to torsion design. Additionally, structures were subjected to a new ground motion that ended in an aggressive and destructive “aftershock” pulse. The torsion and aftershock lessons proved successful when twenty-three out of the forty-six structures were deemed collapsed after shake day.

Perhaps the most inspiring part of the week was witnessing the unwavering support for a one-student team from Lehigh University. Lehigh University’s student representative arrived at the competition to find his structure was damaged in shipping beyond quick repairs that he, alone, could accomplish. However, students from the University of California at Berkeley, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, and Helwan University raced against the clock to help the Lehigh University student complete his structure in time for preliminary judging. Upon competition of the structure, the students lifted the Lehigh University student onto their shoulders and chanted words of encouragement. Watching the students create quick camaraderie was inspiring for the competition and for the future of the earthquake engineering industry.

The 2020 SDC champions were the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca in 1st place, followed by the California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo in 2nd place, and the University of British Columbia in 3rd place. Not only were the SDC champions celebrating their victories, but many teams also received recognition in the special awards category: the Architecture Award to Virginia Tech, the Best Seismic Performance Award to California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, the Edgar Popov Award for Structural Innovation to the University of British Columbia, the Communication Award to the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, and the Kinemetrics Award for Spirit of the Competition to Lehigh University.

As well as attending the competition, students participated in a variety of earthquake engineering-related activities. This year’s Post Earthquake Reconnaissance Workshop (PERW) gave students the opportunity to analyze the 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence. The School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI) workshop involved classroom outreach training with K’NEX activities that students could bring back to their local communities. In addition to interactive workshops, students attended a walking tour led by the Younger Members Committee to learn more about the structural engineering wonders in downtown San Diego.


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Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
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