Stephen A. Mahin, professor emeritus of structural engineering at the University of California, Berkeley whose earthquake engineering expertise was recognized worldwide, has died at 71.
Mahin, Ph.D., M.ASCE, was the founding director of the Computational Modeling and Simulation Center of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure, launched in 2016 and funded by the National Science Foundation. Under his guidance, the SimCenter’s researchers advance simulation methods to reduce effects of natural hazards on the built environment, providing vital information to decision makers down to the community level.
Mahin also served on the board of the International Joint Research Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. He was director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center from 2009-15.
In 1983 he was awarded the ASCE Walter Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize for his practical application of rigorous theory to complex engineering problems. A seminal paper on offshore platforms’ seismic behavior earned him ASCE’s Norman Medal in 1987 and entry into the ASCE/OTC Hall of Fame in 2011.
After earning his degrees at Berkeley, Mahin joined its faculty, eventually serving as chair of the Structural Engineering, Mechanics, and Materials Program. The many students he mentored recall how he taught them to see problems with 10 solutions instead of one.
Mahin’s hundreds of journal articles, papers, and reports reflect his expansive research. He sought to better understand seismic behavior of systems by integrating high-performance numerical and experimental simulation methods.
Mahin was president of the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering from 1994-96.