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Past News Stories: 2011

Seminar to Explore Current Practice and Future Directions in Ground Motion Selection for Structural Analysis

Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. | 140 Ketter Hall

Jack W. Baker

Jack W. Baker

Use of recorded ground motions for structural analysis is a subject receiving much attention by both practitioners and researchers in the civil engineering community. On December 1, Jack W. Baker, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, will deliver a seminar on "Current Practice and Future Directions in Ground Motion Selection for Structural Analysis." In his presentation, Dr. Baker will illustrate challenges and opportunities for engineering use of ground motions. Typical selection procedures and uses of ground motions for analysis will be described. Two tools used in analysis—the Uniform Hazard Spectrum and the newer Conditional Mean Spectrum—will be described. The seminar, which will also be available as a webcast, is sponsored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). It is organized by the Student Chapter of EERI at UB, CSEE-Graduate Student Association, MCEER and the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE).

MCEER Hosts Visit by Chinese Ministry of Transport Delegation

Delegates from the Ministry of Transport, People’s Republic of China

Delegates from the Ministry of Transport, People’s Republic of China, learned about MCEER’s research on bridges, highways and transportation systems engineering and management.

About 20 delegates from the Ministry of Transport, People’s Republic of China, visited MCEER on November 10, 2011 to learn about the Center’s programs in highway and transportation research. George C. Lee, Samuel P. Capen of Professor of Engineering, Adel Sadek, Associate Professor, and Qian Wang, Assistant Professor, all from the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo (UB) hosted the visit on behalf of MCEER.

The Chinese delegates are visiting five U.S. cities and several project sites during their 21-day training program. They are engaged in the field of highway disaster prevention and mitigation in different provinces in China. While at MCEER, they heard presentations on the Center’s “Research on Highways and Bridges,” by George Lee, and “Research on Transportation Systems Engineering/Management,” by Adel Sadek. They concluded their visit with a tour of the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) at UB.

Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series: Liquefaction Hazard to Bridge Foundations

Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

T. Leslie Youd

T. Leslie Youd

Liquefaction-induced ground failure has been a major cause of damage to bridges during past earthquakes. In this semester's final installment of the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series, T. Leslie Youd, Ph.D. (Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Brigham Young University) will give a presentation titled “Liquefaction Hazard to Bridge Foundations," in which he will present several case histories to illustrate past damage, as well as a method for estimating lateral spread displacements. Check back soon for a new schedule of speakers for this Spring's CIE 579 course.

Oklahoma Experiences Rare 5.6M Earthquake

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook Oklahoma on November 5, 2011 at 10:53 p.m. EST, making the event the largest earthquake ever recorded in the state. No serious injuries were reported, but the quake did cause minor damage to roads and buildings.1 According to the U.S. Geological Survey2, the epicenter was four miles east of Sparks, which is about 44 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. Several smaller earthquakes were recorded earlier in the day, including a magnitude 4.7 earthquake.3

Four from UB/MCEER to Present at International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (SMiRT 21)

Four MCEER-funded representatives of UB’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE) will present papers at the 21st International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (SMiRT), a conference aimed at addressing the challenges facing sustained nuclear power generation, in New Delhi, India on November 6-11, 2011.

Presenters include Andrew Whittaker, Professor and Chair, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE) and three graduate students from CSEE: Joshua Rocks, Master’s Student; Dhiman Basu, Ph.D. Candidate; and Chandrakanth Bolisetti, Ph.D. Candidate. Read More

Michel Bruneau Wins 2012 AISC T.R. Higgins Award

Michel Bruneau

Michel Bruneau

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) has selected Michel Bruneau, Professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo and former Director and Deputy Director of MCEER, as the recipient of the prestigious 2012 T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award. Dr. Bruneau is being honored for his papers on steel plate shear wall design published in AISC’s Engineering Journal and the proceedings of the Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering.

The AISC T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award is presented annually by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and recognizes an outstanding lecturer and author whose technical paper(s) are considered an outstanding contribution to the engineering literature on fabricated structural steel. The award, which includes a $15,000 prize, will be presented at the 2012 NASCC: The Steel Conference at the Gaylord Texan Convention Center in Dallas, April 18-21. Read More

UB LESAM/MCEER Team Assesses Damage to Communities in NYS Following Tropical Storm Irene

Hurricane Irene

A structure in Prattsville, NY was severely damaged by floodwaters following Tropical Storm Irene.

