Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
A native of Puerto Rico, Rafael L. Bras is a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He holds the K. Harrison Brown Family Chair.
Until recently he was the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to becoming provost, Dr. Bras was Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering of the University of California, Irvine (UCI). For 32 years prior to joining UCI he was a professor in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. He is past Chair of the MIT Faculty, former head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department and Director of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory at MIT. He has served as advisor to many government and private institutions. Some of the most significant include: Advisory Board, Engineering Directorate, NSF; Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council; Chairman, Earth Systems Sciences and Applications Committee of NASA and the NASA Advisory Committee; National Academy of Sciences Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects; Advisory to departments at Cornell University, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins, Technion, RPI, University of Puerto Rico; the University of California-Irvine.; Instituto Veneto; Stockholm Water Foundation and Prize, and Clarke prize. He was a member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.
Dr. Bras was a director of the American Geophysical Union. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. He served on the Coursera University Advisory Board and the Blackboard Advisory Council. He is an emeritus member of the board of Foundation for Puerto Rico and a former member of the Board of TASIS Puerto Rico. He has served in the Board of Directors of Fundación Chile and the trustees of the University of California – Irvine Foundation. At Georgia Tech he was an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee of the GT Foundation. He was also a board member of the GT Research Corporation, GT Global, GT Facilities Inc. and GT Advanced Technology Ventures.
Dr. Bras has received many honors and awards, including: honorary degrees from the University of Perugia, Italy and Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico; Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Hall of Fame member; NASA Public Service Medal; the Macelwane Medal of AGU; John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship; the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize; Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award; Honorary Diplomate of Water Resources Engineering of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers; Horton Medal of AGU; AGU Hydrology Days Award; Drexel University’s 2010 Anthony J. Drexel Exceptional Achievement; and National Hispanic Scientist of the Year Award, Museum of Science and Industry, Tampa, Florida. He is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico, and is a corresponding member of the Mexican National Academy of Engineering and the Mexican National Academy of Sciences. He also is an elected Fellow of AGU, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been elected Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Dr. Bras maintains an active international consulting practice. He chaired a panel of experts that supervised the design and construction of a multibillion-dollar project to protect the City of Venice from floods.
Dr. Bras has published two textbooks, over 235 refereed journal publications, and several hundred other publications and presentations.