By Abe Danaher | October 9, 2019
Internationally acclaimed researcher Zdeněk P. Bažant spoke to the College of Engineering and Computing’s students and faculty Tuesday about his theories regarding quasibrittle materials and the failure probability of engineering structures. This lecture was hosted jointly by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering as part of the college’s David Waugh Distinguished Lecture series, which aims to bring in leading researchers to share their work and experience.
Bažant’s research at Northwestern University has led to groundbreaking discoveries that advanced the understanding of how materials and structures behave. He is the most cited civil engineer in the world and the second most cited in the entire field of engineering. His work has enabled many other researchers around the world, such as the college’s Fabio Matta, to advance the understanding of how structures fail and how to design them accordingly.
Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Chair Juan Caicedo hopes that students who attended the lecture are inspired by Bažant’s brilliance and use it as motivation in their own work.
“His theories are now reflected in design codes all around the world,” Caicedo says. “I hope that people see that the work you do at the university can really become something useful for society as a whole.”
Bažant was invited to the college by Distinguished Professor Michael Sutton and throughout his two days there, he toured many of the college’s labs and met individually with students and faculty. Caicedo hopes that this exposure demonstrated the impactful work occurring in the college.
“I strongly believe that the research that we do here is very, very good,” he says. “And just getting him to campus and getting him to talk to faculty and to students, hopefully he gets an idea of the quality of research here and then he will be able to help us share that with other people.”
The David Waugh Distinguished Lecture series brings in one distinguished lecturer each semester. It began in 2016 and recognizes David Waugh for advancing the UofSC College of Engineering and Computing’s research profile as dean from 1977 to 1987.