Nagarajaiah wins ASCE’s Newmark Medal


By Patrick Kurp
Special to the Rice News

Satish Nagarajaiah, a Rice professor of civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science and nanoengineering, has been awarded the 2020 Nathan M. Newmark Medal by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The medal goes annually to an ASCE member whose research has “helped substantially to strengthen the scientific base of structural engineering.”

Nagarajaiah is an authority in adaptive stiffness structural systems. He has invented and co-invented several devices and systems to protect structures from vibrations, including those caused by earthquakes.

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

Nagarajaiah has developed sparse and low-rank structural system identification algorithms guided by physics-informed machine learning.

A native of India, Nagarajaiah earned a bachelor’s degree in structural engineering from Bangalore University in 1980 and a master’s in the same discipline in 1982 from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He earned his Ph.D. in structural engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1990.

Last year, Nagarajaiah, who joined the Rice faculty in 1999, was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is a fellow of the ASCE and its Structural Engineering Institute and serves as editor of the journal Structural Control and Health Monitoring. His previous honors include a 1999 National Science Foundation CAREER award and the ASCE’s 2015 Moisseiff Award and 2017 Reese Research Prize.

Pol D. Spanos, the Lewis B. Ryon Professor in Mechanical and Civil Engineering and a professor of materials science and nanoengineering at Rice, won the Newmark Medal in 1999.