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Steve and Sylvia Burges Endowed Lecture

About the lecture

This lectureship was founded in 2013 by Steve and Sylvia Burges. The purpose of the endowment is to support an annual public lecture by distinguished practitioners in the field of Civil and Environmental Engineering to broaden the horizons of engineering students and professionals beyond the purely technical challenges of our times. Speakers include faculty members in the department as well as experts identified by faculty as possessing perspectives, expertise and/or experience of particular importance and interest to the field of civil and environmental engineering.

About the donors

Steve and Sylvia Burges

Sylvia and Steve Burges have been associated with the University of Washington since September 1970, when Steve joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering. Shortly thereafter, Sylvia earned two University of Washington master’s degrees: a Master of Education (Educational Psychology Counseling) in 1973 and a Master of Science (Civil Engineering Department) in 1976. During her career, Sylvia conducted water quality and environmental studies for consulting engineering firms. She joined Region 10 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1988, where she spent the rest of her professional career as a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act enforcement officer. Steve spent his career as a University of Washington faculty member attaining the rank of Professor in 1979. He became a registered Professional Engineer in 1980, a Professional hydrologist in 1990 and a Diplomat Water Resources Engineer in 2005. Steve retired from the university in 2010 with the title of Professor Emeritus.

Burges Lecture 2022

Big, small, fast, slow: Geohazards I have known

Friday, May 20, 3:30-4:30pm, PDT
UW Campus, Alder Hall Auditorium
The lecture will be held in-person

Reception with light food and drink in the Alder Hall Commons following the lecture.

Professor Emeritus Steve Kramer

Featuring Professor Emeritus Steve Kramer
UW Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Abstract: Our landscape is always changing — on different spatial and temporal scales — and many of those changes can have profound effects on individuals and communities. Earthquakes and landslides are some of the most widely known and publicized geohazards, but other hazards related to geologic materials and processes can also lead to severe damage and loss. Unlike buildings and bridges, the sources of geohazards are generally not visible until their effects reach the ground surface; as a result, society is surprised over and over by their occurrence. Over the course of the past 44 years, the speaker has been involved with the investigation of a number of geotechnical failures - from landslides that traveled 100 feet to one that traveled 1,000 miles, and from residential homes that moved an inch to a 650-ft high-rise that settled and tilted sufficiently to rate a story on 60 Minutes. This presentation will examine a variety of geohazards with examples from the speaker's career in geotechnical engineering research and practice and show how geotechnical engineers are dealing with them.

Bio: Steve Kramer is Professor Emeritus of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. His primary research interests include soil liquefaction, site response analysis, seismic slope stability, and hazard analysis. He has worked on the coupling of probabilistic seismic hazard and response analyses within performance-based earthquake engineering frameworks, particularly with respect to soil liquefaction. Kramer is author of the textbook, Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (Prentice-Hall). He has been the recipient of the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the NSF, the Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award from ASCE, a Walter Huber Research Prize from ASCE, and the ASCE Norman Medal (in 2009 and 2017). He received the 2016 M.J. Nigel Priestley Prize from the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering, the 2018 H. Bolton Seed Medal from ASCE, and the 2018 Nabor Carrillo Lecturer Award from the Mexican Society of Geotechnical Engineering. In 2020, he was named as a Distinguished Member of ASCE, a member of the U.C. Berkeley Academy of Distinguished Alumni, and elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Most recently, he was named an Honorary Member of the International Association of Earthquake Engineering. Kramer was a Senior Research Scientist in the International Centre for Geohazards at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) in 2003 and is also a member of the faculty of the European School for Advanced Studies in the Reduction of Seismic Risk (the ROSE School) at the University of Pavia in Italy. Although recently retired from the University of Washington, he remains active in research and consulting and is nearing completion of the second edition of his textbook.

View past lectures