Nagarajaiah honored with ASCE's 2020 Nathan M. Newmark Medal

The recognizes research that has 'helped substantially to strengthen the scientific base of structural engineering.'

Satish Nagarajaiah

Satish Nagarajaiah, professor of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science and nanoengineering at Rice University, has been honored with the 2020 Nathan M. Newmark Medal from 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. The systems are semi-active and smart with variable stiffness, and adaptive passive versions of both tuned mass-dampers and negative stiffness systems.

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

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

A native of India, Nagarajaiah earned a B.S. in structural engineering from Bangalore University in 1980 and an M.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, Buffalo, in 1990.

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

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