Academy of Distinguished Alumni
Stephen A. Mahin Ph.D.
Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on
Stephen A. Mahin received his Ph.D. (1975), M.S. degree (1970), and B.S. degree (1968) in Civil Engineering, all from the University of California, Berkeley. His graduate school focus was in structural engineering. Professor Mahin spent his entire career at Berkeley, first as a post-doctoral scholar, then for forty years as a distinguished member of the CEE faculty. At the time of his death in February 2018, he was the Byron and Elvira Nishkian Professor of Civil Engineering. He served as Chair of the Structural Engineering, Mechanics, and Materials (SEMM) Group within CEE from 1990 to 1993, and he was the Director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center from 2009 to 2015.
Professor Mahin was a world-renowned expert in earthquake engineering, with wide-ranging teaching, research, and professional practice contributions related to: characterization of earthquake strong ground motions; numerical modeling, simulation, and structural testing methods for severe loading environments; earthquake-protective systems for buildings, bridges, power plants, and offshore structures; and performance-based earthquake engineering. In 2016, Professor Mahin became the founding Director of the Computational Modeling and Simulation Center (SimCenter) of the NSF-funded Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI). Under his visionary leadership, the SimCenter is advancing simulation methods to reduce the effects of natural hazards on the built environment, with the ultimate aim of improving community resilience to earthquakes, storms, and other extreme hazards.
In 1983, Professor Mahin was awarded the ASCE Walter Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize for his practical application of rigorous theory to complex engineering problems. In 1987, he was awarded the ASCE Norman Medal for his seminal work on the seismic behavior of offshore platforms, and in 2012 he was inducted into the ASCE/OTC Hall of Fame. His pioneering work on self-centering bridges earned him the Federal Highway Association (FHWA) James Cooper Best Paper Award in 2007. In addition, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) honored him with its Special Educator Achievement Award in 2001 and its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. At Berkeley, Professor Mahin advised 85 graduate students and sponsored 44 post-doctoral scholars. He served as Chair of the U.C. Berkeley Committee on Academic Planning and Resource Allocation. His service as Director of the NHERI SimCenter helped to make Berkeley a worldwide center for performance-based seismic engineering. Professor Mahin was dedicated to the CEE Academy of Distinguished Alumni, serving on its Board of Directors for several years up to the time of his death at the age of 71.