PEER is saddened to hear of the passing of Wilfred D. (Bill) Iwan, on October 29, 2020. Bill Iwan was emeritus professor of civil engineering at Caltech, and he was 85 years old.
Professor Iwan's research and effective advocacy for seismic safety policies furthered the progress of earthquake engineering. He was engaged in efforts worldwide to discuss and promote seismic safety. He was also a pioneering proponent for monitoring strong ground motions.
His early research resulted in hysteresis models used to model dynamic characteristics in structures. Bill was appointed to the California Seismic Safety Commission (1982-1995), when the Commission sponsored passage of the California Earthquake Hazard Reduction Act (1986). While he was Chair of the Commission, the state’s earthquake risk mitigation program “California at Risk” was issued.
In 1988 he was founding President of the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (CUREE). He helped to launch the International Association for Structural Control and Monitoring and served as president. He was a contributor in the many disciplines of earthquake engineering that he was involved in. Professor Iwan was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1999 "for research on seismic performance of structures, and for leadership in earthquake hazard mitigation and improvement of public safety."
More information about Professor Iwan's influence and impact on the earthquake engineering profession and community can be found at the Proceedings of the CUREE Symposium in Honor of Wilfred Iwan (2005) and at Caltech.