William B. Joyner Memorial Lectures

The William B. Joyner Memorial Lectures were established by the Seismological Society of America (SSA) in cooperation with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) to honor Bill Joyner's distinguished career at the U.S. Geological Survey and his abiding commitment to the exchange of information at the interface of earthquake science and earthquake engineering, so as to keep society safer from earthquakes.

Intent of the Joyner Lecturer Award

Joyner Lecturers are chosen on the basis of their work at this interface, whether it involves contributions from earthquake science to earthquake engineering, or from earthquake engineering to earthquake science.

Joyner Lectures are normally presented at the Annual Meetings of the SSA and EERI. 

View past and present Joyner Recipients

Nomination Procedure

The deadline for 2017 Joyner Lecturer nominations is August 1, 2016.

Nominations can be made by any current member of EERI or SSA. The sponsor of the nominee, with the help from others, must clearly document the accomplishments of the nominee that foster and enhance communication at the earthquake-science/earthquake-engineering interface and why that person's work makes a difference.

The sponsor must prepare a written proposal providing a brief summary of the candidate's professional history. It may include honors, awards, professional affiliations, lectures and publications, and professional service and experience that address the intent of the Joyner Award

The Joyner Lecturer will be selected by the Joyner Committee by 1 October each year. Each Joyner Lecturer will provide a written version of the lecture suitable for publication in Earthquake Spectra and Seismological Research Letters. EERI and SSA will waive meeting registration fees for the Joyner Lecturer and provide travel funds to attend the annual meeting of each organization.

Nominations must be E-mailed or Mailed to:

E–mail: awards@seismosoc.org 

c/o Joyner Lecture Committee
Seismological Society of America
400 Evelyn Ave, Suite 201
Albany, CA 94706-1375

Joyner Lecture Recipients

2017: William R. Lettis

William R. Lettis has been selected as the William B. Joyner Memorial Lecturer for 2017. Lettis founded William Lettis & Associates, Inc. in 1990 and Lettis Consultants International, Inc. in 2011 to provide consultancy at the interface of earthquake science and earthquake engineering. He will deliver his lecture in April 2017 at the Seismological Society of America (SSA) Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado and in March 2017 at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Lettis has characterized seismic sources for probabilistic seismic hazard analyses for high-risk facilities at over 100 locations within the United States and throughout the world, in a range of seismic environments. His paleoseismic research on active faults has resulted in more than 100 publications and in guidance documents for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He is a current member of the National Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment Steering Committee and the California Geological Survey Mapping Committee. From 1996 to 2008, Dr. Lettis also served as co-chair for the American Nuclear Society Working Group Committee 2.27 to develop evaluation criteria for assessing seismic hazards for nuclear materials facilities. He has performed post-earthquake reconnaissance of numerous earthquakes worldwide, including as co-leader of the EERI 2001 Bhuj Earthquake Reconnaissance Team. Lettis' current interest is in developing models to capture uncertainty in earthquake behavior and ground motion parameters for seismic hazard assessment, including implementation of procedures from the Senior Seismic Hazard Analysis Committee (SSHAC).

2016: Jonathan P. Stewart

Jonathan P. Stewart is professor and chair of the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at UCLA. He was selected as the 2016 Joyner Lecturer in recognition of his work on the characterization of earthquake ground motions for engineering applications, with special emphasis on site response effects. He will deliver his lecture in April 2016 at the SSA Annual Meeting in Reno, NV and at the EERI Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Stewart has worked extensively at the interfaces of traditional disciplines, including seismology-engineering (on ground motions) and geotechnical-structural engineering (on soil-structure interaction). The work of his research teams has impacted the US National Seismic Hazard Maps; the Global Earthquake Model; building code documents (ASCE-7); and guidelines documents for existing structures (ASCE-41), soil-structure interaction (NIST, 2012), and seismic landslide hazards (SCEC, 2002). He is a former Chief Editor for the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering and is the current Editor of Earthquake Spectra. Previous recognition of Dr. Stewart’s work has included the Huber Prize and Casagrande Awards from ASCE, a Fulbright Scholarship from the US State Department, an NSF CAREER award, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCLA Academic Senate.

