Science & Technology

USU Engineering Professor Named 2024 ASCE Prakash Lecturer Award for Geotechnical Work

By Sydney Dahle |

Brady Cox this year's recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers Prakash Lecturer Award for outstanding research or professional practice contributions in the area of geotechnical engineering or soil dynamics.

Utah State University Professor Brady Cox is this year’s recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers Prakash Lecturer Award for outstanding research or professional practice contributions in the area of geotechnical engineering or soil dynamics. Only one person is selected annually.

“This is such an honor,” Cox said. “Dr. Prakash was a wonderful professor and I have deep gratitude for the opportunity to receive this award in his name.”

Cox is a geotechnical engineering professor in the USU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. As a part of his award, Cox presented research findings on seismic site response analyses during the ASCE Geo-Institute Conference.

“The soil is like a musical instrument that resonates when its string is plucked,” Cox said. “We want to know what note the ground is going to play when an earthquake strikes. Similarly, buildings resonate at a certain frequency when the ground moves; however, we don’t want the ground and building to resonate at the same frequency. That can lead to catastrophic damage.”

Cox is also the founding director of the Utah Earthquake Engineering Center. In 2023, the Utah Legislature dedicated $2.5 million to initiate this center, which aims to proactively seek engineering solutions to limit deaths, dollars and downtime caused by large seismic events within the state.

“Brady is a great addition to our department and we are pleased with his great contributions to USU,” said Marv Halling, CEE department head. “We are lucky to have him.”

A study conducted in 2015 revealed that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake along the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch Fault would result in approximately

  • 2,500 deaths.
  • 8,000 injuries.
  • 84,000 displaced households.
  • 330,000 households without drinking water for 90-plus days.
  • $33 billion in economic losses.

Confronting these statistics means recognizing that much of Utah’s residents and infrastructure reside along major fault lines.

“Utah is a state with significant seismic hazard,” Cox said. “The recent, moderate-size magnitude 5.7 Magna Earthquake that occurred near Salt Lake City on March 18, 2020, caused over $600 million in damage. Effects from the Magna Earthquake are even more shocking when viewed with an understanding that Utah’s ‘big one,’ an expected 7.0-plus magnitude earthquake, would release approximately 90 times more energy than the Magna earthquake.”

For more information about Cox and the Utah Earthquake Engineering Center, visit https://engineering.usu.edu/cee/research/labs/utah-earthquake-engineering-center/.

WRITER

Sydney Dahle
Public Relations Specialist
College of Engineering
435-797-7512
sydney.dahle@usu.edu

CONTACT

Brady Cox
Professor
Civil & Environmental Engineering Department
435-797-0992
brady.cox@usu.edu


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