NEES Site Receives Media Awards

11/9/2010 10:50:00 AM

The NEES equipment site, based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) was honored at Quake Summit 2010 for producing a series of videos explaining the earthquake engineering performed at the site and a photo depicting testing.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), NEES is the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, a shared network of 14 unique experimental equipment facilities, collaborative tools, a centralized data repository, and earthquake simulation software. Quake Summit 2010 was a joint meeting of NEES and the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center headquartered at UC-Berkeley. Various media awards were presented at the event. 

The video project, Test on a 1/20th Scale Bridge Pier Subjected to Shear, won in the category of Educational Videos. Funded by a $60,000 grant from NSF, the project was directed by Professor Dan Kuchma, with video editing performed by Aditya Bhagath, a CEE graduate student in structures. Additional content was developed by Thomas Frankie, a CEE PhD student in structures, with technical assistance from Pluta. Bhagath and other graduate students fabricated small-scale specimens for use in the video; ran the tests; and captured, produced and managed the media. The team also engaged the help of Nancy Benson, associate professor of journalism in the University of Illinois’ College of Media and broadcast journalist, to help create a more engaging, professional product, Pluta says.
The result is 33 completed minutes of video edited into 20 separate segments designed with five target audiences in mind: kindergarten through 12th grade, undergraduate student, graduate student, practitioner, and researcher. A software interface is being developed that will select appropriate videos based on users’ level of understanding. Additional education modules to accompany the videos are also being developed. 
The award-winning photo (above), Beam-Column Connection Test, won in the category Best Photo Depicting Research. It was taken in September 2009 by Greg Pluta, Illinois NEES Operations Manager, and depicts work done for a project led by Professor Amr S. Elnashai entitled   "Hybrid Testing of Semi-Rigid Steel Frames." 
“It’s a hybrid test, so it includes both experimental and computational elements,” Pluta says. “It also demonstrates one of the key missions of the NEES program, which is to advance the area of performance-based design by doing very precise, controlled experiments that are realistic and provide a more complete understanding of structural response under seismic loading.”

Contact/Writer: Celeste Arbogast Bragorgos, director of communications, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 217/333-6955.

If you have any questions about the College of Engineering, or other story ideas, contact Rick Kubetz, Engineering Communications Office, 217/244-7716, editor. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.