Welcome to our first CCE Spotlight! The goal of spotlight is to provide more information about something fabulous inside the School of Civil and Construction Engineering.
Today’s spotlight is about a specialty area within Civil Engineering: Structural Engineering.
Structural engineers are involved in the design and testing of load-bearing structures. What does that mean?
Structural engineers ensure that buildings and bridges are built to be strong enough and stable enough to resist all appropriate structural loads, such as gravity, wind, snow, rain, earthquake forces, earth pressure, temperature, and even traffic in order to prevent or reduce loss of life or injury.
Structural engineers design structures to be safe, resist deflection and avoid fatigue damage; however, they also consider material qualities, aesthetics and human comfort as part of their design.
Many structural engineers work in the construction industry designing structures to be built, analyzing current structures for repair or as inspectors. Other fields you may find a structural engineer include aerospace, automobile and shipbuilding industries. It is common for structural engineers to work closely with architects, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and construction managers.
Interested in learning more about Structural Engineering? Dr. Thomas Miller, Assistant School Head for Civil Engineering, would be happy to talk with you! firstname.lastname@example.org
CCE has four outstanding faculty members in the Structures concentration.
Dr. Christopher Higgins, frequently appearing on campus wide marketing materials, says that structural engineering “just felt right” as he studied toward a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Marquette University (1988). He went on to complete his M.S. (University of Texas at Austin, 1990) and Ph.D. (Lehigh University, 1997), both in Structural Engineering. In a 2009 Popular Mechanics article, Dr. Higgins is credited with destroying “more bridges than any flood or earthquake” through his research at OSU’s Large Scale Testing Laboratory “Strong Floor”. Full-scale experimental tests allowed Dr. Higgins and his research team (see colleagues below!) to conduct the first-ever test of real-size bridge girders under moving loads, providing the Oregon Department of Transportation with valuable assessment methodology to use on existing Oregon bridges to determine the need for repair, saving Oregon taxpayers an estimated half-billion dollars. Although Dr. Higgins is a smiling face of bridge research these days, he confesses that “everything is interesting to me” and once even was a member of the heavy metal band Larry and the Angry Dogs. Dr. Higgins has been at OSU since 2000 and is married with two children.
Dr. Thomas Miller, grew up in Rochester, NY and went to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY for all 3 of his degrees (B.S.C.E 1980, M.Eng. C.E. 1981, Ph.D. C.E. 1990) and so we can forgive his lingering spirit for the Big Red. Between his Masters and Doctorate, Dr. Miller was an officer in the US Air Force for 4 years of active duty and 4 years in the Air National Guard. He was responsible for protective construction (think bomb-resistant buildings) design and construction in Europe, as well as testing in the New Mexico desert. (He tells me it was “A fun job!!”) His current research areas include earthquake engineering, wood structures and cold-formed steel structures. Recent research projects involve seismic hazard assessment of public buildings in Oregon, modeling and behavior of residential timber structures, and behavior of gypsum-sheathed, cold-formed steel wall studs. Dr. Miller is also the faculty advisor for the student chapters of the America Society of Civil Engineers and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. He was awarded the ASCE Region 8 Outstanding Faculty Advisor award in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as well as the ASCE Oregon Section Engineering of the Year in 2010. Dr. Miller has been at OSU since 1989 and is married with two teenage daughters, the eldest going to college next year. Although Dr. Millers says that “Dad knows almost nothing at home…..” he is a great resource about Civil Engineering and ASCE. Please stop by 344 Owen Hall anytime if you have questions on structural engineering as a career or just to talk.
Dr. Michael Scott is an Associate Professor whose interests and research include nonlinear structural analysis and dynamics, structural response sensitivity, object-oriented software design, parallel computing and numerical methods. He earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University (1998), followed by his M.S. (1999) and Ph.D. (2004) in Structural Engineering from University of California, Berkeley. Following his time as a Graduate Research Assistant and Instructor at Berkeley, Dr. Scott has been at OSU since 2004. He is married and has two children (twins!)
Dr. Soloman Yim is another Berkeley alum that OSU has had the fortune to transplant to Oregon. His interests include a variety of applications of fluid and structural mechanics in the marine environment including free-surface flow and fluid contact/impact on deformable structures in shallow water and the surf zone, near field waves, tsunami and storm surge modeling and mechanics of wave-energy conversion systems. Dr. Yim graduated Summa cum Laude from Rice University with his B.S.C.E. in 1976. He completed his graduate work, including both a M.A. in Mathematics (1981) and a M.S. (1977) and Ph.D. (1983) in Structural Engineering and Mechanics from Berkeley. Dr. Yim has been at OSU since 1987, teaching in Civil Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering and as a professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. From 2009-2011, he was a member of the National Research Council Study on Naval Engineering and is currently a committee member of the NSF Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). Dr. Yim has often been consulted by media working to understand tsunami and the potential impact of the U.S. west coast, and one of Dr. Yim’s current research projects involves looking at the “Vulnerability of California’s Bridges to Tsunami”. Dr. Yim has been at OSU since 1987, teaching in Civil Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering and as a professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.