2015: Paul Somerville

Paul Somerville is an engineering seismologist at AECOM (formerly at its predecessor organizations, URS and Woodward-Clyde) in Los Angeles. He is also Chief Geoscientist at Risk Frontiers at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He has applied physics-based modeling methods to understand the influence of earthquake source and seismic wave propagation effects on strong ground motion. These include source effects such as rupture directivity and wave propagation effects such as Moho reflections that can give rise to unexpectedly large ground motions, which he experienced “live” in the 1989 Loma Prieta, 1994 Northridge and 1995 Kobe earthquakes. He has served on the Board of Directors for both the SSA and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, as manager of the Implementation Interface at the Southern California Earthquake Center, and is currently President of the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society. He has conducted seismic hazard analyses at sites of critical facilities in many parts of the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, New Zealand and Japan as well as the Americas. He has also been involved in the estimation of earthquake risk for insurers and government agencies in the Asia-Pacific region.

2014: David Boore

David Boore is a Geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. Dr. Boore has published over 260 papers, most dealing with various aspects of the problem of estimating the ground shaking from large earthquakes. The topics covered in these publications range from the seismic source to site response, with stops in between. Dr. Boore has served on a number of panels, boards, and committees including the Editorial Board of the Journal of Earthquake Engineering, U.S.-Japan Panel on Wind and Seismic Effects, the Department of Energy’s Tank Seismic Experts Panel, Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Ground Motion Guidelines project, Senior Seismic Hazard Analysis Committee, SSA Board of Directors, Editor-in-Chief of BSSA, International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior, and Commission on Strong Motion Seismology.

The U.S. Department of the Interior awarded Dr. Boore the Meritorious Service Award in 1993 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2005 in recognition of his research in many areas of engineering seismology. He is an AGU Fellow and an SSA honorary life member. In 2006 he was awarded the Indian Society of Earthquake Technology Trifunac Award for Significant Contributions in Strong Motion Earthquake Studies, and in 2010 he received the COSMOS/EERI/SSA Bruce A. Bolt medal. He is a coauthor on a paper given the Outstanding Paper of 2008 award by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI).

2013: Kelvin Berryman

Kelvin manages the newly-formed research platform that integrates all of New Zealand’s government-funded research in natural hazards. The portfolio ranges from geological and weather-related hazards integrated natural hazard risk, resilient engineering and infrastructure research, and societal and land-use planning aspects of natural hazard mitigation. Kelvin is a Principal Scientist at GNS Science with over 35 years’ experience in geological hazard research and consultancy. Kelvin is one of New Zealand’s leading earthquake geologists, with particular expertise in the behaviour of active faults and seismic hazard in the Pacific region. He has carried out probabilistic earthquake and tsunami hazard studies from site specific to the national scale. Recent work has focussed on hazard assessments for nuclear facilities in Australia and Japan. Kelvin is also a Principal Investigator in the GEM Faulted Earth - Global Active Fault and Seismic Source Database project. In June 2011 Kelvin was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours list as a Companion of the Order of the Queen’s Service Order for services to science and Canterbury earthquake recovery.

2012: Jonathan Bray

Jonathan D. Bray, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at UC Berkeley was selected as the 2012 Joyner Lecturer. He delivered his lecture at the SSA Annual Meeting in April 2012 in San Diego, CA. Dr. Bray was chosen because of his scientific and engineering research and exchange of information regarding liquefaction effects, the effects of surface fault rupture, and the safe siting and design of facilities near active faults. He has extensive experience serving at the interface of earthquake science and earthquake engineering. Dr. Bray is the chair of the NSF-sponsored Geo-Engineering Engineering Reconnaissance program, which has a goal to improve post-earthquake understanding and turn disaster into knowledge. He has published many papers on the interactions of buildings on or near surface faulting events. He has been recognized by several organizations for his work to improve seismic safety.

2011: Tom Hanks

Thomas C. Hanks, Research Geophysicist at the Menlo Park, CA office of the U.S. Geological Survey, was selected as the 2011 Joyner Lecturer. He delivered his lecture at the SSA April 2011 Annual Meeting in Memphis, TN. Hanks? research has ranged widely across the causes and effects of earthquakes, including studies of earthquake source parameters and magnitude scales, earthquake ground motion, the morphological evolution of fault scarps, and seismic hazard analysis. For the past five years, he has led, with previous Joyner Lecturer Norm Abrahamson, the Extreme Ground Motion Research Program, a five-year study of the origin, nature, and plausibility of extreme ground motions at Yucca Mountain. Extreme ground motions refer to the extremely large earthquake ground motions that can occur at extremely low probabilities of exceedance and was the subject of his Joyner Lecture.

