Nagarajaiah elected as distinguished member of American Society of Civil Engineers

Rice professor recognized for his seminal contributions to structural engineering and for having attained eminence in the field.

Satish Nagarajaiah

Satish Nagarajaiah, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and of mechanical engineering, at Rice, has been elected a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the highest honor bestowed by the body for attaining eminence in engineering and sciences including education and practice.

An authority in seismic isolation and adaptive stiffness structural systems, Nagarajaiah is one of 10 distinguished members elected this year by ASCE. He was recognized for his seminal contributions to structural engineering and for having attained eminence in the field.

A native of India, Nagarajaiah earned a B.S. in structural engineering from Bangalore University in 1980 and an M.S. in the same discipline in 1982 from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He received his Ph.D. in structural engineering from the State University of New York, Buffalo, in 1990, served as a postdoctoral researcher and as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia from 1993 to 1998.

Last year, Nagarajaiah, who joined the Rice faculty in 1999, was elected a fellow of the United States National Academy of Inventors. He has invented and co-invented several devices and systems to protect structures from vibrations, including those caused by earthquakes. The systems are semi-active and smart with variable stiffness, and adaptive passive versions of both tuned mass-dampers and negative stiffness systems.

Nagarajaiah co-invented structural monitoring technologies that include strain-sensing nanomaterials and noncontact, laser-based smart strain-sensing skin. He has developed advanced computational techniques for nonlinear structural dynamic analysis used to analyze and design base isolated structures, including the San Francisco International Airport and Apple headquarters.

He has developed sparse and low-rank structural system identification algorithms guided by physics-informed machine learning that are currently being used in cable-tension monitoring in large cable-stayed bridges.

Nagarajaiah is a fellow of the ASCE, and a fellow of ASCE’s Structural Engineering Institute and serves as editor of the journal Structural Control and Health Monitoring. His previous awards and honors include a 1999 National Science Foundation CAREER award and the ASCE’s 2015 Moisseiff Award and 2017 Reese Research Prize.

Last year, Nagarajaiah received the ASCE’s Nathan M. Newmark Medal. Last fall, he and Kalil Erazo, a senior lecturer in civil engineering at Rice, were awarded the Takuji Kobori Prize by the International Association for Structural Control and Monitoring for their 2018 paper “Bayesian structural identification of a hysteretic negative stiffness earthquake protection system using unscented Kalman filtering.”