A team of UB LESAM/MCEER researchers visited a number of communities within the Schoharie Creek watershed west of the Catskill Mountains in New York State, including the hard hit town of Prattsville, on September 10, 2011. The team collected GPS locations and took digital photographs to assess the extent of the damage caused by heavy flooding following Tropical Storm Irene. Besides the field site observations, the LESAM/MCEER team is analyzing the hydrological data, maximum extent of the flood inundation using aerial imagery, LiDAR elevation data, hydrologic modeling approaches and social media responses. Read More

Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series: Case Studies in Bridge Engineering as Part of Emergency Response

Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

Barton J. Newton

Barton J. Newton

The next installment of the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series will host Barton J. Newton, P.E. (State Bridge Engineer, California Department of Transportation). In his presentation titled “Case Studies in Bridge Engineering as Part of Emergency Response,” Barton will discuss three different case studies regarding the engineering principles and solutions utilized as part of restoring function and service to the California State Transportation system.

Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series: Load and Resistance Factor Rating

Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

Dennis Mertz

Dennis R. Mertz

Dennis R. Mertz, Ph.D., P.E. (Director, Center for Innovative Bridge Engineering, University of Delaware) will serve as Monday’s guest in the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series. Prof. Mertz provides novice and experienced bridge engineers with the fundamental knowledge to apply the load-and-resistance factor-rating (LRFR) provisions of the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Evaluation to highway-bridge ratings. This presentation will introduce participants to applications of these LRFR provisions that can be used to enhance bridge safety. The steps necessary to ensure successful transition to this new state-of-the-art highway-bridge rating methodology will be discussed.

7.2M Earthquake Strikes Eastern Turkey

The United States Geological Survey reported that an 7.2M earthquake struck in the Van Province of Turkey on Sunday, October 23, 2011, not far from the border with Iran, at at 6:41 a.m. EDT (10:41 GMT). No final death toll has been released yet, as search and rescue efforts continue. Numerous aftershocks have been reported. Nearly 1,000 buildings have been destroyed in the disaster zone, with the town of Ercis the worst hit.¹

Turkey lies in one of the world's most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines. In 1999, two earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 7 struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18,000 people. More recently, a magnitude 6 quake in March 2010 killed 51 people in eastern Turkey, while in 2003, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake killed 177 people in the southeastern city of Bingol.²

Hurricane Irene Claims at Least 45 Lives; Causes Billions in Damage

Hurricane Irene satellite image

A satellite image of Hurricane Irene at 8:32 a.m. EDT on Aug. 28, 2011, just 28 minutes before Irene's landfall in New York City. (Source: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

Millions continue to be faced with power outages and major flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. The storm came ashore on the Outer Banks in North Carolina as a Category 1 on August 27, 2011, with winds reaching up to 90 miles per hour,1 and was later downgraded to a tropical storm as it continued its path along the East Coast. The storm resulted in at least 45 casualties, and experts estimated total damages ranging from $5 to $7 billion.2

Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series: Protecting Against Scour, the #1 Cause of Bridge Failure

Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

Kornel Kerenyi

Kornel Kerenyi

In this Monday's installment of the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series, Kornel Kerenyi, Ph.D. (Senior Research Hydraulic Engineer Office of Infrastructure R&D Federal Highway Administration) will give a presentation titled “Protecting Against Scour, the #1 Cause of Bridge Failure.” Kerenyi will explain the mechanisms that cause scour and illustrate application of the new HEC-18 Pier Scour Equation for coarse bed material.

5.8M Earthquake Strikes Virginia; "Moderate but Significant"

MCEER Director Andre Filiatrault briefs the media after a 5.8M earthquake struck in Virginia on August 23, 2011.

MCEER Director Andre Filiatrault briefs the media after a 5.8M earthquake struck in Virginia on August 23, 2011.

August 23, 2011 – A 5.8M earthquake struck about 5 miles southwest of Mineral, Virginia (38 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia) on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 1:51 p.m., affecting cities all along the eastern seaboard, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.1

Buildings throughout major metropolitan centers in the northeast were evacuated after the earthquake, and tremors were felt as far north as Concord, NH, and as far south as Hampstead, NC, according to The New York Times.2

Andre Filiatrault, PhD, Director of the University at Buffalo's MCEER (Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research), was available to discuss the earthquake with media in the UB Structural Earthquake Engineering and Simulation Laboratory on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus on Tuesday afternoon.

"The earthquake was moderate but significant because we haven't had very many earthquakes of this magnitude in the eastern United States or eastern Canada," Filiatrault said.

Because of this, the data set from the earthquake may be useful in generating improved seismic maps, which are used in building codes to design better buildings, he said.

