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NEES Community Update - Jan 2014

Research News

In The Network

Outreach News

Upcoming Events & Deadlines


Feb 5
NEES/EERI Research-to-Practice Webinar: Seismic Stability of Levees Resting Atop Peat Soil

Registration Details

Feb 17
Deadline for NEES REU applications

Registration Details

Feb 22
Mini-Wave Tank at Discover Engineering Family Day, Washington DC

See Event Details

July 21-25
10CEE meeting, Anchorage, Alaska

See Event Details

Director's Letter

Best wishes for 2014 to all!

The year's first community update includes several stories on the network’s Education, Outreach and Training activities. (And, don’t forget that NEES information outreach takes place over social media, too, as you will discover below.)

Find out about the February 5 NEES/EERI Research-to-Practice webinar on the seismic stability of levees, an event that is free and open to all. Also, find out about upcoming tests at OSU that aim to protect coastlines from tsunami damage.

Read details about the 2014 NEES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Please do not forget to apply before February 17. We’re also happy to announce the 2013 REU “Best Project” winners. Be sure to read these fantastic student research papers. In addition, EOT Director Keith Adams provides a 2013 update on the NEES longitudinal study.

NEEScomm Director of Operations Dann Parker reports that over the holidays site testing progressed according to schedule. In the NEEScomm IT Division, Director Brian Rohler and his team have rolled out an incremental update to the NEEShub’s PEN application, which makes deleting experiments simpler and quicker. Stay tuned for information on the next big NEEShub release, in March.

Please be prompt in uploading your test data! Thanks to all for ensuring that testing at the NEES sites is completed by September 30, 2014.

On a sad note, we have heard the unfortunate news about the passing of a beloved earthquake-engineering colleague and friend, Bill Anderson. As a long-time leader in the Engineering Directorate at NSF, his twin goals were to advance engineering knowledge and to ensure the well-being of communities affected by disaster. He will be greatly missed. Read more about Dr. Anderson and his career at the EERI website.


Julio Ramirez
NEES Chief Officer and NEEScomm Center Director

Feb 5 webinar: Stability of levees atop peat soil

The seismic safety of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a national concern, given that the country’s two largest water diversion systems are located in the southern portion of the estuary. Even a moderate earthquake could cause disastrous breaches in the area’s aging, peat-based levees. Using field and centrifuge tests, NEES researcher Scott Brandenburg and his team have been studying the region’s seismic risks.

In the Feb. 5 NEES/EERI Research-to-Practice Webinar, "Seismic Stability of levees Resting Atop Peat Soil," the research team will discuss its findings. To register and to read more about the session, visit the NEEShub.


NEESinfo on Facebook reaches 500 followers

In a network milestone, the NEESinfo Facebook page has topped the 500 follower mark. Facebook provides a convenient way, via smartphone or computer, to keep current and chat about network news and events.

Who are NEES Facebook fans? Nearly half of our followers, 45%, are men between the ages of 25 and 34, and 26% of NEES followers are women.  So, all you engineers and engineering students on Facebook, zoom over to the NEESinfo page and make your presence known!

When waves meet forest

NEES research at Oregon State University seeks to discover if patches of forest can protect coastal infrastructure from tsunami damage. Project PI and Virginia Tech coastal engineer Jennifer Irish will be examining the role of mangroves and other vegetation as sustainable ways to mitigate tsunami destruction.

The project, called “tsunami runup and withdrawal dynamics on a sloping beach with discontinuous macro-roughness,” begins another round of tests next month at the NEES@Oregon State large flume wave tank.

In this series of experiments, the research team will employ OSU’s wave tank to study inundation in discontinuous forest, represented by circular patches of cylinder arrays (shown above). Measurements will be used to quantify mean flow and turbulence statistics, the spatial flow field between two forest patches, and runup speed. This short video provides a sample bird's eye view of the experiment.

The team, which includes Virginia Tech tsunami scientist Robert Weiss, hopes to develop a quantitative understanding of tsunami inundation in regions with coastal forests, enabling people to accurately predict tsunami damage.

NEES REU Best Project winners announced

Congratulations to NEES REU students Faith Silva, a junior at UC San Diego, and Karly Rager, a junior at Colorado State, who tied as winners of the 2013 Best REU Project Report. Rager’s REU experience was at NEES@Buffalo; Silva’s was NEES@UC San Diego. Both made outstanding contributions to the NEES-Soft project.

As winners, Rager and Silva have been invited to present their posters at the 10NCEE meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. Thirty-six students located at eight NEES equipment sites participated in the NEESreu program in summer 2013.

The winning papers are available online:

Karly Rager: NEES-Soft: Modeling Instrumentation for Hybrid Pseudo-dynamic Testing of Seismic Retrofits in Soft-Story Woodframe Buildings

Faith Silva: Instrumentation and Data Post-Processing for Soft-Story Woodframe Buildings for Full-Scale Testing

NEES longitudinal study update

A primary legacy of the NEES award is its successful preparation of future seismic engineers and researchers. The NEES longitudinal study tracks these students from their undergraduate years in the REU experience and, where possible, into their entry in the workforce.

As of 2013, with a 52% return on NEEScomm's request for information, data indicate that 773 graduate students have been trained through NEES-R research; of those, 333 have been PhDs. In conjunction with the NEES REU program, the number of undergraduate students reported participating in NEES-R research is 435. While extrapolating the total number would be difficult, it is safe to say that NEES has influenced well over 1200 students in pursuit of earthquake engineering education and research.

Click here for a chart showing where these students are today.

Thanks to NSF support, the guidance of NEES researchers, and the efforts of NEES network, the NEES award has produced an incredibly strong cohort of research engineers and practitioners.

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The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded organization of which the goals are part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program's (NEHRP) coordinated effort to address earthquake risk in the United States. The NEES mission to accelerate improvements in seismic design and performance by serving as an indispensable collaboratory for discovery and innovation. Cooperative Agreement CMMI-0927178

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