Geotechnics and earthquake expert Tarek Abdoun has been named the Judith and Thomas Iovino ’73 Career Development Professor in Civil Engineering. The endowed professorship is one of the highest honors bestowed on a Rensselaer faculty member.
“From his modeling research into better understanding the tragic levee failure in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to his excellent mentoring of students, Tarek’s contributions make him an invaluable member of the Rensselaer community and an excellent choice for the Iovino professorship.”
“Professor Abdoun has made and continues to make important contributions to Rensselaer, his department, and the international community of civil engineering,” said Rensselaer Provost Robert Palazzo. “From his modeling research into better understanding the tragic levee failure in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to his excellent mentoring of students, Tarek’s contributions make him an invaluable member of the Rensselaer community and an excellent choice for the Iovino professorship.”
After receiving his master’s and doctoral degrees in geotechnical engineering from Rensselaer, Abdoun ’97 joined the Institute faculty in 1998 as a research assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He was named an assistant professor in 2004 and an associate professor in 2005. He has served since 1998 as manager of Rensselaer’s Geotechnical Centrifuge Research Center.
Abdoun’s primary research interests include centrifuge modeling, soil-structure interaction, soil remediation, field advanced sensing, and data visualization. He has performed hundreds of modeling tests using Rensselaer’s 150 g-ton geotechnical centrifuge to study the resilience and sustainability of national infrastructure.
Abdoun led Rensselaer’s physical modeling research team that clarified the failure mechanisms of some of the New Orleans levees during Hurricane Katrina, providing critical feedback to the corresponding numerical analyses. For this research, he received in 2007 the Commander’s Award for Public Service with accompanying medal from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This medal, one of the highest awards given to civilians by the Army, was for his outstanding contributions to the rebuilding of the New Orleans levees ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
In 2008, Abdoun received the Shamsher Prakash Research Award for Excellence in the Practice of Geotechnical Engineering from the Shamsher Prakash Foundation. In 2009, Abdoun received the American Society of Civil Engineers Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. The award was given in recognition of his significant contributions to the study of soil and soil-structure systems subjected to extreme events using centrifuge modeling and advanced instrumentation, as well as his innovative and creative research.
Abdoun received Rensselaer’s 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008 School of Engineering Excellence in Research & Teaching Award, as well as a Rensselaer Early Career Award in May 2007. He also received the 2004 Casimir Gzowski Medal from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. Abdoun is a member of journal editorial boards, including the Journal of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Engineering.