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EULOGY for Professor Stephen A. Mahin

Stephen Mahin, a Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, Guest Professor at Tongji University and the Director of the International Joint Research Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering (ILEE), passed away on February 10, 2018 in Berkeley, California. He was 71. Professor Mahin joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley as an undergraduate student in 1964, completing his BS degree in 1968, MS degree in 1970, and PhD in 1974. He joined the faculty in 1977 after serving for three years as a research engineer.  

Professor Mahin’s research career in earthquake engineering spanned nearly 50 years. Much of his work focused on improving the profession’s understanding of the seismic behavior of framing systems through integrating high-performance numerical simulations and large-scale experiments. He pioneered the development of hybrid simulation methods (initially known as pseudo-dynamic testing) that enable experiments on structures too large to be tested by conventional means. His research portfolio also included shaking table tests and field tests.

Professor Stephen Mahin played a leadership role in the earthquake engineering community for more than 35 years, with important contributions to the US-Japan Co-operative Earthquake Research Program in the 1980s and the development of the NEES Collaboratory in the late 1990s. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the NEES Consortium. He served as the President of CUREe from 1994 to 1997, the Vice-President of the Association for International Cooperation and Research on Steel-Concrete Composite Structures from 1997 to 2000, and as the Vice President of the International Association for Experimental Structural Engineering. In 2016, he was tapped by the US National Science Foundation to serve as the first Director of the Computational Modeling and Simulation Center (SimCenter): a key component of the NHERI program.

Stephen Mahin was key to collaboration of Tongji University and the University of California, Berkeley. He was part of Tongji-Berkeley Cooperative Union since 2011 and helped develop the plan for the International Joint Research Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering (ILEE), which was established in 2015. He served as the foreign director of ILEE from its inception in 2015. In 2014, he was named a Master Academician (2014) by Tongji University: a title bestowed on the top 100 professors from abroad in all fields of research supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

Professor Stephen Mahin made seminal contributions in the field of earthquake engineering. His passing is a massive loss for the University of California, Tongji University and every earthquake-engineering practitioner around the world. We deeply mourn the death of our friend Stephen Mahin. His impact on ILEE will last forever.