Warren Lecture Series Home

The Warren Lecture Series is made possible by a generous, renewing gift by Alice Warren Gaarden in 1961. Since 1989, we have been bringing in accomplished researchers and speakers from around the world to share their work with students, faculty, and friends of CEGE. Please join us for these lectures!

In-person presentations are held in the George J. Schroepfer conference Theater, 210 Civil Engineering Building, Fridays at 10:10 a.m. 
Presentations are also streamed live. 

Recordings are available on the CEGE YouTube channel, Warren Lecture Series playlist , where you can search past lectures.

Upcoming Warren Lectures

Tthe Warren Lecture Series will take a break over the summer.
Watch for more great engineering information coming in the fall. Until then, you can browse our recorded sessions.

There are no upcoming events matching your criteria.

Past Warren Lectures

Environmental Justice with Kimberly Jones

"Environmental justice: Role of science, engineering, and policy in ensuring equity in urban water systems"

ABSTRACT: Urban environments, particularly rapidly developing centers such as the Washington, D.C. area, with its close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, are important testbeds to develop systemic, equitable access to environmental services such as green infrastructure and safe, reliable drinking water. Science and engineering solutions must be integrated with policy in order to conceptualize and implement solutions that meet the needs of disparate and competing jurisdictions. Importantly, these solutions must be effectively communicated to all stakeholders. In this talk,  Jones discusses various issues around environmental justice and equity in the water sector.

Dr. Kimberly L. Jones is Associate Provost and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Howard University in Washington, DC. She holds a B.S in Civil Engineering from Howard University, a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Jones’ research interests include developing membrane processes for environmental applications, physical-chemical processes for water and wastewater treatment, remediation of emerging contaminants, global drinking water quality, environmental justice, and environmental nanotechnology.

Warren Lecture with Amir AghaKouchak

"Compound Hazards: Typology, Risk and Attribution"

Amir AghaKouchak
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California, Irvine

ABSTRACT: Ground-based observations and model simulations show substantial increases in extreme events including rainfall events, droughts, wildfires, hot spells, and heatwaves. A key step toward improving our societal resilience is to identify emerging patterns of climate extremes and natural hazards. This requires a better understanding of tempo-spatial characteristics of natural hazards and also the interactions between different hazards in a changing climate.  A combination of climate events (e.g., high temperatures and high humidity, or low precipitation and high temperatures) may cause a significant impact on the ecosystem and society, although individual events involved may not be severe extremes themselves – a notion known as a compound event (e.g., extreme rain over burned areas, combined ocean and terrestrial flooding). This presentation focuses on three different types of compound events including drought-heatwaves, sea level rise-terrestrial flooding, and meteorological-anthropogenic drought. AghaKouchak presents different methodological frameworks and perspectives for detecting, modeling, and risk assessment of compound and cascading events. AghaKouchak then discuss new frameworks for attribution of compound hazards.

Warren Lecture with Stefan Llewellyn Smith

"Convection beyond Rayleigh and Bénard"

Stefan G. Llewellyn Smith
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University California San Diego

ABSTRACT: Rayleigh–Bénard convection is a canonical flow in fluid mechanics, with applications in industry, geophysics, astrophysics, and beyond. Investigations have examined linear and nonlinear stability as well as deriving analytical bounds on quantities of interest, while laboratory and numerical experiments have given insight into the behavior at large Rayleigh numbers. Generalizations such as the case of convection in porous media, as well as the effect of rotation and magnetic fields, can be found in textbooks. Smith discusses two less well-known cases. First, periodically-driven convection, in which the temperature along one boundary varies periodically in time. This case provides a model for heating of the waters of Lake Superior in Spring. Second, horizontal convection, in which the temperature (or buoyancy) varies along a horizontal boundary. This case offers a simplified model, for example, large-scale oceanic flows induced by horizontal buoyancy gradients. Smith reviews previous known results and presents more recent work on the stability and behavior of these flows.

