ASCE has honored Ares J. Rosakis, Ph.D., M.ASCE, NAE, with the 2020 Zdeněk P. Bažant Medal for Failure and Damage Prevention for his groundbreaking contributions to earthquake mechanics, specifically for inventing laboratory earthquakes, which have transformed our understanding of failure and damage processes in the earth and have proven central to infrastructure damage prevention.
Rosakis has made pioneering contributions to our fundamental understanding of materials failure and earthquake source mechanics, and has made groundbreaking discoveries of new physical phenomena relating to dynamic shear rupture and damage evolution processes at interfaces of every length and time scale. He introduced the concept of laboratory earthquakes, allowing for the rigorous observation of the key physics (failure and damage creation) that control earthquake rupture nucleation and growth while maintaining elegant simplicity.
The laboratory earthquakes provide direct measurements of basic frictional response on surfaces experiencing loading conditions of normal and shear stress. These measurements are comparable with those experienced by earthquake faults on Earth, measurements which were previously inaccessible. These outstanding achievements represent groundbreaking contributions to the engineering science of failure and damage prevention that are recognized by the Zdeněk P. Bažant Medal for Failure and Damage Prevention.
Rosakis’s discoveries have helped resolve many cutting-edge problems and paradoxes in earthquake source physics. He is regarded as the world’s leading scholar in the field of quasi-static and dynamic failure of metals, composites, and interfaces. His findings have inspired civil engineers to reexamine the design of civil structures, especially regarding the vulnerability of tall buildings to earthquake excitation. Rosakis is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). He has received numerous and prestigious honors.
The award may be made in even-numbered years to an individual whose career demonstrates significant contributions to the engineering science of failure and damage prevention in the form of a scientific paper, book, patent or other form of scientific invention.