By the ASCE Blog Editor and the ASCE Awards Committee
Professor John Brigham is the 2015 ASCE-Pittsburgh Professor of the Year. “I truly love being an educator,” says Dr. Brigham. “So, to know that it is appreciated is a great feeling.”
Dr. Brigham received a BE from Vanderbilt University in 2003, and a MS and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Cornell University in 2006 and 2008. After his doctorate, he joined the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where he was promoted to associate professor in 2015.
Focusing on computational mechanics and inverse problems, Dr. Brigham’s research group is actively involved in a number of diverse projects, including kinematic analysis of the heart for improved diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, novel design concepts and optimal design strategies for smart material morphing structures, and efficient and accurate quantitative nondestructive evaluation algorithms. “One of my newest projects, that is of course very exciting, is to develop the computational tools to design smart material morphing building surface tiles for more energy efficient building envelopes,” he explains.
“Dr. Brigham brings to the CEE Department energy, fresh ideas and a willingness to lead the way in getting initiatives implemented,” says colleague, Dr. Julie Vandenbossche. “He is a great person to collaborate with on projects. You can rely on him for significant contributions and he will always put the needs of the project and the team before his own needs.”
Dr. Brigham researches other fields, such as simulation modeling of nuclear reactor components, estimation of pathological variation in heart mechanics, and evaluation of well-bore cement integrity. He leads the Computational Diagnostic and Inverse Mechanics Group at Swanson School of Engineering at University of Pittsburgh.
As a teacher, Dr. Brigham has focused on courses involving structural analysis and computer aided engineering. “I also enjoy all of my classes,” Dr. Bingham explains. “Right now, Introduction to Structural Analysis is probably my favorite class I am teaching.” Dr. Brigham also teaches the undergraduate class Computer Methods in Engineering, and the graduate classes Fundamentals of Finite Element Methods and Advanced Finite Element Methods.
“I believe that he is one of the most clear, helpful, challenging, and all-around best teachers I have ever had,” says Senior Civil Engineering student, Scott Overacker. “The majority of Pitt civil engineering students agree.”
“Dr. Brigham is one of the best teachers in the Department both in and out of the classroom,” Dr. Vandenbossche adds. “His commitment to the students and his contributions to both the Department and in his field of study are immense. I feel honored to have Dr. Brigham in our Department.”