Thirteen Ph.D. students associated with the three earthquake centers, MAE, PEER and MCEER, visited Greece as part of the 2005 Tri-Center Field Mission. Held July 5-13, 2005 and sponsored by NSF, this year’s trip highlighted the contrast between ancient and modern technologies. Participants toured earthquake resistant structures ranging in age from 1 year to over 3000 years, primarily in the cities of Athens and Patras.
The team, led by Professor Reginald DesRoches (MAE), included four MCEER SLC members: Swagata Banerjee (UC Irvine), Dan Fenz (University at Buffalo), Marlon Hill (Florida A&M) and SLC Chairman Mike Pollino (University at Buffalo).
The group’s first visit was to Patras, where they toured the recently completed Rion-Antirion Bridge and viewed the installation of massive fluid viscous dampers inside the bridge piers. They also visited the University of Patras laboratory facilities, listening to Professor Nicos Makris’ research on the seismic resistance of ancient Greek columns and viewing his efforts to reconstruct several columns in an ancient temple at Nemea. They also visited seismically isolated railway bridges over the Corinth Canal.
In Athens, the group gained an appreciation of ancient Greek technology through visits to the Parthenon, the National Archeological Museum and shake table facilities at the National Technical University. There, Professor Michael Constantinou, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, showed them the Mechanism of Antikithira, a 2100 year old mechanical computer. Later, Dr. Constantinou described the changes in building practice in typical urban reinforced concrete buildings from moment frame systems to shear wall type structures after a major earthquake struck Athens in 1999.
Students will prepare reports on the trip. More information and additional photos are available from the SLC website at http://mceer.buffalo.edu/SLC. The 2006 Field Mission is being planned by MCEER.
Submitted by Dan Fenz, University at Buffalo