Category
Educator/Innovator
Born
1923
Died
2016
Career Began
1958
Retired
2000
Media
Vitelmo Bertero
Vitelmo Bertero
Source: UC Berkeley
Vitelmo and Nydia Bertero
Vitelmo and Nydia Bertero
Source: EERI
Vitelmo Bertero
Vitelmo Bertero
Source; EERI
Contributions to Structural Engineering History in Northern California

Vitelmo V. Bertero was professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Bertero was a world-renowned pioneer, expert, and leader in the field of earthquake engineering.

In 1947, Bertero received his degree in Civil Engineering from the Facultad de Ciencias Matemáticas, Físico-Químicas y Naturales, Universidad del Litoral, Rosario, Argentina, his native country. He received his M.S. and Sc.D. degree in civil engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1958, he joined the Department of Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley, where, from 1988 to 1990, he was the Director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center at Berkeley, the predecessor to the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center, and a hub for analytical and experimental earthquake engineering research, information resources, and public service programs.

Bertero conducted numerous integrated analytical and experimental studies on seismic behavior of civil engineering facilities. He developed comprehensive methods of seismic design of steel moment frames, steel braced frames, reinforced concrete frames, reinforced concrete shear walls, and masonry structures. He conducted many pioneering research studies including: elastic and inelastic seismic structural response due to near-fault pulses in the early 1970’s; classic experimental work on cyclic behavior of beam-column steel and reinforced concrete sub-assemblages; original experimental work on cyclic versus monotonically deformed behavior of reinforced concrete moment resisting frames and shear walls; innovative study on the understanding and applications of energy-based methods in earthquake-resistant design and damage evaluation; and the development of conceptual framework and the design-objective matrix for performance-based earthquake engineering.

In 1990, Engineering News Record recognized him as the “Construction Man of the Year” for “advancing the science of earthquake engineering,” and described him as the “impassioned professor who advances earthquake engineering through research.”

From 1988 to 1992 he was a member of the Advisory Committee to the United States Congress regarding the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). From 1992 to 2000 he was a Director, representing the United States, of the International Association of Earthquake Engineering (IAEE).

Awards & Accomplishments
  • ACI Arthur Anderson Award (1989)
  • Berkeley Citation, UC’s highest honor (1990)
  • AISC T.R.Higgins Lectureship Award (1990)
  • ENR Construction Man of the Year (1990)
  • ASCE Nathan Newmark Award (1991)
  • EERI Housner Medal (1995)
  • SEAONC H.J. Brunnier Lifetime Achievement Award (2009)
  • ACI Honorary Member
  • ASCE Fellow
  • SEAONC Honorary Member
Related Engineer(s)
Related Organization(s)