Furthermore, Filiatrault explained that an East Coast earthquake is more widely felt than a West Coast earthquake due to the characteristics of the ground, which is more solid and contains a fewer number of seismic faults.

“The Earth's crust in eastern North America is very different from what you will find, for example, in California,” he said. “As a result of that, the waves travel much further.”

Related News and Links

Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker to Focus on Structural Engineering Contributions to Improving the Seismic Resilience of Transportation Systems

Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

Stephen A. Mahin

Stephen A. Mahin

To protect lives, transportation structures are designed to minimize the probability of collapse in the event of a rare and unusually severe earthquake. Transportation systems also provide an essential means of emergency response to a damaged region. In Monday’s Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series, Stephen A. Mahin, (Byron and Elvira Nishkian Professor of Structural Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, and Director, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center) will give a presentation highlighting recent research conducted by the speaker and his colleagues related to improving the seismic resilience of bridges and transportation networks. The primary focus will be on structural solutions, but will also include topics related to seismic and tsunami hazards, transportation network design, and structural analysis.

Buckle to Speak on Seismic Isolation Technology for Highway Bridges in Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series

Monday, Oct. 10, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

Ian Buckle

Ian Buckle

Seismic isolation is recognized worldwide as a rational approach to the seismic design of highway bridges with many performance related benefits that include substantially reduced column and foundation forces. Consequently, these bridges are not expected to be damaged, even in a large earthquake, and should be fully functional following the Design Earthquake. On Monday, the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series will host Ian Buckle, Ph.D. (Foundation Professor, Department Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Nevada Reno). In his lecture, Buckle will cover the principles of isolation, review applications to bridges, discuss available isolation hardware, and develop a design example that illustrates the application of this technology.

Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker to Explore Structural Health Monitoring and Diagnostic Technology

Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

Maria Feng

Maria Feng

American’s quality of life and prosperity rely on elaborate transportation infrastructure systems. Despite the urgent need for restoration of these systems due to aging and other factors, these massive systems must be renewed in a cost-effective and resource-sustainable manner. In Monday’s installment of the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series, Maria Q. Feng (Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of California, Irvine) will give a presentation on “Structural Health Monitoring and Diagnostic Technology” in which she will explore the potential of sensor-based structural health monitoring in the objective and quantitative assessment of bridge structural integrity, which would enable priorities and targets to be set for timely, cost-effective repairs and rehabilitation.

Topic on Recent Advances in Steel Fabrication Will Open this Semester’s Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series

Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

Ronald D. Medlock

Ronald D. Medlock

The Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series opens the Fall 2011 semester with the first of three talks dedicated to high performance materials—including steel, concrete and polymers. Ronald D. Medlock (VP, Technical Services, High Steel Structures, Inc.) will give a presentation on the "Recent Advances in Steel Fabrication" in which he will discuss advances in steel bridge fabrication that are improving structural performance and lowering costs. Mr. Medlock will also explain key elements of the fabrication process that help achieve projects that are durable, cost-effective, and accomplished on schedule. Other themes in the speaker series this semester include advanced technologies, probability-based design, foundation engineering and more.

Bridge Engineering Speaker Series Returns in Fall 2011 with New Topics

UB’s Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series returns this semester with new topics on high performance materials, advanced technologies, foundation engineering and more. Held on Mondays at 5:00 p.m. on the North Campus, the sessions in the speaker series are part of a graduate-level class (CIE 580: Emerging Technologies in Bridge Engineering) at UB. The course may be taken remotely using UB’s EngiNet distance learning program (Sign up at www.eng.buffalo.edu/EngiNet). Professional development credit is also available for individual lectures.

This year’s speakers include Ian G. Buckle (University of Nevada, Reno), Stephen Mahin, (University of California, Berkeley) and T. Les Youd (Brigham Young University), among others. The series was established in November 2009 by UB in collaboration with AASHTO’s Subcommittee on Bridges & Structures, and with the support of the Federal Highway Administration.

Symposium on Remote Sensing for Disaster Response to Provide a Forum for Discussion of Future Directions

Symposium on Remote Sensing for Disaster Response

The Symposium on Remote Sensing for Disaster Response will take place on September 14, 2011 at Stanford University.

Information technology experts, industry practitioners and researchers will meet with emergency management specialists to discuss future directions in remote sensing technology and rapid information extraction for disaster response at the Symposium on Remote Sensing for Disaster Response: Future Direction of Remote Sensing Technology in Rapid Information Extraction for Disaster Response. The symposium will be held from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm on September 14, 2011 in the Huang Engineering Center at Stanford University. It is organized by the John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center, Stanford University, and is co-sponsored by Risk Management Solutions (RMS), ImageCat Inc., US Geological Survey (USGS), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), MCEER and Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER). More

Rep. Hochul and UB President Tripathi tour MCEER/SEESL Facility

Rep. Kathy Hochul

Representative Kathy Hochul and UB President Satish Tripathi tour MCEER and the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory on June 28, 2011.

