EERI Distinguished Lecture 2023


12:50 pm-1:40 pm
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Reitz Union Chamber
655 Reitz Union Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


Taking Measure: How Earthquake Reconnaissance Has Evolved Over Fifty Years
Speaker: Dr. Judith Mitrani-Reiser, Senior Research Scientist in the Materials and Structural
Systems Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Extreme events, such as tornados and fires, test buildings and infrastructure in ways and on a scale that cannot
be easily replicated in a laboratory. Therefore, actual disasters and failure events provide important opportunities
for scientists and engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and elsewhere to study
these events, and improve the safety of buildings, their occupants, and emergency responders. The lecture will
provide an overview of the disaster research conducted at NIST and informed by strategic plans developed by
national disaster statutory programs: Disaster and Failure Studies (DFS) Program, National Earthquake Hazard
Reduction Program (NEHRP), and National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). The lecture will
highlight how the metrology of disasters has evolved since the Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) Program was
established fifty years ago by the National Science Foundation, a NEHRP agency. The lecture will also provide
an overview of how the advancement of tools (e.g., interview/survey instruments, GIS, data management, etc.)
and technology (e.g., lidar, GPS, drones, etc.) in seismic reconnaissance missions has enabled scientists and
engineers to better quantify the physical and social impacts of earthquakes on communities. The lecture will
commemorate the multidisciplinary approach to learning from disasters, directly borne out of the LFE Program.
Bio: Dr. Judith Mitrani-Reiser is a Senior Research Scientist in the Materials and
Structural Systems Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST). Dr. Mitrani-Reiser co-leads the NCST technical investigation of the
collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida and is the leader of
the mortality project of the NCST investigation of Hurricane Maria’s impact on
Puerto Rico. Her responsibilities at NIST also extend to managing and providing
oversight to other disaster statutory programs—the National Windstorm Impact
Reduction Program and the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program—
focused on interagency coordination to reduce losses in the U.S. from disasters and
failures. Dr. Mitrani-Reiser served as Vice President of the Earthquake
Engineering Research Institute (EERI), serves on the Executive Committee of the
U.S. Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS-US), co-founded the
American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Multi-Hazard Risk Mitigation
Committee, and was elected to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni of UC
Berkeley’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. She earned her B.S. from the University of Florida,
M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley, and Ph.D. from the Caltech.


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