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John A. Blume Distinguished Lecture - Ekkhard Ramm, "Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge - From the Beginning until Today"

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The presentation delves into the historical context of the Bay Area, focusing on the parallel construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, both initiated in 1933 after the Great Depression. At the beginning of his career, John Blume worked as a construction engineer for the Bay Bridge.

The lecture highlights the challenges faced during the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which opened in 1936. The Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 prompted extensive planning to replace the damaged eastern span, resulting in the iconic bridge opening in 2013. The second part explores the history of the Golden Gate Bridge, a project involving multiple counties and the City of San Francisco. It covers the controversial planning period led by Chief Engineer Joseph B. Strauss and details the construction and erection of the famous suspension bridge, which opened in 1937. The presentation also addresses significant challenges since then, including extreme wind loads, exposure to harsh environments, increased traffic, earthquake retrofitting, and the installation of a suicide deterrent system.


Ekkehard Ramm is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Stuttgart. After post-doc positions in Berkeley and Stuttgart he finished his habilitation and became an Associate Professor in 1976. He was promoted to Full Professor (Chair) in 1983 and was Head of the Institute of Structural Mechanics until his retirement in 2006. His research covers the full spectrum of structural mechanics and of its numerical environment with an emphasis on thin-walled structures, shells being a central theme in his works. He is the past President of the German Association for Computational Mechanics (GACM) and of the European Community on Computational Methods in Applied Sciences (ECCOMAS). In addition of his academic position he was a founder and partner in a consulting office in Stuttgart.

He is elected member of several Academies of Sciences, among them the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) and the US National Academy of Engineering. He received several awards, including two honorary doctorates (TU Munich, U Calgary), the Gauss-Newton Medal of the International Association for Computational Mechanics (IACM), and the Euler Medal of ECCOMAS.