Rep. Kathleen Hochul (D NY-26), together with University at Buffalo (UB) President Satish Tripathi, visited MCEER and the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) on June 28, 2011 as part of a tour of the UB campus.

Rep. Hochul said, "In light of the news this past week that we have the green light for UB 2020, I wanted to come and lend my support to marshal this to the next phase and be sure that we can realize this vision for our community and the university within five years."

MCEER and the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering lead the campus-wide Extreme Events Strategic Strength, one of eight academic strategic strengths identified as future growth areas in the UB 2020 plan. Its multidisciplinary efforts are concentrated on enhancing the resilience of critical facilities and lifelines, and protecting people, property, and the economy from acts of terrorism and extreme hazards of nature.

Related Links

Quake Summit 2011 Concludes; Over 325 Attend the NEES-MCEER Annual Meeting

Quake Summit 2011 Logo: NEES and MCEER Annual MeetingOver 325 earthquake engineers, hazards researchers, students and educators gathered in Buffalo, New York, to discuss resilience against earthquakes and multiple hazards at Quake Summit 2011 - Earthquake & Multi-Hazards Resilience: Progress and Challenges. The meeting was a combination of the annual meetings of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) and MCEER (formerly the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research). More details about the meeting will be available soon from the Quake Summit 2011 website.

Fourth UniQ-UB/MCEER Seminar Offers New Programs and Expanded Course Offerings

Andre Filiatrault (center) reviews some classroom content with a small group of seminar participants.

Andre Filiatrault (center) reviews some classroom content with a small group of seminar participants.

Quisqueya University (UniQ) and University at Buffalo/MCEER have planned the fourth installment of professional development seminars in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The seminar will be held on August 1-23, 2011 to provide training to Haitian engineers, architects and students in the principles of earthquake engineering and seismic design.

The August seminar will feature three new programs:

In addition, the advanced programs on seismic load calculations, seismic design of reinforced concrete, confined masonry and wood structures, and properties and quality control of materials for the construction of earthquake-resistant reinforced concrete and masonry structures held in previous seminars have been expanded to provide more class time and illustrative examples. Visit the website for more information.

MCEER/UB Investigator Joins PEER/EERI/GEER Team to Survey the Aftermath of the Tohoku, Japan Earthquake

map of 8.9M earthquake off coast of Honshu, Japan

MCEER investigator Gilberto Mosqueda, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, is part of the PEER/EERI/GEER team investigating the aftermath of the 9-magnitude Tohoku, Japan earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011. The US team will be meeting with Japanese colleagues to learn more about their reconnaissance efforts and identify potential areas of future research collaboration. Prof. Mosqueda will focus on hospitals and nonstructural components. The team will arrive in Japan on April 10 and will be hosted by several Japanese organizations, including the Science Council of Japan (SCJ), Japan Association for Earthquake Engineering (JAEE), and Center for Urban Earthquake Engineering (CUEE).

Related Links

UB/MCEER Investigator Reports Damage to Eccentrically Braced Frames following the 2011 Christchurch New Zealand Earthquake

Close up of fractured bottom flange EBF link (undesirable behavior)

Close up of fractured bottom flange EBF link (undesirable behavior)

Global view of fractured Eccentrically Braced Frame (EBF)

Global view of fractured Eccentrically Braced Frame (EBF)

Michel Bruneau, Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, was in New Zealand on behalf of MCEER to assess the damage caused by the February 21, 2011 (6:51 p.m. EST; 23:51 UTC) earthquake that struck near the city center of Christchurch. Preliminary findings include valuable observations on the performance of steel eccentrically braced frame (EBF) structures. This is the first time that the level of excitation of an earthquake was at least as large as or has exceeded the design basis in an area where steel eccentrically braced frames were used. Many have performed very well, but a notable exception is shown in the accompanying photos, where undesirable fractures developed in the links of EBF frames.

Field observations are discussed in a preliminary paper that focuses on the performance of selected steel structures. Concentrically braced frames, eccentrically braced frames, moment resisting frames, and industrial storage racks are of particular interest.

