Equipped with a decade of professional experience in structural engineering, Dorian’s PhD research focuses on developing a framework for designing earthquake resilient structures. Dorian views public outreach and education as essential to translating research into engineering practice. He organizes Earthquake Day, a public event at the Vancouver Public Library, in collaboration with the City of Vancouver. Dorian wrote a blog post on the topic for us.
Typical structural systems used to resist earthquake loads are not resilient. In the event of a major ground shaking, they are expected to be severely damaged and difficult to repair. This causes prolonged downtime and indirect economic losses. The objective of my research is to develop earthquake resilient structures by using specially designated fuses to dissipate the sudden surge of earthquake energy. Similar to electrical fuses, these designated fuses can be easily inspected and repaired. This type of structures can significantly shorten downtime and ease recovery efforts. In my research, I will conduct advanced experimental testing to validate my developed structures. I will also provide practical design procedure for the engineering community to implement earthquake resilient structures.
What does being a Public Scholar mean to you?
To me, being a Public Scholar means the responsibility and ability to transfer or translate advanced knowledge so that it is conceivable and comprehensible to the general public. To excel in this task, a Public Scholar needs to be not only knowledgeable in his/her profession, but also well rounded, approachable, and creative.
In what ways do you think the PhD experience can be re-imagined with the Public Scholars Initiative?
It is typical to go through the entire Ph.D. program working only with the people of similar academic background. It is a safe and comfortable environment. However, it lacks the interaction with other disciplines. In modern world, the ability to convey one’s idea to another field is essential. PSI consists of students from all background. Being a part of PSI, I will have the inter-disciplinary opportunity to network and broaden my Ph.D. experience.
How do you envision connecting your PhD work with broader career possibilities?
There are various aspects of my Ph.D. work. The ability to develop earthquake resilient structures is vital to be an innovative practicing structural engineer. This skill sets me apart from the code-user type of engineers. The ability to conduct hybrid simulation is useful in the research community because resources are limited. This testing methodology allows more tests to be conducted.
How does your research engage with the larger community and social partners?
Earthquakes and their associated risks are very relevant to the living in Vancouver due to its geologic location. With recent earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, Vancouverites are becoming more concern about the issue. My research which focuses on developing technologies to reduce earthquake risks intuitively engages with the community by serving its needs. As my research progress, it is important to make the public aware of the new technologies so that the society can benefit from them.
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I was a practicing structural engineer for 9 years before returning to school. Although my job was to provide public safety by means of structural design, I felt that it was not impactful enough to the general public. I am always interested in the betterment of our society. Pursuing a Ph.D. degree gives me the opportunity to conduct research to answer critical design questions. My work has the potential to affect the engineering community worldwide.
Why did you choose to come to British Columbia and study at UBC?
UBC has a long history of earthquake engineering research. Many world renowned professors have been and some still are working in the Department of Civil Engineering. The laboratory has unparalleled resources in both hardware and software when compared to the others in the nation. To study earthquake engineering, it is an intuitive choice for me to come to UBC.
I was a practicing structural engineer for 9 years before returning to school. Although my job was to provide public safety by means of structural design, I felt that it was not impactful enough to the general public. I am always interested in the betterment of our society.