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MCEER News & Outreach

MCEER Remembers Robert V. Whitman, 1928-2012

Robert V. Whitman

Robert V. Whitman

It is with sadness that we learned of the recent passing of Robert V. Whitman, a world renowned geotechnical engineer, who died on February 25, 2012. In the early years of MCEER's history when it was known as the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (NCEER), Bob served as the first Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC was formed to review national research needs and goals in earthquake engineering on an annual basis, and recommend a research agenda to NCEER management, its Research Oversight Committee and the National Science Foundation.

Bob also organized a series of workshops on NCEER's behalf together with Ricardo Dobry, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Geoff Martin, University of Southern California, to examine and update the ground motion parameters used in building codes. Three workshops were held between 1989 and 1992 to discuss the issues and develop specific code recommendations. The resulting new site categories and site coefficients were eventually incorporated into the 1994 and 1997 NEHRP Provisions and the 1997 UBC Provisions.1

Bob was a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1957 until his retirement in 1993. Read more about his professional accomplishments on the MIT or EERI websites.

1. Dobry, R., Borcherdt, R.D., Crouse, C.B., Idriss, I.M., Joyner, W.B., Martin, G.R., Power, M.S., Rinne, E.E. and Seed, R.B., (2000), "New Site Coefficients and Site Classification System Used in Recent Building Seismic Code Provisions," Earthquake Spectra 16, pp. 41-67.