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MCEER was one of several co-sponsors of the Seventh National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (7NCEE), held July 21-25 at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston. For the first time in the history of this major conference, a northeastern U.S. location was selected, lending itself well to the conference theme, “Urban Earthquake Risk.” The event, which is held every four years under the sponsorship of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), attracted over 600 participants from around the world.
An extensive multidisciplinary program was developed, which included 67 technical sessions consisting of 450 papers, and complemented by special sessions and panel discussions. Student poster sessions allowed these new EERI members to present their work.
With the help of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section/ASCE, the Boston location offered participants unique opportunities to visit such impressive examples of civil engineering as the Central Arterial Project (otherwise known as the “Big Dig”) and the Hancock Tower, with its tuned mass damper system. Several attendees also made a field trip to the historic Weston Seismological Observatory in suburban Boston.
One of several highlights of the five-day conference was an evening debate by opposing panels of earthquake professionals, moderated by Michel Bruneau. The “Yes” and “No” teams parried dryly and convincingly to sway the audience to their respective sides on the issue: “It will take a devastating earthquake east of the Rockies to ensure that national earthquake-resistant requirements become mandatory.” The arguments and clever repartee offered by each side were equally provocative and entertaining; yet in the end, the audience returned a resounding vote for the “No” side. Participants agreed it was an enjoyable way to end the day.
Luncheon speaker Robert Ivey provided a fascinating review of an immense and controversial civil engineering liability case. At the conclusion, Professor Robert Whitman, MIT, was lauded for his tremendous contributions to the field of earthquake engineering.
MCEER extends its thanks to Susan Tubbesing, EERI Executive Director and the EERI dedicated staff, and recognizes the hard work and commitment of the 7NCEE Steering Committee: George C. Lee, Michel Bruneau, and Andrea Dargush (MCEER), Technical Co-Chairs Andrei Reinhorn (University at Buffalo) and Adam Rose, Penn State University; and Thomas O’Rourke (Cornell University), Iqbal Ahmed (GEI Consultants), and Malek Al-Khatib (Gannett Fleming, Inc.). Special thanks also go to all the session organizers, moderators and panelists who contributed to a most successful meeting.
Copies of the proceedings are available by contacting EERI at (510) 451-0905 or http://www.eeri.org.