Faculty Profile

Gilbert A. A. Hegemier

Professor Emeritus, Structural Engineering

Earthquake engineering to retrofit bridges, roadways and buildings for improved public safety and structural performance.

After witnessing the devastation caused by the 1971 San Fernando Valley earthquake and the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake, Professor Hegemier, then an aerospace engineer, decided to devote his research to developing systems to retrofit bridges, roadways and buildings. He helped assemble a team of experts at UCSD. Hegemier and his colleagues have succeeded in creating and testing full-scale models of bridge column retrofit systems, which have been applied by the California Department of Transportation. These systems stood the ultimate test in the 1994 earthquake that hit Los Angeles, when 114 retrofitted bridges received only minor damage from the quake while several bridges scheduled for retrofit failed. Today, Hegemier is working with industry partners to develop and use light-weight fiber reinforced composites to prevent earthquake damage and restore components of the nation's aging infrastructure. He is also working on blast mitigation techniques using fiber reinforced composites to protect critical structures such as embassies from terrorist attacks.

Capsule Bio:

Prior to coming to UCSD, Gilbert A. Hegemier was a mechanical engineer at TRW Systems Space Technology Lab, the National Engineering Science Company, and the Naval Ordinance Laboratory. Hegemier has two patents and is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute; and the California Universities for Research on Earthquake Engineering. He is a Fellow of the ASME, and in 1996, he received the Jacobs School's annual Teacher of the Year Award. Hegemier was named chair of the Department of Structural Engineering in 2007.


  • Ph.D., Solid Mechanics and Structures, California Institute of Technology, 1964
  • M.S., Solid Mechanics and Structures, California Institute of Technology, 1960


  • Outstanding Paper Award, The Masonry Society, 1993
  • Who's Who in 1994 (Annual Tribute to San Diegans Who are Making a Difference), San Diego Magazine, 1994
  • Chancellor's Associates Shiley Achievement Award, 1994
  • Election to Golden Key National Honor Society, 1995
  • Recognition by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1995
  • CERF (Civil Engineering Research Foundation) Charles Pankow Award for Innovation, 1996
  • Teacher of the Year, UCSD School of Engineering Annual Teaching Award (Mechanical Engineering), 1996
  • Elected a Fellow of ASME International (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), 1997
  • Best Paper Award (ASCE Journal), 1997
  • Best Application Paper Award (Journal of Composites for Construction), 1998


Office Phone:
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Institute Affiliations:

Charles Lee Powell Structural Research Laboratories