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#1 Yervant1


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Posted 18 October 2014 - 10:56 AM


Stanford Report
Oct 17 2014

By Tom Abate

Civil engineering Professor Anne Kiremidjian was idling at a traffic
light near the Stanford campus at 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989, when
she felt a sudden jolt and thought her car had been rear-ended.

"I looked up but there was nothing behind me in the mirror," she
recalled on the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. "Then
I noticed the traffic light swaying overhead and the cars in front
of me moving up and down like a wave."

Kiremedjian had, of course, witnessed the seismic wave caused by
the 6.9 magnitude quake that was centered northeast of Santa Cruz,
resulting in dozens of deaths and widespread damage, and famously
knocking down a span of the Bay Bridge.

Kiremedjian, who has studied the aftermaths of dozens of quakes
since coming to Stanford in 1972, said Northern Californians were
comparatively lucky.

Loma Prieta ruptured a 22-mile stretch of the San Andreas Fault. By
comparison, the 1906 quake, which had an estimated magnitude of 7.8,
tore through 267 miles of Northern California.

"Loma Prieta was a baby earthquake in comparison to 1906," she said.

Kiremidjian should know. She is an expert at probabilistic seismic
hazard assessment, studying the nature of specific faults, assessing
the likely intensity and duration of ground shaking during a quake and
estimating the probable damage given the type, age and construction
quality of local structures.

Earlier this month Kiremidjian was honored by the American Society
of Civil Engineers for her lifetime achievement in research and her
commitment to education, especially for her efforts to inspire young
women to become engineers.

Born to an Armenian family that moved to avoid persecution, Kiremidjian
was a teenager when she came to the United States from Bulgaria in
1965. She steamed through the Bosporus Straits, admiring the dome of
Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, and stopped briefly in Athens to marvel at
the Acropolis before her family resumed its odyssey to New York City
with its modern high-rise structures. This early exposure to ancient
and modern buildings inspired her to pursue civil engineering.

Settling in New York City, Kiremedjian entered public high school
speaking not a word of English. But she excelled at math and science
and after getting fired from a secretarial job -"I'm still a lousy
typist," she said - she was offered a chance to study at Queens
College, where she started classes in 1968.

"In one instant my life turned around and my career began," recalled
Kiremidjian, who found that her skills often landed her among men
who doubted her abilities.

"Don't ever tell me I can't do something, I'll try that much harder,"
said Kiremidjian, who, in 1972, came to study civil engineering at
Stanford after graduating with honors from Columbia.

She arrived on campus just as Haresh C. Shah, now the Obayashi
Professor in the School of Engineering, Emeritus, was developing
a program in earthquake engineering. One of her first assignments
involved surveying the damage to Managua caused by the earthquake
that devastated the Nicaraguan capital in December 1972.

"It was an exciting time," recalled Kiremedjian, who earned her
doctorate in 1977. "The John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center
was forming. I was at the center of all of these developments, and
many doors were opened for me." She took an integral part in the
growth of the center, including serving as co-director from 1987 to
1994 and director from 1995 to 2002.

She became an assistant professor in civil engineering in 1978,
advancing to associate professor in 1985 and full professor in 1991.

When Loma Prieta struck Stanford, all these experiences came home.

Among other lessons, the temblor proved that it was possible to
re-engineer older buildings. A case in point was Roble Hall. Once
slated for demolition and replacement, alumni support led to a change
of plans. A seismic upgrade and other modernizations allowed it to
shrug off Loma Prieta.

"It shows that, when you do a well-planned retrofit, structures can
be made safe," Kiremedjian said.

To help assess the structural health of individual buildings, in 1995
Kiremidjian developed the first wireless structural monitoring sensors
with her colleague Teresa Meng, now the Reid Weaver Dennis Professor
of Electrical Engineering and professor of computer science, emerita,
and doctoral student Erik Straser.

The sensors can measure how a structure responds to small vibrations,
like those caused by a big truck rumbling down the street, as well
as a large shaking caused by a strong earthquake.


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#2 onjig



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Posted 20 October 2014 - 10:51 AM

Good for her, she's done well!

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