World Shakers

Bowen’s renowned earthquake specialists look to minimize the damage of temblors.

They come from all over the world and perhaps, not without coincidence, from areas that have been devastated by deadly assaults from Mother Nature’s big hammer. But when it comes to speaking about the structural impact of earthquakes, you’d be hard pressed to find a group of more knowledgeable experts anywhere beyond Purdue’s Bowen Labs. Michael Kreger, a professor of civil engineering, is the Bowen Lab director. Santiago Pujol and Julio Ramirez, an assistant professor and a professor of civil engineering, respectively, have significant experience in earthquake analysis and structural design. And Mete Sozen, the Kettelhut Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering, foresees such devastation in his homeland of Turkey that he, along with a team of international experts, has suggested that the city of Istanbul build a second, satellite city.

“It is exciting to think about building a new city using completely new technologies,” Sozen says. “It would use modern information technologies and be environmentally friendly. It would be safe, secure, and modern. But more important is that this city would provide a refuge and emergency services in the event of an earthquake.”

Istanbul, which lies just north of the North Anatolian fault, is at high risk for a major earthquake within the next 20 years, Sozen says.

- Clyde Hughes and Emil Venere