Prof. Kyle Rollins has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to receive the H. Bolton Seed Medal. The Seed Medal is awarded for cumulative distinguished contributions in teaching, research, and practice in the field of geotechnical earthquake engineering.
Prof. Rollins pioneered the use of “controlled blasting” in which a series of explosive charges are detonated to simulate the phenomenon of liquefaction, where sand is turned to quicksand during an earthquake. This technique was extensively used by Rollins in a $4 million field test program sponsored by the New Zealand Earthquake Commission to determine the most cost-effective techniques for preventing liquefaction. Liquefaction led to $13 billion in losses and the condemnation of over 15,000 houses during earthquakes in Christchurch between 2010-11. Controlled blasting has now been used in full-scale field research projects conducted in Japan, Canada, China, Italy, and the US to evaluate the behavior of pipelines, foundations, slopes, and ground improvement methods in liquefiable sand.
The award is named in honor of H. Bolton Seed, a highly regarded civil engineering professor at UC-Berkeley, widely considered to be the father of geotechnical earthquake engineering. Prof. Rollins will deliver the Seed Memorial lecture at the ASCE Geo-Institute annual congress in Vancouver, Canada in February 2024. Rollins conducted his Ph.D. work under the direction of Prof. Seed in the late 1980s.