Martin Williams

Martin Williams

David Clarke Fellow; Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Professorial Fellow
Engineering Science
BSc PhD Brist, MA Oxf
As a teenager I decided to study civil engineering because I was fascinated by the built environment, especially tall buildings, and I wanted to understand how structures worked. But over time my motivation became more people-focused, and I’ve spent most of my research career looking for ways to improve public safety in extreme events such as earthquakes. In parallel with that, I’ve developed an interest in administration and leadership in higher education, leading to my current role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
• Studied civil engineering (BSc and PhD) at Bristol University in the 1980s
• Spent four years working for London structural engineering firms, designing bridges and marine structures
• Joined Oxford University in 1989, as a Lecturer in Engineering Science and Fellow of New College
• Promoted to the rank of Professor in 2008
• Senior Proctor of the University in 2009-10
• Appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) in January 2018

For someone with a long interest in architecture and construction, New College is an inspiring place to work – the medieval city wall and the late gothic cloisters are among my favourite Oxford buildings, and our forthcoming new quad looks set to be one of the city’s most exciting 21st century additions. The College is quite welcoming to staff members’ dogs, and the sight of a wagging tail going past my window in the Garden Quad always lifts my spirits.

Research Interests

• Improving the seismic resistance of structures using novel energy dissipators
• Developing realistic laboratory test methods for simulating earthquake loading of large structures
• Earthquake protection of ancient monuments
• Pedestrian-induced vibrations of footbridges and stadium structures
• Automated condition monitoring of structures using vibration measurements

Selected Major Publications:

  • Structural Dynamics. Taylor and Francis, 2016.
  • Structures: Theory and Analysis. Palgrave Macmillan, 2000.
Key recent research papers:
  • Examining the energy loss in systems of stacked rocking bodies. Journal of  Engineering Mechanics, 2018 (with M Chatzis, M Garcia Espinosa, C Needham).
  • Seismic performance assessment of concentric braced frame buildings. Engineering Structures, 155, 192-208, 2018 (with G Del Gobbo, A Blakeborough). doi: 10.1016/j.engstruct.2017.11.016.
  • The kinematics and kinetics of pedestrians on a swaying footbridge. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 407, 286-308, 2017 (with D Claff, A Blakeborough). doi: 10.1016/j.jsv.2017.06.036.
  • Structural appraisal of a Roman concrete vaulted monument: the Basilica of Maxentius. International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 2017 (with A Albuerne). doi: 10.1080/15583058.2017.1309086.
  • Passive control of bridge wind-induced instabilities by tuned mass dampers and movable flaps. Journal of Engineering Mechanics, 143(9), 2017 (with K Bakis, M Massaro, J Graham). doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0001287
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