Wilfred D. (Bill) Iwan, professor of civil engineering, emeritus, passed away on October 29. He was 85 years old.
Iwan received his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from Caltech, in 1957, 1958, and 1961, respectively. He joined the Caltech faculty in 1964, and remained at the Institute for the rest of his career. Iwan served as the executive officer for Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science from 1980–86, and became professor emeritus in 2004.
Iwan's research focused on fundamental areas of mechanics, including work to understand and characterize strong earthquake ground motion and the analysis and monitoring of the response of structural systems subjected to extreme events; he also was involved in the development of public policy regarding disasters.
His research achievements include the development of methods to represent complex nonlinear structures with simpler linear systems, the development of practical methods for earthquake-resistant design, and the development of simplified methods for the analysis of seismic isolation systems for critical equipment. In 1979, he proposed an earthquake early-warning system for urban regions.
Iwan was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1999 "for research on seismic performance of structures, and for leadership in earthquake hazard mitigation and improvement of public safety." He was a Distinguished Member and Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which awarded him the Nathan M. Newmark Medal (1997), the William H. Wisely Award (2006), and the Theodore von Kármán Medal (2013). In 2002, the California Earthquake Safety Foundation awarded him the 2002 Alfred E. Alquist Medal "for his lifetime of service to the profession of structural engineering and its application to the safety of the people of California and the world."
A full memorial story will follow at a later date.