Skip to content

Tom O’Rourke

    Thomas R. Briggs Professor in Engineering Emeritus

    Email: td01 ‘at’ cornell ‘dot’ edu

    Professor O’Rourke is the Thomas R. Briggs Professor of Engineering in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. degree in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S.C.E. from Cornell. Professor O’Rourke has been a member of the teaching and research staffs at Cornell University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His teaching and professional practice include geotechnical engineering for earth retention systems, foundations, and soil/structure interaction; earthquake engineering; underground construction technology, and engineering of large, geographically distributed systems, such as water supplies, gas and liquid fuel systems, electric power, and transportation facilities. He authored or co-authored over 400 publications on geotechnical, underground, earthquake engineering, and impact of extreme events on civil infrastructure. He was principal or co-principal investigator on more than 75 research projects, and has supervised 24 Ph.D. and 22 M.S. theses. Since 1995 he delivered 200 invited lectures, keynote, and conference presentations worldwide.


    He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Mexican Academy of Engineering, Distinguished Member of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received numerous awards from professional societies, including ASCE, Institution of Civil Engineers (United Kingdom), and the American Society for Testing and Materials.


    He has served as chair or member of the consulting boards of many large underground construction projects, as well as the peer reviews for projects associated with highway, rapid transit, water supply, and energy distribution systems. He holds US Patent No. 5713393 for “frictionless pipe”, Feb. 1998, and jointly holds US Patent No. 8701469 for flexible substrate sensor system for environmental & infrastructure monitoring, Apr. 2014.