Adrian Rodriguez-Marek et al Receive 2021 Outstanding Paper Award for "Capturing epistemic uncertainty in site response"

Adrian Rodriguez-Marek The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is pleased to announce that the 2021 Outstanding Paper Award has been awarded to "Capturing epistemic uncertainty in site response," Earthquake Spectra, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 921-936, by Adrian Rodriguez-Marek, Julian J. Bommer, and Robert R. Youngs.

The Outstanding Paper Award recognizes authors of Earthquake Spectra papers judged to be outstanding contributions to earthquake hazard mitigation. Papers must have made a significant impact on the profession, provided a significant advance in the state-of-the-art or understanding of a particular topic, be of exceptional technical quality with concise and informative illustrations, and be well-written for a broad audience.

According to the award citation, "Rodriguez-Marek and coauthors examined the incorporation of local amplification factors (AFs)  and how to best capture their epistemic uncertainties needed for proper site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA). They note that the distribution of AFs obtained from just a few weighted VS profiles, which is the traditional approach, will often be narrow at particular frequencies and so they recommend an alternative approach to capturing epistemic uncertainty. Their strategy (1) offers insight  into which components of uncertainty most influence the AFs at different response periods and (2)  provides a framework within which to impose a minimum level of epistemic uncertainty, avoiding underestimating such uncertainty at longer periods. They further suggest their proposed approach, which  they argue is not an onerous one, will be the next logical step in the development of PSHA in practice."

Dr. Adrian Rodriguez-Marek obtained his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in Civil Engineering in the year 2000. He then joined the faculty at Washington State University, and since 2010 has been a faculty member in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Virginia Tech. Dr. Rodriguez-Marek's research and teaching is in the area of geotechnical earthquake engineering, with a focus on site response and seismic hazard analysis. He has published extensively on various topics, including site response, ground motion characterization, and the treatment of uncertainty in seismic hazard analysis. Dr. Rodriguez-Marek has also participated as a consultant in various seismic hazard assessment projects for nuclear power plants and critical facilities around the world. He is the current chair of the Center for Geotechnical Practice and Research at Virginia Tech.

The approach presented in this paper was developed as part of the work of the Ground Motion Characterization team of a project for the seismic hazard assessment of nuclear power plants in Spain, led by Dr. Julian Bommer. The remaining team members include Dr. Robert Youngs of Woods Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, Dr. Peter Stafford of Imperial College London, and Dr. Maria Crespo of Principia Ingenieros Consultores. Dr. Mahdi Bahrampouri, formerly at Virginia Tech and now at UCLA, provided technical support.

For more information about the Outstanding Paper Award, visit the EERI awards page.