Fredric Raichlen, Engineer, Caltech Professor, and Tsunami Waves Expert, Dies at 82

March 30, 2015

RaichlenFredric Raichlen, Ph.D., F.ASCE, professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at the California Institute of Technology and expert on the mechanics of tsunamis, the waves created by underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other geologic events, died December 13, 2014, at his home in Pasadena, California. He was 82.

Dr. Raichlen was born in Baltimore, Md., and in 1962 joined the California Institute of Technology faculty. He was promoted to the rank of professor in 1972, and stayed with the school until his death. While he formally retired in 2002, he remained active working with Caltech colleagues, students, and consultants.

Results of Dr. Raichlen’s research on long waves and tsunamis provided the profession with a means of investigating harbor-ship dynamics in an exploratory manner without resorting to more costly laboratory investigation, and it was he who introduced the basic analytical methodology for understanding harbor resonance.

Raichlen earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In addition to ASCE, Raichlen was a member of numerous other professional organizations. In 1994, he received the ASCE John G. Moffatt–Frank E. Nichol Harbor and Coastal Engineering Award, and in 2003, the International Coastal Engineering Award.

Raichlen published 75 scientific works. Many of his research studies, including the coauthored “Propagation of Long Waves onto Shelf” and “Nonlinear Oscillations in Rectangular Tanks,” are posted on the ASCE Library website (www.ascelibrary.org), search “Raichlen.”

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