Skip over navigation

Erik Vanmarcke Named Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has elected Professor Erik Vanmarcke to be a Distinguished Member of the ASCE at its board meeting in March 2013.  Prior to this year's election of 12 new Distinguished Members, only 626 other engineers in the 161-year history of ASCE have been so honored.

As quoted in the society's letter of notification:


For his pioneering contributions to probability and reliability applied to geotechnical, wind and earthquake engineering, for contributions to engineering education, and for his service to the profession.


Erik Vanmarcke, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE pioneered the application of probabilistic methods in geotechnical practice and his work in this area forms the basis for most probabilistic methods used in geotechnical practice today. His early work on earthquake risk analysis is now applied in the development of performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE). His book, Random Fields: Analysis and Synthesis (1983, MIT Press; second edition: 2010, World Scientific Publ.), remains the definitive work on the subject, extensively used by earthquake engineering researchers and practitioners as well as seismologists and geophysicists. Through his numerous publications, he has influenced both the research and practicing communities.

Professor Vanmarcke's contributions to the development of methods for the evaluation of safety of dams led  President Carter to appoint him to the Scientific Advisory Panel charged with the safety assessment of all federally-owned dams. He has served as consultant to the Tennessee Valley Authority, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Waterways Experiment Station, Federal Emergency Management Agency, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, U.S.. Bureau of Reclamation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, among others.

In recognition of his scientific and engineering achievements he has received numerous awards, including the Raymond C. Reese Research Prize (for his work on performance of structures under wind loads) and the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, both from ASCE, and he was awarded the 2012 Alfred M. Freudenthal Medal by ASCE's Engineering Mechanics Institute. Professor Vanmarcke has also been honored with foreign membership in the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of Belgium.

Professor Vanmarcke's contributions to the profession also include his work as an educator. He has supervised numerous graduate and undergraduate students, many of whom have risen to positions of prominence in civil engineering. His involvement in ASCE committees includes chairing the Committee on Risk Assessment of the Geo Institute and the Executive Committee of the Council on Disaster Risk Management. He has organized special sessions at major ASCE conferences and has held numerous workshops that have enabled him to disseminate his research findings as well as those of his colleagues."

See story on School of Engineering website.

See story on Princeton University news page.