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02/21/2002 08:00:00

Alquist Medal for earthquake safetyawarded to Caltech engineer

Wilfred Iwan, a professor of applied mechanics at the California Institute of Technology, has been named the 2002 recipient of the Alquist Medal by the California Earthquake Safety Foundation.

Iwan, who is also director of Caltech's Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory, was chosen for the award in honor of "his lifetime of service to the profession of structural engineering and its application to the safety of the people of California and the world," the foundation announced.

The award was presented February 7 in Long Beach at the annual meeting of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

Iwan, a Caltech alumnus, has been a member of the faculty since 1964. His research interests include the theory of vibrations, modeling of structural systems, the earthquake response of structures as well as nonstructural components such as piping, and offshore engineering for better seismic design.

In addition, Iwan has been involved in the development of national and international strategies for the deployment of strong-motion earthquake instruments, including real-time monitoring and early-warning systems. He introduced the concept of "drift demand spectrum" as a means of measuring the damage potential of strong earthquake ground motions, and has worked toward improving both seismic instrument design and the interpretation of data.

He has been involved with the California Seismic Safety Commission in developing a comprehensive earthquake risk-reduction plan for California.

Iwan has served on a number of commissions and boards, including the National Research Council's Board on Natural Disasters, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention of Japan's Evaluation Panel, the U.S. Department of Energy's New Production Reactors Senior External Events Review Group, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Review Panel for Seismic Criteria for Nuclear Plant Piping Systems, and the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering, of which he is a director and founding president.

He holds several patents, and is author or coauthor of numerous publications on earthquake engineering and seismology.

CONTACT: Robert Tindol (626) 395-3631