C. Allin Cornell


C. (Carl) Allin Cornell (September 19, 1938 – December 14, 2007) was a civil engineer, a researcher, and a professor who made important contributions to reliability theory and earthquake engineering and, along with Dr. Luis Esteva, developed the field of Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis in 1968.[1]

C. Allin Cornell
CAllinCornell atStanford gray.png
C.A. Cornell while at Stanford University
Born(1938-09-19)19 September 1938
Mobridge, South Dakota, USA
Died14 December 2007(2007-12-14) (aged 69)
Alma materStanford University
Known forProbabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis
AwardsNorman Medal (1983,2003)
H.F. Reid Medal (2001)
G.W. Housner Medal (2003)
Scientific career
FieldsEarthquake engineering
InstitutionsStanford University
Doctoral advisorJack Benjamin


Cornell was born in Mobridge, South Dakota in 1938. He received his A.B. in architecture in 1960 and M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering in 1961 and 1964 respectively, all at Stanford University. He held a professorship at the MIT from 1964 to 1983, and in 1983 became a Research Professor at Stanford University. He was awarded the Moisseiff Award (1977), two Norman Medals (1983, 2003), and the Freudenthal Medal (1988) from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He also received the Harry Fielding Reid Medal of the Seismological Society of America (SSA) in 2001, and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Housner Medal in 2003. He was a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2002) and Member of the National Academy of Engineering (1981).[2][3][4] His wife was Dr. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, formerly chair of Stanford's Department of Management Science and Engineering, and one of his five children is Eric Allin Cornell Nobel Laureate in Physics.

He is best known for his 1968 seminal paper "Engineering Seismic Risk Analysis" that started the field of Probabilistic Seismic Hazard analysis (PSHA), his work in reliability especially on second-moment methods and reliability-based code calibration, and his development of the probabilistic framework for performance-based earthquake engineering that became the unifying equation of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center. His 1971 book, Probability, Statistics, and Decision for Civil Engineers (coauthored with Jack Benjamin), exposed an entire generation of civil and structural engineering students to the field of probabilistic modeling and decision analysis, and remains a standard reference for students and researchers to this day.

As of 2011, the International Civil Engineering Risk and Reliability Association (CERRA) has renamed its quadrennial scientific recognition award as the C. Allin Cornell Award,[5] in honor of its first recipient.


Jack Baker (Ph.D.) Hugh Banon (M.Sc.) Paolo Bazzurro (Ph.D.) Jorge Carballo (Ph.D.)
Peter Chu-Chuan Tsai (Ph.D.) Ross Corotis (Ph.D.) Rabi De (Ph.D.) Mike Fardis (M.Sc.)
LeRoy Fitzwater (Ph.D.) Mircea Grigoriu (Ph.D.) Yves Guenard (Ph.D.) Ron Harichandran (M.Sc.)
Shou Nien Hou (Ph.D.) Yaacob Ibrahim (Ph.D.) Iunio Iervolino (M.Sc.) Takashi Inoue (M.Sc.)
Fatemeh Jalayer (Ph.D.) Ashish Karamchandani (Ph.D.) Bob Kilcup (Ph.D.) Rich Larrabee (Ph.D.)
Nicolas Luco (Ph.D.) Lance Manuel (Ph.D.) Yuji Nakamura (M.Sc.) Robin McGuire (Ph.D.)
Hanz Merz (M.Sc.) Jong Peir (Ph.D.) Douglas Schmucker (Ph.D.) Robert Sewell (Ph.D.)
Nilesh Shome (Ph.D.) Keto Soosaar (Ph.D.) Gabriel Toro (Ph.D.) Polsak Tothong (Ph.D.)
Dimitrios Vamvatsikos (Ph.D.) Erik Vanmarcke (Ph.D.) Daniele Veneziano (Ph.D.) Steve Winterstein (Ph.D)
Shen-Chyun Wu (Ph.D.) Gee Liek Yeo (Ph.D.) Alejandro Barrios (M.Sc) Gregory B Baecher (Ph.D.)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cornell C.A. (1968). Engineering Seismic Risk Analysis. "Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America", 58(5):1583-1606.
  2. ^ Corotis R.B. (2008). In Memoriam - C. Allin Cornell. "Structural Safety", 30:181-182. doi:10.1016/j.strusafe.2008.01.001
  3. ^ Corotis R.B., McGuire R.K., Baecher G.B. (2009). Eminent Structural Engineer: Dr C. Allin Cornell (1938-2007). "Structural Engineering International", 2:220-221. http://www.elearning-iabse.org/board/EminentEng/C.%20Allin%20Cornell_2_2009.pdf
  4. ^ McGuire R.K., Hanks T.C., Baker J.W. (2008). Eminent Structural Engineer: Dr C. Allin Cornell (1938-2007). "Earthquake Spectra", 24(2):559-562. http://scitation.aip.org/getpdf/servlet/GetPDFServlet?filetype=pdf&id=EASPEF000024000002000559000001&idtype=cvips
  5. ^ CERRA awards. http://www.ce.berkeley.edu/projects/cerra/CERRA_Awards.html

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