Meet 5 Honorees for 2020 Huber Prizes

ASCE has honored the winners of the 2020 Walter L. Huber Research Prizes. They are—

Amir AghaKouchak, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, for his fundamental and innovative contributions to the study of hydrologic extremes, including droughts, coastal floods and compound natural hazards.

AghaKouchak is a professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Dept. of Earth System Science, University of California Irvine. His group developed the first multivariate multi-index drought monitoring approach, named Multivariate Standardized Drought Indicator (MSDI). Within a short period of time, many other multivariate indicators were developed by others based on the MSDI concept.

Michele Barbato, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI, M.ASCE, for his outstanding research in structural engineering and engineering mechanics, with emphasis on finite element response sensitivity analysis, seismic response steel-concrete composite systems, seismic pounding mitigation, performance-based hurricane engineering and hurricane hazard mitigation, nonstationary stochastic dynamics, multihazard performance-based engineering, and sustainable construction materials.

Barbato is a professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of California Davis. He is one of only a few researchers in the U.S. and worldwide who has significantly contributed to performance-based engineering in ore than one subfield.

Eleni Chatzi, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, for seminal contributions to enable the vision of self-aware infrastructure.

Chatzi is an associate professor and chair of Structural Mechanics & Monitoring for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ). On the basis of her work, she has established herself as one of the well-known experts in the area of structural health monitoring (SHM). The value of her research endeavors as well as the potential and impact of her work are attested to by the remarkable number of scientific grants she has led or currently leads.

John D. Fortner, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, for his pioneering work on the fundamentals and applications of environmental nanotechnology for advanced water treatment and remediation technologies.

Fortner is associate professor / director of undergraduate studies, Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University. He has developed a highly successful, innovative research program that focuses on fundamentally understanding and engineering interfacial processes and materials, typically in aqueous systems and at the nanoscale, as they relate to critical environmental-based challenges, with a focus on water treatment, remediation and sensing technologies.

Zhiyong J. Ren, Ph.D., EIT, A.M.ASCE, for producing groundbreaking technological advancements that are transforming water infrastructure for energy and resource recovery.

Ren is a professor and associate director for research at Andlinger Center for Energy & the Environment, Princeton University. His leadership in pilot-scale applications and entrepreneurial startups makes him a model of university-industry partnership. He is rare among researchers in that he not only performs important research on fundamentals but also puts work into practice, which is a “testament to his intellectual power and to his potential to have lasting impact on the field” (Bruce Rittmann).

The Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prizes are awarded to members of the Society, in any grade, for notable achievements in research related to civil engineering.  Preference is given to younger members (generally under 40 years of age) of early accomplishment who can be expected to continue fruitful careers in research.


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