For his fundamental contributions and innovations in infrastructure mechanics and sustainability, MIT Professor Oral Buyukozturk of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) was named the recipient of the 2018 George W. Housner Medal for Structural Control and Monitoring from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
The medal was awarded for his “pioneering and transformative developments in video-based structural sensing and identification, interferometry-based data analytics, high-efficiency generic wireless networks, and their integration with groundbreaking engineering mechanics research and practice for enhancing civil infrastructural resilience and sustainability,” according to ASCE Executive Director Thomas W. Smith III.
An MIT faculty member since 1976 and director of the Laboratory for Infrastructure Science and Sustainability, Buyukozturk has produced — and continues to produce — significant contributions to the field of engineering mechanics, structural control, and monitoring of buildings and bridges during his tenure.
“This medal means a lot to me not only because it is a major recognition of our contributions but also because of my admiration for the work and vision of George W. Housner in earthquake engineering and structural control and monitoring as challenging interdisciplinary fields,” Buyukozturk says.
He cites a number of large-scale research projects and developments as being integral to the award, including the first MIT-Kuwait Signature Project on Sustainaiblity of Built Environment, and the MITEi Shell Global Distributed Sensing project, each involving dozens of students, postdocs, and researchers.
“I share this medal with my amazing students, postdocs, and collaborators from all corners of MIT, as well as my international collaborators including Dr. Dirk Smit, vice president of exploration technology and chief scientist of Shell,” Buyukozturk says.
Collaboration is central to Buyukozturk’s research. In addition to fostering numerous international projects, Buyukozturk has made it a priority to involve undergraduate students in his high-level research projects. For the past three years, his lab has hosted many undergraduate students including rising senior Stephanie Chin as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. The results of their work has been fruitful: In the past two years, three papers have been published in top journals as Chin a coauthor.
Markus Buehler, the McAfee Professor of Engineering and department head of CEE, says the award is “a testament to the dedication of Professor Buyukozturk to the advancement and sustainability of infrastructure over many decades.”
Buyukozturk formally received the medal at the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) Conference, held on MIT’s campus from May 29 to June 1. ASCE EMI President George Deodatis presented the medal to Buyukozturk at the EMI conference banquet, which attracted more than 1,000 delegates.