Information Exchange: People

Tom O'Rourke

Professor of Engineering (Co-chair of ICIS Executive Committee), Cornell University

Thomas O'Rourke is Co-Chair of the ICIS Executive Committee, and Co-Principal Investigator for Cornell University at ICIS. He is Thomas R. Briggs Professor of Engineering at Cornell University. Professor O'Rourke has been a member of the teaching and research staffs at Cornell University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His teaching and professional practice have covered many aspects of geotechnical engineering including foundations, earth retaining structures, slope stability, soil/structure interaction, underground construction, laboratory testing, and elements of earthquake engineering. He has authored or co-authored nearly 250 publications on geotechnical, underground, and earthquake engineering. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1993. He was awarded the C.A. Hogentogler Award from ASTM in 1976 for his work on the field monitoring of large construction projects, the Collingwood and Huber Research Prize (in 1983 and 1988), respectively, from ASCE for his studies of soil and rock mechanics applied to underground works and excavation technologies, the C. Martin Duke Award (1995) from ASCE for his contributions to lifeline earthquake engineering, and the Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award (1997) from ASCE for his contributions to the profession of pipeline engineering. He received the 1996 EERI Outstanding Paper Award for the paper entitled, "Earthquake Performance of Gas Transmission Pipelines." In 1998, he was elected to the EERI Board of Directors. In 1998, Prof. O'Rourke received Cornell University's College of Engineering Daniel Lazar '29 Excellence in Teaching Award. He was elected a Fellow of AAS in 2000. He has served on numerous earthquake reconnaissance missions, and holds a U.S. patent for innovative pipeline design. Professor O'Rourke has been involved with problems concerning foundation performance, ground movement effects on structures, earth retaining structures, pipelines, and earthquake engineering both on a research and consulting basis. He has developed techniques for estimating ground movement patterns for a variety of excavation, tunneling, and mining conditions. He has formulated methods for evaluating and improving the stability of deep excavations. He has developed analytical methods and sitting strategies to mitigate pipeline damage during earthquakes, analyze and design high pressure pipelines, and has established full-scale testing facilities for buried pipelines. He has developed geographical information systems and network analysis procedures for water supply systems in areas of high seism city. Professor O'Rourke has served as chair and member of the consulting boards of several large underground construction projects. He has served on the peer reviews for projects associated with highway, rapid transit, water supply, and energy distribution systems. He is a member of the ASCE, ASME, ASTM, AAAS, ISSMEE, EERI, and IAEG. He is a member of the ASCE TCLEE Executive Committee and the TCLEE Committee on Gas and Liquid Fuel Lifelines. He is also a member of the NCEER Research Committee. He was chairman of the U.S. National Committee on Tunneling Technology and a member of the NRC Geotechnical Board and Board on Energy and Environmental Systems. He is a past chairman of the UTRC Executive Committee and ASCE TCLEE Committee on Gas and Liquid Fuel Lifelines. He is a past chairman of the ASCE Earth Retaining Structures Committee, as well as past president of the ASCE Ithaca Section, and was a member of the inter-municipal water commission. Education: B.S., Civil Engineering, Cornell University; M.S. and Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Contact Email:  




Click the links above to reach the Information Exchange, a comprehensive database of ICIS work. Click on People for the background or experience of ICIS people and their related projects or publications. Click on Projects for the scope and details of ICIS projects and related publications or events. Click Publications for a list of ICIS documents. Events will lead you to ICIS events. Topic Areas categorizes entries by a particular area of interest.