Abdoun Named Iovino Professor at Rensselaer
Geotechnics and earthquake expert Tarek Abdoun has been
named the Judith and Thomas Iovino ’73 Career Development
Professor in Civil Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute. The endowed professorship is one of the highest
honors bestowed on a Rensselaer faculty member.
“Professor Abdoun has made and continues to make
important contributions to Rensselaer, his department, and the
international community of civil engineering,” said Rensselaer
Provost Robert Palazzo. “From his modeling research into better
understanding the tragic levee failure in New Orleans after
Hurricane Katrina, to his excellent mentoring of students,
Tarek’s contributions make him an invaluable member of the
Rensselaer community and an excellent choice for the Iovino
After receiving his master’s and doctoral degrees in
geotechnical engineering from Rensselaer, Abdoun ’97 joined the
Institute faculty in 1998 as a research assistant professor in
the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He
was named an assistant professor in 2004 and an associate
professor in 2005. He has served since 1998 as manager of
Rensselaer’s Geotechnical Centrifuge Research Center.
Abdoun’s primary research interests include centrifuge
modeling, soil-structure interaction, soil remediation, field
advanced sensing, and data visualization. He has performed
hundreds of modeling tests using Rensselaer’s 150 g-ton
geotechnical centrifuge to study the resilience and
sustainability of national infrastructure.
Abdoun led Rensselaer’s physical modeling research team that
clarified the failure mechanisms of some of the New Orleans
levees during Hurricane Katrina, providing critical feedback to
the corresponding numerical analyses. For this research, he
received in 2007 the Commander’s Award for Public Service with
accompanying medal from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This
medal, one of the highest awards given to civilians by the
Army, was for his outstanding contributions to the rebuilding
of the New Orleans levees ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
In 2008, Abdoun received the Shamsher Prakash Research Award
for Excellence in the Practice of Geotechnical Engineering from
the Shamsher Prakash Foundation. In 2009, Abdoun received the
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Walter L. Huber
Civil Engineering Research Prize. The award was given in
recognition of his significant contributions to the study of
soil and soil-structure systems subjected to extreme events
using centrifuge modeling and advanced instrumentation, as well
as his innovative and creative research.
Abdoun received Rensselaer’s 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008
School of Engineering Excellence in Research & Teaching
Award, as well as a Rensselaer Early Career Award in May 2007.
He also received the 2004 Casimir Gzowski Medal from the
Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. Abdoun is a member of
journal editorial boards, including the Journal of
Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.
Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161