Steven L. Kramer, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, a professor at the University of Washington and superior researcher and author, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2020 class of Distinguished Members for his pioneering contributions to geotechnical earthquake engineering and for educating generations of geotechnical engineers.
Kramer’s gifts to the profession have come hand-in-hand with his leadership in the development of performance-based geotechnical earthquake engineering concepts through his work with the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center. He is widely known for his landmark textbook, “Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering,” which is considered the definitive work in the field, and for his research in the areas of liquefaction, seismic slope stability and performance-based earthquake engineering.
He originated the first procedures for probabilistic liquefaction hazard analysis and developed tools for practicing geotechnical engineers, such as EduShake and ProShake, the first Windows-based computer programs for seismic site response analysis, and WSliq, a Windows-based program for performing scenario-based and performance-based liquefaction hazard analyses. In 2000 he developed the Soil Liquefaction website, which is a widely used information source for engineers and the public.
Kramer leads the geotechnical engineering program at UW with a special focus on earthquake engineering and has supervised 47 Ph.D. and M.S. students.
He has been active in consulting on major projects. He led investigations that revealed seismic vulnerability of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, in Seattle, and its adjacent seawall. That investigation helped lead to the eventual reconstruction of Seattle Seawall and construction of a waterfront tunnel to replace the viaduct in 2019. More recently, he served as neutral expert for the team mediating settlement-related litigation for the Millennium Tower in San Francisco and as an international consultant to an independent committee examining the causes and responsibilities for the 2019 failure of the Corrego de Feijao tailings dam in Brumadinho, Brazil.
He is a member of EERI, TRB, SSA and the U.S. Universities Council on Geotechnical Engineering Research, where he served on the Board of Directors. For ASCE he chaired the Conference Coordination Committee and was an editorial board member for the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. He currently serves the Geo-Institute as a member of its Awards Committee and the Technical Coordination Council.
Kramer chaired the organizing committee member for the 2008 ASCE specialty conference on Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics. He also helped organize the U.S.-Taiwan Workshop on Soil Liquefaction in 2003. He has been on the faculty of the ROSE School, University of Pavia, Italy, from 2007 till present.
Kramer received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1988. ASCE has previously recognized Kramer with five honors: the Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award (1991), Walter Huber Research Prize (1996), Norman Medal (2009, 2017) and H. Bolton Seed Medal (2018). The Nigel Priestly Prize was awarded him in 2016 from the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering, and the Sociedad Mexicana de Ingenieria Geotechnica gave him their highest honor, the Nabor Carillo Lectureship, in 2018 Earlier this year, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
Kramer earned three degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.
Read an ASCE Journal article by Kramer.