Warren Lecture with Michael Levin

Michael Levin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on modeling connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and intelligent transportation systems to predict and optimize how these future technologies will affect travel demand and traffic flow. He uses traffic flow, transportation network analysis, and operations research methods to study these new technologies and their effects on cities.

Warren Lecture with Ameet Pinto

“Monitoring Microbes and Managing their Ecology in Drinking Water Systems”

ABSTRACT: Drinking water can contain tens of millions of diverse microbial cells in every liter. While most microbes in drinking water do not pose a human health risk, the presence of pathogenic microbes can have severe health implications and the underlying causes for microbial contamination can vary significantly. Developing strategies to avoid microbial contamination of drinking water is essential; there is also a need for a radical change in terms of how we detect and respond to failures. The existing paradigm of targeted microbial detection can result in sample-to-data time gap of more than two-three days. The application of molecular methods promises to change this, although key limitations (i.e., cost, expertise requirements, etc.) make their application for real-time microbial monitoring challenging. The ideal approach for monitoring drinking water would be to develop a sensitive and robust platform that can be deployed across the drinking water network and one that can stream data in real-time to consumers and to drinking water treatment plant operators. Pinto focuses on ongoing work on the development of low cost optical- and DNA sequencing-based methods for real-time microbial detection, quantitation, and characterization. Pinto also highlights important challenges that need to be overcome to realize the future of microbial monitoring in drinking water which will be real-time, autonomous, decentralized, and scalable.

Warren Lecture with Ahmed Elbanna

“Building the Earthquake Virtual Machine: Towards modeling sequence of earthquakes and aseismic slip (SEAS) with high resolution fault zone physics”

ABSTRACT: An active fault zone is home to a plethora of complex structural and geometric features that are expected to affect earthquake rupture nucleation, propagation, and arrest, as well as interseismic deformation, energy partitioning, radiation patterns, and focal mechanism interpretation. Due to the conundrum of scales involved in this problem, new advances in modeling, experiments, and field measurements are needed to reveal the interplay between fault zone inhomgeneities and source physics. In this talk, Elbanna applies FEBI, a hybrid finite element (FE)-spectral boundary integral (SBI) scheme, to explore modeling seismic and aseismic slip with high resolution fault zone physics. FEBI combines FEM and SBI through the consistent exchange of displacement and traction boundary conditions, thereby benefiting from the flexibility of FEM in handling problems with nonlinearities or small-scale heterogeneities and from the superior performance and accuracy of SBI. Time adaptivity to bridge the seismic and interseismic periods is achieved by implementing an alternating dynamic-quasidynamic formulations. Exact near-field truncation of the elastodynamic and elastostatic fields, enabled by the boundary integral formulation, allows FEBI to strategically allocate computational resources in a narrow region surrounding the fault zone that encompasses the small scale geometric or material complexities. Elbanna briefly presents three example applications of this new modeling framework: (1) Modeling dynamic ruptures in a fault zone with multiple discrete small-scale fractures, (2) Modeling of sequence of earthquakes and aseismic slip on a fault surface with evolving off-fault viscoplasticity, and (3) Modeling of sequence of earthquakes and aseismic slip on parallel faults that communicate with one another. The results suggest that fault zone pre-existing or evolving heterogeneities may significantly alter rupture characteristics, including rupture speed, energy dissipation, and high frequency generation, as well as seismicity pattern and fault stability. Elbanna discusses the implications of these results on the need for an integrated modeling-observation framework for understanding the co-evolution of fault, rheology, and stress in fault zones.

Warren Lecture with Mary F. Wheeler

"Dynamic adaptivity for coupled flow and geomechanics in unconventional reservoirs using a posteriori error estimation and spacetime modeling"

ABSTRACT: Coupled multiphase flow, geochemistry, and geomechanics models are receiving growing research interests for applications in unconventional reservoirs that include geological CO2 sequestration, geothermal and recently, hydrogen storage. These multiphysics and multiscale  simulations are computationally expensive and require preservation of physics, chemistry, and biology across spatial and temporal scales. In addition, these algorithms must be able to handle efficiently high performance computing, adaptive mesh refinement and highly nonlinear algebraic systems with rough coefficients. Additional computational issues include data extraction, optimization, uncertainty quantification, and machine learning. Wheeler discusses two high fidelity approaches that have been introduced for unconventional reservoirs that show promise for modeling reservoir energy production: a posteriori error estimation for coupling of multiphase and geomechanics and space time modeling for multiphase flow.

