Nathan M. Newmark

Nathan M. Newmark
Nathan M. Newmark
Worldwide leader in understanding structural engineering with significant global contributions to geotechnical and earthquake engineering.

Honored Posthumously

Nathan M. Newmark developed simple, yet powerful and widely used methods for analyzing complex structural components and assemblies under a variety of conditions of loading and for calculating the stresses and deformations in soil beneath foundations. He contributed significantly to a better understanding of the behavior of structural materials under various environments including fatigue and brittle fracture. He added materially to knowledge of the behavior and design of highway bridge decks and floor slabs in buildings and structures subjected to impact, periodic excitation, wave action, wind, blast, and earthquakes.

Newmark held a succession of positions in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (then Civil Engineering) over a 47-year career, culminating with his exceptional leadership as Department Head from 1956 to 1973. He joined the department in 1934, and was promoted to professor in 1943. He served as chairman of the Digital Computer Laboratory from 1947 to 1957. He retired in 1976 and became professor emeritus.

Industrial organizations and governmental agencies sought Newmark's consultation on major seismic, structural, and geotechnical projects. He was earthquake design consultant on the 43-story Latino Americana Tower, which was undamaged during the 1957 and 1985 Mexico City earthquakes. Design criteria for the military protective construction program within the United States and abroad, the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, large dams throughout the world, and other major structures and systems were based largely on his studies and on reports and publications prepared by Newmark and his associates. His publications included more than 200 books and papers.

Newmark developed one of the nation's largest groups of advanced students in civil engineering. Alumni of his research group assumed broad leadership in education, industry, and government and in the technical work of the armed services.

Over the course of his career and until his death in January 1981, Newmark received the highest awards and honors. His wartime consulting was recognized with the President's Certificate of Merit. He was a founding member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1964, and was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received the 1968 National Medal of Science, the prestigious Washington Award, the John Fritz Medal, and the 16th Gold Medal of the Institution of Structural Engineers of Great Britain.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) honored Newmark with the James R. Crowes Medal, Moisseiff Award, Norman Medal, Ernest E. Howard Award, and Theodore von Karman Medal, and inaugurated the Newmark Medal in 1976. He received the Wason Medal of the American Concrete Institute and the Vincent Bendix Award from the American Society for Engineering Education. He received honorary membership in ASE, American Concrete Institute, American Society for Mechanical Engineers, International Association for Earthquake Engineering, and Seismological Society of America. He was awarded five honorary degrees from universities around the world.


  • MS, Civil Engineering, 1932
  • PHD, Civil Engineering, 1934
  • Doctor of Science Honorary Degree, 1978