Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Edward L. Wilson

Edward L. Wilson D.Eng., N.A.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Edward L. Wilson received his B.S. (1955), M.S. (1959), and D. Eng. (1963) degree in Civil (Structural) Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Wilson joined the faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering in 1965.  From 1973 to 1976, he served as Chairman of the Division of Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics.  From 1987 to 1990, he was Vice Chair of the Department.  He is currently a member and past Chairman of the Seismic Review Committee for the Berkeley Campus. He is also a member of the Seismic Advisory Board for the California Department of Transportation.

At Berkeley, Professor Wilson taught courses and conducted research in the areas of structural analysis, structural dynamics, and the development of methods for performing finite element methods for large three-dimensional structures.  He has published more than 200 technical papers, reports, and books on these subjects.  During his years of teaching, 29 Ph.D. students completed their dissertations under his supervision.  From 1963 to 1965, he was a senior research engineer at Aerojet General Corporation, Sacramento, California.  At Aerojet he developed numerical methods and computer programs for the thermal and stress analysis of the MINUTEMAN missile and the APOLLO space capsule. He has been responsible for the development of several computer programs which are extensively used by professionals in civil, mechanical and aerospace engineering.  The general three‑dimensional finite element analysis program SAP and the TABS series of programs for the static and dynamic analysis of three‑dimensional building systems are examples of programs initially developed by Professor Wilson.  These programs have been extensively adopted by a large number of engineering firms throughout the world.

In 1985, Professor Wilson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).  He was appointed as the first T. Y. and Margaret Lin Professor in Engineering in 1990.  He received the Berkeley Citation at the time of his retirement from teaching in 1991.  In 1981, he received a Research Award in Structural Mechanics from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. For his contributions to the profession, he received the Huber (1974), Friedman (1980), and Howard (1995) awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  In 1998, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Tall Building Design Council.  In 2003, he received the Von Neumann Medal from the United States Association of Computational Mechanics. In 2008, he was made an Honorary Member of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California.