Denver Business Challenge Professor of Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder
Natural Hazard Risk: Public Perceptions & Political Perversities (click to view video)
Friday, February 17th, 2012 – 4:10 pm
Location: Sinclair Lab Auditorium, Lehigh University, 7 Asa Drive, Bethlehem, PA
Ross B. Corotis, PE, NAE, Denver Business Challenge Professor of Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder: Professor Ross B. Corotis has research interests in the application of probabilistic concepts and decision perceptions for civil engineering problems, and in particular to societal tradeoffs for hazards in the built infrastructure. His current research emphasizes the coordinated roles of engineering and social science with respect to framing and communicating societal investments for long-term risks and resiliency. With his degrees from MIT, he was on the faculty at Northwestern University for 11 years, established the Department of Civil Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University, where he was also Associate Dean of Engineering, and was Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science in Boulder. He has numerous research, teaching and service awards, chaired several committees on structural safety for ASCE and ACI, was Editor of the international journal Structural Safety and the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics, and chaired the Executive Committee of the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability. For The National Academies he served on the Building Research Board, the steering committee of the Disasters Roundtable, and chaired the Assessment Panel for the NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory. He is the founding chair of the Committee on NIST Technical Programs, and Past Chair of the Civil Engineering Section of the National Academy of Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in Illinois, Maryland and Colorado, a registered structural engineer in Illinois, and a Distinguished Member of ASCE. He is the author of more than 200 publications.
Natural Hazard Risk: Public Perceptions & Political Perversities: Probabilistic analysis and engineering modeling clearly demonstrates the positive payback associated with structural design incorporating robustness against natural hazards. This is clear for new construction, but also for retrofit in many situations. Yet throughout the world, including in the United States, policy makers continue to undervalue considerations of natural hazards in their long-term planning, both at the community level and the individual structural level. This shortcoming lies with the engineers and risk professionals; not in their analyses and capabilities, but in their unwillingness to incorporate public perceptions of risk and political process rationality, and thence in their inability to communicate and convince decision makers to spend limited, precious funds now so as to perhaps avoid costly expenses at some far off, undetermined time in the future. The lecture will address strategies that are appropriate to address this natural dichotomy.
The Fazlur R. Khan Distinguished Lecture Series has been initiated and organized by Dan M. Frangopol, the first holder of Lehigh's Fazlur Rahman Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture.