Professor Egor Popov, 1913-2001

Engineering Pioneer Egor Popov UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering Egor Popov passed away after a brief illness, on Thursday, April 19, 2001, at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, California.

Born in Kiev, Russia, in 1913, Popov and his family escaped to Manchuria during the Bolshevik Revolution and eventually made their way to the U.S. His father, Dr. Paul Popov, became a prominent physician in San Francisco.

Professor Popov began his engineering studies at UC Berkeley, and continued with graduate work at Caltech, MIT, and Stanford where he received his Ph.D. He was active in teaching and research for more than 50 years, having first joined UC Berkeley’s Department of Civil Engineering in 1946. Within this department he was the first chair of the division of structural engineering and structural mechanics. Many of his former graduate students went on to become distinguished engineers, incuding these who went on to become faculty in PEER: M. S. Agbabian, H. Krawinkler, and F. Filippou.

Popov’s seminal engineering textbook, Mechanics of Materials went to a second edition in 1976, and in 1990 he authored Engineering Mechanics of Solids. His engineering expertise was used by NASA to solve buckling problems and played a key role in the structural analysis of the Alaskan pipeline and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Popov pioneered the study of inelastic behavior and the seismic response of reinforced concrete and steel buildings. His research interests covered a wide spectrum of topics in earthquake engineering, including cyclic testing and modeling; the development of the eccentrically braced frame concept; the seismic resistance of steel connections; and the development of friction devices to retrofit existing structures. Popov was a long-time faculty participant of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center and a faculty participant of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center. Elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1976, he was honored in 1999 with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s highest honor, the George W. Housner Medal.

Popov’s enthusiasm for his work was equal to his contributions. His most recent research report, coauthored by Shakhzod M. Takhirov, was published just days before his death (Experimental Study of Large Seismic Steel Beam-to-Column Connections, PEER report 2001/01).