NAE's Marcuson to discuss current practices in embankment dam design and analysis

Published: Feb 27, 2009 7:37:00 AM
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National Academy of Engineering member William F. Marcuson, III will deliver a lecture, "Seismic Design and Analysis of Embankment Dams: The State of Practice," on Monday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. in 1122 Shelby Center. The university community is invited to attend Marcuson's lecture, sponsored by the Department of Civil Engineering.

Marcuson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1996 for his contributions to the design and analysis of embankment dams. As indicated by the title, he will be presenting an overview of current practices in this area. Earth embankment dams are fundamental part of much of our infrastructure, including reservoirs for drinking water, canals for navigation or levees for flood protection. Embankment dams must be properly designed to resist earthquake ground motions to prevent catastrophic flooding of populated areas after an earthquake.

Marcuson's visit reflects one of the core components of Auburn's strategic plan, approved by its Board of Trustees in June 2008, which calls for increasing interaction with members of the national academies. Auburn's engineering faculty currently boasts two members of the National Academy of Engineering, Oliver Kingsley and C.T. Liu, as well as an associate of the National Research Council, engineering faculty member Juan Gilbert.

Marcuson received his bachelor's degree from the Citadel, his master's degree from Michigan State University and his doctorate from North Carolina State University, all in civil engineering. He joined the staff of the Waterways Experiment Station in 1970, where his research focused on soil behavior related to geotechnical problems, seismic design and analysis of embankment dams, and seismically-induced liquefaction of soils. He served as director of the Geotechnical Laboratory from 1981 until his retirement in 2000, where he was responsible for research and development in soil mechanics, engineering geology, rock mechanics, earthquake engineering, geophysics, military pavements and Army mobility.

Marcuson is a consultant on geotechnical problems and projects, especially those involving seismic remediation, ground improvement and dam safety, to numerous organizations, both nationally and internationally. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Mississippi and South Carolina, a Chartered Engineer in the United Kingdom, and a Fellow and Honorary Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He served ASCE on the Board of Direction from 1989 to 1992 and as vice president from 1998 to 2000.