ASCE Awards UB's Bruneau with the 2011 George Winter Award

Release Date: May 4, 2011

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Michel Bruneau of UB has been awarded an ASCE medal recognizing his contributions to structural engineering, seismic hazard mitigation and to creative, fictional literature that tells the hazard mitigation story.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has selected Michel Bruneau, PhD, professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering at the University at Buffalo and former director and deputy director of UB's MCEER, as the recipient of the 2011 George Winter Award.

Named for Winter, the world-renowned teacher and researcher at Cornell University who died in 1982, the award, according to ASCE, recognizes the achievements of an active structural engineering researcher, educator or practitioner who best typifies Winter's humanistic approach to his profession, an equal concern for matters technical and social, for art as well as science, for soul as well as intellect.

Bruneau is being recognized for his contributions to structural engineering and seismic hazard mitigation and to creative, fictional literature that tells the hazard mitigation story to a broader audience.

His research on steel plate shear walls has been groundbreaking and has largely shaped current, seismic design requirements for the system. His research on multi-hazard resistant bridge bents has resulted in the development of recommendations for design requirements for composite steel-concrete bridge bents for both seismic and blast loads.

Bruneau has led a large research program on the seismic evaluation and retrofit of steel truss bridges, which began with a comprehensive study of riveted bracing members often used in truss bridge piers. That research was extended with the development of a rocking approach for truss bridge pier retrofit and the development of an eccentrically braced frame with self-stabilizing links that are not subject to lateral torsional buckling and thus can be used in planar piers where lateral bracing is difficult to provide. This work has resulted in seismic design requirements that have been included in various codes and design specifications, including the 2010 Edition of the AISC Seismic Design Provisions.

In addition to the successes of his technical career, Bruneau's success as a fiction writer particularly suited him for the award. Bruneau has written two novels, one in English and one in French, both of which have received critical acclaim. In his latest novel, "Shaken Allegiances," he tells the story of an earthquake event in an unprepared city, and the resulting breakdown of societal systems and exposure of human behavior.

Bruneau came to MCEER and UB from the University of Ottawa, where he headed that institution's Ottawa-Carleton Earthquake Engineering Research Centre. He is author and co-author of numerous research articles and one book on earthquake-engineering principles, and he has participated in several reconnaissance visits to assess structural damage caused by earthquakes and other disasters, most recently to Christchurch, New Zealand, following the earthquake in February.

In 2001, Bruneau was part of an MCEER team that investigated structural damage to buildings near the World Trade Center towers after their collapse on Sept. 11.

He is a resident of Clarence.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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