SJSU Remembers Alumnus, Former Instructor, and World-Renowned Earthquake Expert

SJSU Remembers Alumnus, Former Instructor, and World-Renowned Seismic Safety Expert

SJSU Remembers Alumnus, Former Instructor, and World-Renowned Earthquake Expert

Helmut Krawinkler

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Helmut Krawinkler, an SJSU alumnus and former lecturer at the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering who went on to make extraordinary and lasting contributions to earthquake safety, died suddenly at his home in Los Altos April 16 while undergoing follow-up treatment for a brain tumor.

Krawinkler, 72, fundamentally changed the process of evaluating seismic safety and damage potential. Just this month, he was recognized by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute with its George W. Housner Medal, the most prestigious award of the institute, granted only by unanimous vote of its board.

Krawinkler graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the Technical University of Vienna in 1964. From 1965 to 1967, he studied under a Fulbright Fellowship before enrolling at California State University, San Jose, to pursue his master’s degree in structural engineering.

He earned his doctorate from Berkeley in 1971, and served as assistant research engineer there from 1971 to 1972 and as lecturer at San Jose State from 1972 to 1973. He became an assistant professor at Stanford in 1973 where he served on the faculty until his retirement in 2007.

Read more from the Stanford School of Engineering.