Third UniQ-UB/MCEER Seminar Trains Haitian Engineers in Earthquake Engineering and Seismic Design

Quisqueya University (UniQ) and University at Buffalo/MCEER held the third installment of professional development seminars in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on March 12-22, 2011 to provide training to Haitian engineers, architects and students in the principles of earthquake engineering and seismic design.

Over 300 participants enrolled in one or more of five advanced programs that were designed to offer in-depth instruction on seismic design adapted to the construction practices in Haiti. Topics included seismic load calculations, seismic design of reinforced concrete, confined masonry and wood structures, as well as properties and quality control of materials for the construction of earthquake-resistant reinforced concrete and masonry structures. The programs featured both classroom and hands on instruction. Read More

Guest Lecturer to Present on the Evolution of Seismic Design to Achieve High Seismic Performance

Wednesday, April 27 at 2:30 p.m. | 140 Ketter Hall

Modern seismic design codes have promoted the concept of ductile structural systems over the past few decades to achieve cost-effective designs that ensure a significantly enhanced level of seismic safety. Guest lecturer Constantin Christopoulos, Ph.D., P.Eng. (Associate Professor - University of Toronto, Canada) will present “Evolving Seismic Design from Ensuring Life Safety to Achieving High Seismic Performance.” Christopoulos will discuss the performance of the most ductile steel structures used in North America. He will talk about the mechanics of the systems, experimental and numerical development work, response of buildings incorporating these systems, and designs strategies/codification.

For additional information on this topic, please visit MCEER Information Service’s Literature Searches. The seminar is sponsored by the Student Chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) at UB, CSEE-Graduate Student Association, MCEER and the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE).

NEES and MCEER Team Up for Quake Summit 2011 - Joint Annual Meeting

Registration is now open for Quake Summit 2011 - Earthquake & Multi-Hazards Resilience: Progress and Challenges, which will be held June 9-11, 2011 in Buffalo, NY. The meeting, a combination of the annual meetings of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) and MCEER (formerly the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research), will feature nearly 100 presentations on the latest research in earthquake engineering and multi-hazards resilience designed to engage researchers, students and practitioners. The technical program opens with an opening plenary session on Thursday evening, June 9, that will examine the Christchurch, New Zealand Earthquake of February 21, 2011, and the Offshore Honshu Japan Earthquake & Tsunami of March 11, 2011. In addition to as many as 20 technical sessions, a student symposium and poster session will be hosted for graduate students, and a practitioner symposium will concentrate on changes to the seismic provisions of ASCE/SEI 7-10. The meeting will culminate with an optional tour of the test facilities at Taylor Devices Inc. and UB/MCEER’s Experimental Campus for Large Infrastructure Protection, Sustainability and Enhancement – ECLIPSE Campus.

Bridge Preservation and Bridge Inspection Policy Featured Topics in Monday’s Bridge Engineering Speaker Series

Monday, April 25, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

The Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series will host two new speakers on Monday. Bruce Johnson, P.E., S.E. (State Bridge Engineer, Oregon DOT) will present “Challenges and Opportunities for Bridge Preservation," in which he will discuss the efforts of AASHTO, FHWA, academia and industry to establish guidelines and tools to help preserve the nation’s bridges with limited resources. Thomas D. Everett, P.E. (Principal Bridge Engineer, Office of Bridge Technology - Federal Highway Administration) will follow with a presentation on “Public Policy on Bridge Inspection and Management.” Following the collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River more than 30 years ago, the National Bridge Inspection Program began to establish national standards for the proper safety inspection of bridges. Events that have shaped public policy since the inception of the program will be discussed along with the evolution of national bridge management policies.

2011 EERI Distinguished Lecturer to Present on the Dynamics of Urban
Earthquake Risk

Friday, April 22 at 11:00 a.m. | 140 Ketter Hall

Are our cities becoming safer, due to advances in earthquake engineering? Or is risk growing as a result of societal factors such as population expansion and urban development? In order to understand the dynamics of seismic risk, it is necessary to examine the multiplicity of factors influencing the likelihood of earthquake losses and how these factors change over time. In her presentation titled “Dynamics of Urban Earthquake Risk," Stephanie E. Chang, (Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada) former MCEER investigator and the 2011 EERI Distinguished Lecturer, will explore the question of how urban seismic risk is changing over time.

For more information on this topic, visit MCEER Information Service’s Literature Searches. The seminar is sponsored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). It is organized by the Student Chapter of EERI at UB, CSEE-Graduate Student Association, MCEER and the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE).

Two MCEER Investigators Receive ASCE Awards

Andrei Reinhorn and Michel Bruneau recognized for outstanding contributions to the field
Two prominent MCEER investigators and professors in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, have been recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for their contributions to the field of structural and earthquake engineering.

