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NSF Congressional Highlight

NSF Engineer Shakes Senate with Earthquake Testimony

June 24, 2004

U.S. Capitol image

On Thursday, June 24, 2004, Dr. Galip Ulsoy, Director of the Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) testified before the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The hearing centered on the reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Reauthorization Act of 2003 (H.R. 2608).

Senator Brownback opened the hearing, emphasizing the need for proactive hazard reduction as well as effective mitigation of earthquake damage. He reinforced the need for significant interagency coordination to tackle complex global events, such as earthquakes. Ulsoy reiterated these sentiments during his testimony. "NSF funding enables a knowledgeable research community to be prepared to answer questions posed by seismic events," he said.

Ulsoy highlighted significant NSF-supported research platforms, including the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, EarthScope, the Earthquake Engineering Research Centers, and the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, working to alleviate our nation's vulnerability to these events.

"NSF research and education activities contribute to our nation's ability to meet the catastrophic challenges posed by earthquakes, including deaths, injuries, and property damage," added Ulsoy. "Knowledge is our strongest insurance for preparedness. The Foundation is that main source of funding for the growth in fundamental scientific knowledge. At colleges and universities funded by NSF, scientists and engineers are working to provide more effective earthquake predictions and to discover even more effective approaches to their prevention and amelioration."

The witness panel, including Dr. David Applegate, Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake & Geologic Hazards, U.S. Geological Survey; Mr. Archibald C. Reid, III, Deputy Director, Mitigation Division, Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Dr. S. Shyam-Sunder, Acting Deputy Director, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, represented the multi-agency partnership working collaboratively to enhance our national efforts to eliminate threats posed by such natural disasters.

Ulsoy's testimony was entitled "The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program: Past, Present, and Future." A Webcast of the hearing is available via the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

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