March 15, 8:30 a.m.
University Club, Heritage room
Appetizers and drinks are served during a networking time prior to the lecture to allow you to meet our guest lecturer. Although registration is now closed, you are welcome to join us.
Learning from adversity: Shake, rattle and row
Enhancing Infrastructure Resilience Through Post-Disaster Reconnaissance
From the trial and error methods used by the builders of the great cathedrals in Europe to modern post-disaster reconnaissance and forensic analyses, there is a rich tradition in engineering of learning from failures and disasters. It has been said that engineers can learn more from a single failure than from a thousand successful projects.
This is particularly true with respect to the behavior of earth structures, due geological uncertainties and the difficulties in testing full-scale structures and in interpreting model test results, and to the performance of infrastructure systems, where emergent behavior may only become evident in the light of a disaster. Disasters over the past decade in the United States and abroad, including recent earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan and Hurricane Katrina (arguably the largest engineering failure in U.S. history) have graphically illustrated the need to continue to learn from disaster, wringing some long-term benefit out of adversity. These events have also emphasized the socio-economic aspects of resilience: engineering alone cannot mitigate the potential for disaster and, in fact, social and economic influences may in some cases make engineering solutions for mitigating risks untenable.
Edward Kavazanjian, a geotechnical engineering expert and professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, will discuss lessons learned from and engineering challenges in preparing for natural disasters.