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Lecture to explore quake-proof homes


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STEM Lecture Flier

“The Earthquake-Proof Home – Is It in Our Future?” Civil Engineering Professor Ben Fell will pose that fascinating question at this fall’s first STEM Lecture, 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in the University Union Redwood Room.

Fell’s lecture will focus on the efficacy of pairing enhanced engineering with off-the-shelf building materials to limit earthquake damage to conventional homes. It will draw upon 20 full-scale tests utilizing full-scale planar wall specimens subjected to earthquake-type loading. Fell and his students have worked for a year on this project, which involves researching alternative seismic fortification for light-frame (residential) structures.

That research flows from a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, in conjunction with Stanford University, to gauge the feasibility of strengthening residential structures by using more earthquake-resistant building materials.

Last spring, Fell received the President’s Research and Creative Activity Award for making significant scholarly contributions during the past five years and securing federal grants. He came to Sac State five years ago after completing his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis, in 2008. He received his master’s degree from Stanford and his bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has written extensively on the behavior of structures under seismic effects.

This scientific study underscores Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez’ praise that Fell’s research “is central to the University’s mission” of providing Sacramento State graduates with “practical hands-on education” that makes them so essential to the state and local economy.

For information call 278-2789 or visit For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-2776.

– Alan Miller