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Engineering professor invited to lecture in Malaysia
The primary objective of the new seismic design concepts being developed by Stephen Pessiki and other ATLSS researchers is to ensure the safety of persons inside buildings during earthquakes.

Stephen Pessiki, a professor of structural engineering in the department of civil and environmental engineering, travelled to Malaysia recently for a global conference on the sustainability of the built environment.

An expert in the behavior and design of structures, Pessiki was one of three plenary speakers invited to the 2012 International Conference on Civil, Offshore, and Environmental Engineering (ICCOEE) in Kuala Lampur.

Pessiki’s lecture, “New Developments in Seismic Design of Building Structures,” focused on the differences between traditional seismic construction and unbonded post-tensioned construction.

Many new concepts in seismic design, based on research conducted at Lehigh’s ATLSS (Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems) Engineering Research Center by Pessiki, James Ricles and Richard Sause, are now being implemented in the United States and abroad.

These concepts, says Pessiki, offer greater protection against damage and economic loss during an earthquake while preserving the design’s primary objective: Ensuring the safety of people who are inside a building when a seismic event occurs.

A road frequently traveled

In Kuala Lampur, Pessiki also served as a member of the conference advisory committee and as a panelist for a forum titled “Blue Ocean, Green Action: Advancing Sustainability.” The forum examined the business aspects of issues ranging from climate change and carbon emissions to the more efficient use of energy, water and material resources.

Pessiki described the efforts of U.S. companies that are using the sustainable seismic design developed at Lehigh to pursue new business opportunities.

The ICCOEE is one of eight conferences convened by the World Engineering, Science and Technology Congress and organized by the Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP). Both UTP and Lehigh are members of the Global Engineering Education Exchange (GE3), a consortium of leading universities partnering to create study-abroad experiences for highly qualified students.

The trip to Malaysia is a road often taken for Pessiki, who’s been traveling there since 2010 with faculty and students to explore research collaborations through Lehigh’s office of international affairs (OIA). His future plans include a return trip to UTP with a group of undergraduate researchers.

Pessiki contributes to a broad spectrum of OIA activities including partnership and program development. As an adviser to The Botstiber Scholars Program, he guides a group of scholarship recipients chosen from Lehigh’s international applicant pool. The program seeks students who plan to return home and apply their Lehigh education for the betterment of their country.