Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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In Memoriam - Professor Emeritus Ray W. Clough

Ray W. Clough, CEE faculty member for 38 years, and earthquake engineering pioneer, died on Oct. 8.  He was 96. 

Professor Clough was a CEE faculty member from 1949-1987.  He served as Director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center from 1973-77.

 He is renowned for pioneering the field of earthquake engineering, and his most important research contribution in structural engineering was as a co-developer in the “Finite Element Method,” which forever revolutionized the field of structural analysis and design of buildings and other structures such as dams, as well as many other disciplines that now use this method for analysis.

Professor Clough was an early visionary of the capability of increasingly powerful computers in conducting structural analyses that would have been impossible only a few years before. In the 1960s he developed a series of publications that contained pioneering methods for computer earthquake analysis of tall buildings, which became the basis for commercial computer programs, such as SAP 2000, now standard in engineering practice. He co-authored the definitive text still widely used today, Dynamics of Structures, with Joseph Penzien, in 1975.

Professor Clough served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Earthquake Engineering and is the recipient of many honors including the George W. Housner Medal from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the Prince Philip Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering in London. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1979), the National Academy of Engineering (1968), the Royal Norwegian Scientists Society, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

In 1994, President Clinton presented Professor Clough with a National Medal of Science “ for his outstanding contributions in the fields of finite element analysis, structural dynamics, and earthquake engineering which had extraordinary influence in the development of modern engineering.”

UC Berkeley hosted the Clough-Penzien Symposium in 2002 for emeritus professors Ray Clough and Joseph Penzien, in recognition of their major contributions in computational structural mechanics, earthquake engineering, and dynamic experimentation of structures.

In 2006 Professor Clough was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Civil Engineering “for revolutionizing engineering and scientific computation and engineering design methods through his formulation and development of the finite element method, and for his innovative leadership in applying the method to the field of earthquake engineering with special emphasis on the seismic performance of dams.”

In 2008, at the 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Beijing, China, Professor Clough was recognized as one of the “legends of earthquake engineering.”

See Ray W. Clough: October 8, 2016 (Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center)


The preceding is posted on the CEE home page. (We are grateful to PEER Communication Director Grace S. Kang and Director Khalid Mosalam for this tribute.)