Andrei ReinhornAndrei M. Reinhorn, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, Clifford C. Furnas Professor of Structural Engineering, has been awarded the 2011 Nathan M. Newmark Medal. The national medal is given to an ASCE member who, through contributions in structural mechanics, has substantially strengthened the scientific base of structural engineering; these contributions having been made in the form of papers or other written presentations. Dr. Reinhorn is cited for his contributions to the development of experimental and analytical methods in structural dynamics and in design of response-control systems for earthquake resistant buildings, as well as his contributions to quantify earthquake resilient communities. Andrei Reinhorn joins George C. Lee (2000) and Tsu T. Soong (2002) as the third faculty member to receive this prestigious medal in the past 10 years.

Michel BruneauMichel Bruneau, Ph.D., P.Eng., F.ASCE, Professor, and former MCEER Director, has received the 2011 George Winter award. Dr. Bruneau is recognized for his contributions to structural engineering and seismic hazard mitigation, and to creative fictional literature which succeeds in telling the hazard mitigation story to a broader audience. The award, named for Dr. George Winter, a world renowned teacher and researcher at Cornell University who died in 1982, recognizes the achievements of an active structural engineering researcher, educator or practitioner who also demonstrates a commitment to the social or artistic needs of the community through work performed in an area not directly related to engineering or science.

Bridge Engineering Speaker Series Returns for Third Semester with New Topics

UB’s Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series returns this semester with new topics on project development, public policy, case studies and more. Held on Mondays from 5 to 7:00 pm, the sessions in the speaker series are part of a graduate-level class (CIE 579: Bridge and Highway Infrastructure Management and Public Policy) at UB and can also be taken for professional development credit.

Past speakers include George A. Christian, Jr. (New York State Department of Transportation), W. Phillip Yen (Federal Highway Administration), John Kulicki (Modjeski & Masters, Inc.), among others. The series was established in November 2009 by UB in collaboration with AASHTO’s Subcommittee on Bridges & Structures, and with the support of the Federal Highway Administration.

Bridge Engineering Experts to Discuss Quality Control and Assurance

Monday, April 11, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

In response to the 2007 catastrophic failure of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis and subsequent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, AASHTO conducted a synthesis of current state departments of transportation practices for quality control and assurance (QC/QA) in the area of bridge design and plan review. In Monday's installment of the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series, Hossein Ghara (Bridge Design Administrator, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development) will present "QC/QA of Design Plans, a Scan of DOT Practices." Ghara will describe the scanning team’s observations and discuss the common practices that were found to be essential in successful QC/QA programs. Tom Dowd (Manager, Construction Inspection and Management, Arora and Associates, P.C.) will follow with a presentation on "QC/QA in Construction." Dowd will address the role of inspection in ensuring quality on a construction project from the perspective of the owner. He will discuss safety of the personnel on the site and the motorists who drive through the project. He will also address the need for knowledgeable and experienced inspection and materials testing personnel, to ensure that the completed project conforms to the contract documents, and that it serves its intended purpose for many years.

UB Researchers to Present Findings on Infrastructure Damage from the September 2010 and February 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand Earthquakes

Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. | 140 Ketter Hall

On September 3, 2010, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand. The epicenter was located approximately 30 miles west of the city of Christchurch, close to the town of Darfield. Six months later, on February 21, 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the town of Lyttelton, approximately 6 miles southeast of Christchurch. Although smaller in magnitude, the February 2011 event resulted in a tragic disaster of more severe consequence than the earlier September 2010 one, with earthquake demands exceeding the design spectra specified by the New Zealand standard in many cases. Following the earthquakes, Michel Bruneau (Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering) and Myrto Anagnostopoulou (UB-SEESL Structural and Test Engineer, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering), visited the Christchurch area to survey the damage. In Thursday's seminar, Bruneau and Anagnostopoulou will discuss their preliminary findings on the structural behavior of bridges and steel buildings in New Zealand in the aftermath of both earthquakes. For additional information on this topic, please visit MCEER Information Service’s Literature Searches. The seminar is sponsored by the Student Chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) at UB, CSEE-Graduate Student Association, MCEER and the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE).

9.0M Earthquake Strikes off the Coast of Tohoku, Japan; Tsunami Warning Extends Across the Pacific to North & South America

map of 8.9M earthquake off coast of Honshu, Japan

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred near the east coast of Tohoku, Japan, on Friday, March 11, 2011, at 12:46 a.m. EST (5:46 UTC), making it the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan on record.

