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Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
Hot Topic NBR Focus: GMO
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Earthquake technology innovator dies


New Zealand inventor of internationally utilised earthquake technology,  Dr Bill Robinson, has passed away at 73.

Charlotte Woodfield
Fri, 19 Aug 2011

New Zealand earthquake technology pioneer Dr Bill Robinson has passed away at 73.

Dr Robinson, who died earlier this week, was the inventor of the base isolation technique. Seismic protection and damping equipment which he developed is now used in some of the world’s most earthquake-prone zones, such as California and Japan.

It is also used in Wellington museum Te Papa Tongarewa.

His rubber-lead bearing system protected the University of Southern California Teaching Hospital during Los Angeles 6.7 magnitude earthquake in 1994.

Several other hospitals in the area had to be evacuated due to the level of damage they sustained. The earthquake’s ground acceleration was one of the highest ever recorded in North America. It was felt in Las Vegas, more than 400 km away.

Dr Robinson was a former director at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research – now Industrial Research Limited (IRL).

IRL chief executive Shaun Coffey says Dr Robinson’s work had saved innumerable lives. "The technology he invented and developed has been deployed in what is estimated to be worth over US$100 billion worth of buildings and structures throughout the world.”

Dr Robinson's son Michael, who lives in Christchurch, told The Presshis father was a great family man and a lot of fun.

"He was very adventurous and travelled the world giving lectures about his work.”

He was awarded the Cooper Medal in 1994 and New Zealand’s top science and technology honour, the Rutherford Medal, in 1998. In 2007 he was appointed Companion of the Queen's Service Order for services to engineering.

Charlotte Woodfield
Fri, 19 Aug 2011
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Earthquake technology innovator dies
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