2010: Arthur Frankel

Arthur D. Frankel, Research Geophysicist in the Seattle office of the U.S. Geological Survey, was selected as the 2010 Joyner Lecturer. He delivered his lecture at the SSA April 2010 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Frankel’s work provides the crucial bridge at the interface of earthquake science and engineering to produce the national seismic hazard maps. Dr. Frankel and his team draw upon a wide body of results from earth science research and earthquake monitoring. These data are used as the definitive basis for the National Seismic Hazard Design Maps. The design maps are in turn used in the seismic safety elements of model building codes adopted by communities in the United States to protect society from earthquakes.

2009: Robin McGuire

Robin K. McGuire, Ph.D., Founder and President of Risk Engineering Inc., was the 2009 Joyner Lecturer. He delivered his lecture at the SSA 2009 Annual Meeting in Monterey, California. McGuire holds degrees in structural engineering from MIT and Univ. of California, Berkeley. For 30 years he has been consulting in seismic hazard analysis, earthquake engineering, and the application of probabilistic methods to engineering problems. Dr. McGuire has also developed earthquake hazard software that is used around the world in engineering, insurance, risk management, government and research for seismic hazard estimation. Over one hundred of his papers and articles on these topics have been published in technical journals or as technical reports. Dr. McGuire is a past president of the Seismological Society of America, and has served on the Board of Directors for both the SSA and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. He has conducted seismic hazard analyses at sites of major engineering facilities at over 100 locations within the U.S. and at over 30 locations in foreign countries, in a range of technical environments. Dr. McGuire was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2007.

2008: Chris Poland

Chris Poland was the Joyner Lecturer for 2008. He is Chairman and CEO of Degenkolb Engineers, one of the nation's leading structural engineering firms. His research has contributed to the development of federal standards for seismic evaluations and mitigation for all federal buildings and numerous guidelines related to earthquake hazard reduction activities such as the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Series Program (NEHRP) handbooks for the seismic evaluation of existing buildings. He has participated in numerous policy-changing research projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Research Council of the National Academy of Engineering. His Joyner Lecture is entitled "Transparent Seismic Mitigation for Community Resilience."

2007: Gail Atkinson

Gail Atkinson was the Joyner Lecturer for 2007. She is Professor of Geophysics at University of Western Ontario and has spent much of her career working at the engineering-seismology interface. She has authored more than 100 research articles on the subjects of earthquake ground motions and seismic hazards; among these are well-known prediction equations for ground-motion amplitudes as a function of magnitude and distance that have been used in national seismic hazard maps for both the United States and Canada. She is a past president of SSA and served as Chair of the SSA Eastern Section. Her Joyner lecture was entitled "Earthquake ground motions: The Myths and the Mysteries."

2006: Norm Abrahamson

Norm Abrahamson was the Joyner Lecturer for 2006, the Centennial Year of the San Francisco earthquake and the founding of the SSA. Norm brings a very pragmatic approach to ground-motion estimation, with a keen sense of what the engineering community needs to know and a remarkable ability, through his rapport with the seismological community, to obtain this information, whatever the issue may be. In recent years, Norm has contributed to the 1998 PSHA for Yucca Mountain and the Geological Survey's 2003 earthquake probabilities report for the San Francisco Bay area. His ongoing work includes extreme ground motions at Yucca Mountain and the new generation of attenuation models. 

2005: Allin Cornell

The 2005 Joyner Lecturer was C. Allin Cornell. Allin is best known for original and continuing work on probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA), now recognized for its great power in synthesizing earth-sciences data, models, and uncertainties in probabilistic portrayals. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is past President of the SSA (1989-1990) and received the Medal of the Seismological Society, now the Harry Fielding Reid Medal, in 2003. Allin has also been the EERI Distinguished lecturer (1999) and received the Housner Medal from EERI in 2003. Allin presented his Joyner Lecture, entitled "Quantifying the Seismology-Engineering Interface" at the EERI meeting in February, 2005, and at the SSA meeting in April, 2005.

2004: Lloyd Cluff

Joyner Lecturers are chosen on the basis of their work at the interface of earthquake science and earthquake engineering, whether they be contributions from earthquake science to earthquake engineering or from earthquake engineering to earthquake science. In the case of Lloyd Cluff, the first Joyner Lecturer, it is hard to decide which way the arrow points. His many friends and colleagues in the earthquake sciences are proud to call him their own, as evidenced by his being President of SSA (1982-1983) and recipient of the John Wesley Powell Award from the U.S. Geological Survey in 2000. His many friends and colleagues in the earthquake engineering fields feel exactly the same way, having elected Lloyd President of EERI (1993-1995). It should come as no surprise at all, then, that Lloyd has also been President of the Association of Engineering Geologists (1968-1969) and Chairman of the California Seismic Safety Commission (1988-1990).