A very brief history of earthquake engineering with emphasis on developments in and from the British Isles

Amr S. Elnashai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


One of the founders of modern earthquake engineering, George Housner, often states that it is too early to write a historical review of the development of this interesting and inter-disciplinary topic. This is indeed true, but without minor contributions along the line, the prospects of writing such a review diminish with time. The endeavour is certainly premature. Notwithstanding, the paper serves some useful purpose. It serves to remind engineers from Europe generally, and the British Isles specifically, that they are descendants of pioneers in earthquake engineering, a fact not widely known nor sufficiently publicised. The names of Robert Mallet and John Milne, alongside the early Japanese pioneers Sekiya, Suyehiro and Omori, feature very strongly around the late 1800s early 1900s. The Italian engineers Palmieri, Panetti and Danusso also made essential contributions at a critical time. For reasons that still prevail today, once an idea is implanted in the United States of America, it takes root so vigorously that its flourishing is attributed solely to the fertility of the medium. This is not necessarily disputable, but due recognition of the originator would perhaps encourage further cross-fertilisation.he fact still remains that Nathan Newmark, Bill Hall, Bruce Bolt and George Housner all made their mark from a US platform. But, since earthquakes know neither national nor technical-discipline boundaries, seismic risk mitigation efforts should also abandon these boundaries and deploy all means and efforts to protect communities threatened by earthquake risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)967-972
Number of pages6
JournalChaos, Solitons and Fractals
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • General Mathematics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics


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