San Diego, Calif.— Frieder Seible, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, has received a 2006 Humboldt Research Award. The prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is one of the most prestigious scientific honors in Germany, given to eminent foreign scholars in recognition of their lifetime academic achievements.
Humboldt Research Award winners are invited to carry out research projects with a host university in Germany. Seible plans to investigate fundamental design concepts that could improve how structures perform under extreme loads caused by natural and manmade disasters. He will be hosted by the faculty of Civil Engineering at the Bauhaus-University Weimar and he will visit and collaborate with structural research institutes across Germany.
"Currently, we design our buildings and bridges in a linear fashion—first we complete a design to handle gravity and occupancy/traffic loads, then we add structural elements to deal with wind loads, then we consider the earthquake threat and add more features, and finally we look at blast vulnerability," says Seible. "I'd like to develop a more holistic approach, namely to conceive a design that is suitable from the beginning for all of the possible loads on the structure."