According to USGS3, the earthquake’s epicenter was offshore 231 miles (373 km) away from Tokyo, at a depth of 15.2 miles (24.4 km), and occurred two days after a series of large foreshocks that struck 24.8 miles (40 km) away from the March 11 earthquake. The earthquake occurred as a result of thrust faulting on or near the subduction zone interface plate boundary between the Pacific and North America plates.3

Media briefing at University at Buffalo

MCEER/UB experts participated in a media briefing on March 11, 2011, in response to the 8.9M earthquake off the coast of Japan, which occurred earlier in the day.

MCEER and UB’s Office of Communications organized a briefing for members of the media on March 11 in which various experts were gathered to answer questions and provide information about the disaster. MCEER Investigators included Gilberto Mosqueda (Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering), Chris Renschler (Associate Professor, Department of Geography), and Greg Valentine (Professor, Department of Geology and Director, Center for Geohazards Studies). Stephen Dunnett (Vice Provost for International Education) and Keiko Ogata (Japanese native and Ph.D. student in the Department of English) also spoke at the briefing. More

‘Legal Responsibilities of Engineers’ and ‘Sustainable Bridges that Capture Community Spirit’ Both Topics in Monday’s Bridge Engineering Speaker Series

Monday, March 28, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

The Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series returns this Monday, March 28, with two new speakers. Janice A. McLachlan, Esq. (Director, Office of Legal Services, New York State Department of Transportation) will present “Laws, Rules, Regulations and Ethics,” in which she will discuss several legal topics associated with bridge engineering and the legal roles and responsibilities of engineers. Ms. McLachlan will also outline negligence case law in the areas of bridge and highway design and planning, as well as highlight statutes and regulations in New York regarding engineers’ professional seals and signatures, personal liability of NYSDOT employees and ethics. Following McLachlan’s talk, “Sustainable Bridges that Capture Community Spirit” will be presented by Linda Figg (President/CEO/Director of Bridge Art for FIGG). Through several case studies, including the new I - 35W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this presentation will demonstrate how successful context sensitive solutions have been incorporated into bridges for communities across the United States. Each of these bridges reflects the spirit of the community while embracing the landscape where the bridge will be built.

Seminar to Explore Dubai’s Nakheel Tower and the Future of Tall Building Design

Friday, March 25, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.  |  140 Ketter Hall, North Campus, UB

The design of the Nakheel Harbor & Tower in Dubai, UAE, exemplifies the possibilities in building for future urban landscapes. In all, the project encompasses more than 270 hectares and includes the Nakheel Tower that reaches over 1 kilometer in height. The tower is an efficient LEED-rated and sustainable building, which combines offices, luxury residential and serviced luxury apartments, loft style apartments, super star sky hotel, experience center, and observation facilities along with special sky function space—creating a vertical community of over 15,000 people. In Friday’s seminar, Ahmad Rahimian, Ph.D., PE, SE, F.ASCE, Chief Executive of WSP Cantor Seinuk, will explain how the Nakheel Tower’s structure and architectural form is the result of a convergence of influences which include the Arabic culture, desert environment, wind, light, redundancy, and not least of all gravity. He will discuss the lessons learned from the construction of the tower and the implications for future super-tall buildings of this magnitude. The seminar is sponsored by the Student Chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) at UB, CSEE-Graduate Student Association, MCEER and the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE).

Holmes to Present on Seismic Design and Retrofit of California Hospitals

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.  |  140 Ketter Hall, North Campus, UB

William T. Holmes, Principal and Structural Engineer, Rutherford & Chekene, will visit UB on Wednesday to speak about seismic design and hospitals in a presentation titled “An Update on California’s Program to Seismically Strengthen Hospitals.”

As a result of the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, the State of California took over control of construction of new hospitals in the state in 1972. Holmes will describe the regulations that the State of California adopted since this time to seismically strengthen hospitals. He will also discuss the implementation issues that were faced, including the use of HAZUS to estimate relative risk of the nonconforming buildings.

Mr. Holmes chairs the NEES Nonstructural Practice Committee, and Rutherford & Chekene is a longstanding partner in MCEER’s Strategic Partnerships Network. The lecture is sponsored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute-Friedman Family Visiting Professionals Program. It was organized by the Student Chapter of EERI at UB, CSEE-GSA, MCEER and the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.

