Frangopol receives inaugural award for life-cycle engineering

Dan Frangopol received the inaugural Fazlur Rahman Khan Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Medal recently at the Third International Symposium of Life-Cycle Civil Engineering (IALCCE 2012) in Vienna, Austria.

The honor was one of several bestowed in recent months on Frangopol, who himself is the first holder of the Fazlur R. Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture at Lehigh.

The Khan Medal is awarded to a member of the International Association of Life-Cycle Civil Engineering who has made “definite contributions to the advancement of life-cycle civil engineering through journal or conference papers or other written presentations.”

Khan, an engineer born in 1929 in what is now Bangladesh, completed the engineering designs for many landmark structures, including the John Hancock Center and Sears Tower in Chicago and the Hajj Terminal of the Jedda Airport in Saudi Arabia.

Shortly before his death in 1982, Khan was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Lehigh.

Significant contributions and leadership

The IALCCE Medal cites Frangopol’s “significant contributions to and strong leadership in life-cycle engineering.” The IALCCE also awarded one of Frangopol’s former graduate students, Nader M. Okasha ’10 Ph.D., its Junior Research Award at the Vienna ceremony. Okasha is now an assistant professor at the University of Hail in Saudi Arabia.

In another recent development, Frangopol was named an honorary professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), one of the world’s leading research schools for civil engineering, construction and building technology, and geomatics.

PolyU has invited Frangopol to deliver the keynote address next week in Hong Kong at the First Conference on Performance-based and Life-cycle Structural Engineering. His address will be titled “Probabilistic Life-cycle Management of Civil and Marine Infrastructures.”

On Nov. 9, Frangopol delivered the Warren Lecture at the University of Minnesota. His address was titled “Life-Cycle Reliability, Risk and Resilience of Civil Infrastructure.”

In October, Frangopol and Okasha traveled to Montreal to receive the 2012 Arthur M. Wellington Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for a paper they wrote that was published in 2010 in the Journal of Structural Engineering. The Wellington Prize recognizes a paper that discusses transportation on land, on water, in the air or on foundations and closely related subjects.

Lehigh has also honored Khan’s legacy with the Fazlur R. Khan Lecture Series. Alfredo H.S. Ang, research professor at the University of California in Irvine, will give the Khan Lecture on Friday, April 19. Ang awarded Frangopol the Khan Medal at IALCCE 2012 in Vienna.

Frangopol has gained an international reputation for championing life-cycle engineering, about which he says, “Managing the infrastructure requires risk-informed decisions that balance cost and performance and use optimization criteria to select the most efficient maintenance options in uncertain environments.”

In 2010 the American Society of Civil Engineers cited Frangopol for defining much of the practice for life-cycle management methods of deteriorating structures and optimization approaches, and noted that his work has “not only saved time and money, but very likely also saved lives.”

Photo No. 2 by David Hathcox/ASCE