Saving Lives with Engineering Technology

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Murat Saatcioglu

It is not earthquakes that kill people; it is the collapse of unsafe structures. Earthquake specialist Murat Saatcioglu has dedicated his career to researching ways of saving lives in the aftermath of a quake. This researcher’s commitment has once again been recognized.

In May 2014, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) presented Professor Saatcioglu with the Whitman Wright Award in recognition for his significant contribution to the advancement of innovation and information technology in Civil Engineering.

 “I am honoured to receive this award as it recognizes long-time contributions that I have made to the applications of computer assisted tools in solving structural engineering problems in practice”, said Saatcioglu who started his career in the development of design software for reinforced concrete slabs and columns. “The award is named after Dr. Whitman Wright who pioneers computer-aided design in structural engineering in Canada, with whom I worked closely, first as a cement industry representative, and subsequently as an academic. I have always admired his insight into the future and dedication to the field. This is why this award has a sentimental dimension as well", confided Saatcioglu.      

 As a world-renowned researcher in structural and earthquake engineering, Saatcioglu advocates building infrastructure that helps reduce the potential loss of life and property damage when natural disasters occur. His research has focused on retrofitting and strengthening to increase chances of saving lives after a tremor.  By retrofitting vulnerable structures and bridges, his work has proven very effective in reducing seismic risks.

 “My research involves field investigations, where I observe first-hand the damaging effects of earthquakes on civil engineering infrastructure. The knowledge gained after these field investigations have been translated in the seismic screening and risk assessment software. Therefore, there is a direct link between the research I conduct and its dissemination through computerized tools that are being used in the Structural Engineering profession, which is recognized by this award”, described Saatcioglu.

 Writer, inventor, Distinguished Professor and Research Chair, Saatcioglu has been involved with the University of Ottawa for almost thirty years. Professor Saatcioglu helped develop building codes and standards as well as design methodologies for earthquake and blast resistant structures, funded by the Natural Sciences and Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP).

Throughout his career, Murat Saatcioglu has achieved many outstanding accomplishments. He has twice been the chair of the Department of Civil Engineering in addition to serving as the Faculty’s Vice Dean of Research on two separate occasions. Moreover, Professor Saatcioglu has invented new patented seismic retrofit technology, and edited and co-authored several books on reinforced concrete structures.

Some of Professor Saatcioglu’s future projects related to innovation and information technology in civil engineering involve new software for computerized seismic risk and  blast risk assessment “that will result in a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) integrated with Google map, so that one can assess risk in any geographic location”

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