Bridge Engineering Speaker Series: Performance Management

Monday, March 7, 2011 at 5 to 6:15 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

In Monday's Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series, Dave Nichols, P.E. (Director of Program Delivery, Missouri Department of Transportation-MoDOT) will present "Performance Management – JUST DO IT!" Nichols will describe MoDOT’s implementation of performance management, emphasizing its role as an organizational system that stretches from strategic objectives to individual performance plans. He will demonstrate how the most important issues to customers (tangible results) were used to build a performance measurement system that cascades throughout the organization. He will also emphasize the importance of executive buy-in to build accountability. Finally, he will share the results achieved by MoDOT in some key performance areas.

Texas and NY State DOT Officials to Participate in Monday's Bridge Engineering Speaker Series

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

The next installment of the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series will host David Hohmann, P.E. (Director, Bridge Division, Texas Department of Transportation) and Brian Kelly, P.E. (Acting Regional Director, New York State Department of Transportation, Region 6). Mr. Hohmann will present "Project Development and Design," in which he will cover bridge project development from the owner's perspective in Texas. He will provide a basic overview of taking a bridge project from inception to construction. Mr. Kelly will follow with a presentation on "Budgeting, Funding, Planning & MPOs," starting with a high-level overview of the history and sources of federal and state highway transportation funding with a focus on New York State. He will illustrate the use of these types of funding streams in the transportation planning and program management process, the involvement of Metropolitan Planning Organizations and individual asset management level budgeting decisions.

Project Management the Theme of Monday's Bridge Engineering Speaker Series

Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

The next installment of the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series will feature two talks on project management. Rick Land, P.E. (Chief Engineer and Deputy Director, Project Delivery, California State Department of Transportation) will present "Program Management ‐ Thinking Beyond the Bridge," in which he will provide an overview of Caltran’s Project Delivery Program and how bridge engineering fits into it. Mr. Land will explain how the management of that program can have a significant impact on the design, construction and maintenance of bridges in the transportation system. Sidonia Detmer (PMP Assistant Director, Project Management Office Virginia Department of Transportation) will present "Project Management: Challenges and Opportunities." Ms. Detmer will highlight best practices and share innovative approaches that the Virginia DOT has implemented to support project management. She will discuss the challenges and opportunities project managers confront as they deliver projects while balancing the quadruple constraints of scope, schedule, budget, and quality.

Speakers in Bridge Engineering: Roles and Responsibilities of TRB & AASHTO; Influence of Professional Associations in Policy Making

Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

Challenges facing the Federal Highway Administration, states and other agencies in performing their bridge and highway infrastructure management and public policy responsibilities are many. To successfully meet these challenges, these agencies utilize the talents and expertise of several different organizations. Harry Capers (Arora & Associates, PC) will speak about the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in the Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series on Monday, February 7. His presentation will specifically focus on the mission, roles, responsibilities and contributions made by the TRB and AASHTO in supporting bridge and highway owners’ successful performance of their mission. William Nickas (Managing Director, Transportation Systems Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute) will follow with a presentation on "Influence of Professional Associations in Policy Making." His talk will focus on key elements of how a balanced institute-based quality assurance system contributes to the overall body of knowledge within the industry.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Federal Highway Administration and State DOTs

Monday, Jan. 31, 2011 at 5 p.m. | Baldy Hall, 2nd Floor, Room 200G

D'Angelo
Lwin

The Bridge Engineering Speaker Series will feature two speakers on Monday, January 31: Myint Lwin (FHWA) and Dan D'Angelo (New York State DOT). In his presentation "Roles & Responsibilities of the Federal Highway Administration," Lwin will discuss the FHWA’s mission, jurisdiction, organization and programs established to provide the stewardship and oversight necessary to assure safety of the nation’s highway bridges. D'Angelo will present "Roles & Responsibilities of State DOTs," in which he will provide an overview of State DOT organizational structure and the collaborative working relationship with organizations such as the Federal Highway Administration and the non-profit American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. The presentation will also provide a detailed look at a State DOT’s roles and responsibilities by reviewing strategic goals, strategies used to achieve those goals and key performance indicators.

Bridge Engineering Speaker Series Returns for Third Semester with New Topics

UB’s Bridge Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series returns this semester with new topics on project development, public policy, case studies and more. Held on Mondays from 5 to 7:00 pm, the sessions in the speaker series are part of a graduate-level class (CIE 579: Bridge and Highway Infrastructure Management and Public Policy) at UB and can also be taken for professional development credit.

Past speakers include George A. Christian, Jr. (New York State Department of Transportation), W. Phillip Yen (Federal Highway Administration), John Kulicki (Modjeski & Masters, Inc.), among others. The series was established in November 2009 by UB in collaboration with AASHTO’s Subcommittee on Bridges & Structures, and with the support of the Federal Highway Administration.