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Giuseppe Buscarnera Receives Honor for Young Faculty

Engineer studies effects of environment and human activities on geological materials

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January 3, 2014 | by Megan Fellman

Giuseppe Buscarnera

Giuseppe Buscarnera

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Giuseppe Buscarnera, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, has received a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The CAREER program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards for new faculty members. The program recognizes and supports early career development of teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. The minimum award size is $400,000 for a five-year period.

Buscarnera’s research and teaching focus on understanding the mutual interactions between environmental processes, human activities and the materials that constitute the Earth’s surface. Buscarnera is particularly interested in studying the mechanical behavior of soils and rocks and the formulation of predictive theories for assessing the spatial and temporal dynamics of natural hazards. He also focuses on the environmental risks associated with the deployment of natural resources and the implementation of underground energy technologies.

Buscarnera received a CAREER award for his proposal “Mechanics of Geomaterials Exposed to Multi-Physical Perturbations.” In this work, Buscarnera will research the role of environmental processes and human activities in the deterioration of the mechanical properties of geological materials. The main objective is to understand the activation of deformation and failure events in natural settings and devise quantitative methods to assess the risk of damage to civil and industrial infrastructure.

The CAREER project will use analytical and computational methods to understand basic mechanisms operating at all the length scales of interest. In addition, Buscarnera’s work will benefit from international collaborations with European research groups active in the area of natural hazard science, providing unique research opportunities to graduate and undergraduate students.

Buscarnera joined Northwestern in 2011 from the Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy.

CAREER awardees are selected on the basis of creative career-development plans that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their respective institutions.