Mary F. Wheeler's expertise is in the numerical solution of coupled partial differential equations. Her research areas include modeling reactive and multiphase flows and parallel computations. 

Warren Lecture Series, Special Dexter Lecture with Hussam Mahmoud

Hussam Mahmoud
George T. Abell Professor in Infrastructure and Director, Structural Laboratory
Colorado State University
"Advances in Simulating the Response of Steel Structures under Fire
and Fire Following Earthquakes"

ABSTRACT: Fire ignitions in buildings during or immediately following an earthquake have been noted in previous seismic events. Records from past earthquakes show that the damage caused by the subsequent fire can be substantial, often exceeding the damage caused by the earthquake. The structure's vulnerability can be increased due to the sequential events. It is, therefore, imperative to consider the combination of these loading scenarios in the analysis and design of structures in high seismic regions. The development of guidelines and provisions require advances in analysis and testing tools that support understanding of individual components' performance and vulnerability of structural systems under fire following an earthquake. In this presentation, Mahmoud identifies state-of-the-art techniques developed to quantify vulnerability of steel structural elements and systems subjected to fire and fire following seismic events. These techniques include analytical formulations, finite element models, and advanced hybrid simulations. Code provisions and performance-based fire following earthquake engineering framework that facilitate design procedure for the multiple hazards, developed through the integration of these various techniques, are also introduced. Finally, Mahmoud concludes by highlighting a newly developed model for assessing wildfire risk to communities and its use for evaluating community risk to fire following earthquakes.

AAEES 2021 Kappe Lecture Series with David Dzombak

David Dzombak (AAEES 2021 Kappe Lecture)
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
"Climate Change Adaptation and Environmental Engineering: Evolving Practices and New Tools"

The climate is changing globally and across the U.S., with different types and extent of change in different regions. Observed changes include sustained deviation from long-term trends in atmospheric temperatures, water temperatures, precipitation amounts, drought duration, storm frequency, wind velocities, snow melt timing, flood frequency and characteristics, permafrost melting, and other phenomena. These changes are affecting civil and environmental infrastructure and leading to demand for modification of infrastructure designs and operations. New approaches are needed in infrastructure design and operation guidelines, codes, and procedures to account for changing climate conditions.

New tools are coming into use in infrastructure engineering for projection of changing climate conditions, especially downscaled global climate model (GCM) products. Depending on the type of engineering application and purpose of required future climate information, various climate model projections are being applied and utilized with different temporal and spatial resolutions, types of downscaled GCM products employed, and post-processing methods for calibration of the results to regional and local scale.

Dzombak examines the need and challenge of climate change projection in particular locations, the scale at which infrastructure engineering projects take place. Evolving practices and tools will be presented and demonstrated through some environmental engineering applications. The use of climate projection results, from several different GCMs and downscaled products and from an ensemble of multiple GCMs, will be explored in the context of the applications. The importance and utility of historical long-term observations for particular locations are also examined. Opportunities to access, learn about, and exploit these new tools for environmental engineering are discussed.

Warren Lecture Series, Special Katherine and Arthur Sehlin Lecture with Ronald Klemencic

Ron Klemencic, NAE
Chairman and CEO, Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA) 
"The Secret to Everything!"

Recognized as an industry leader and innovator, Ron Klemencic will share insights into the magic which has fueled his career. Graduating BSCE from Purdue in 1985 and MSCE from UC Berkeley in 1986, Klemencic is now Chairman and CEO of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, an internationally acclaimed structural and civil engineering practice. In addition, Klemencic served as Chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat for five years and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Charles Pankow Foundation, the most influential research funding organization supporting building construction in the United States.  His presentation is intended to inspire, motivate and cause all who attend to look at the world a bit differently.