Professor Matiur Rahman from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, recently delivered a special lecture at the Wessex Institute of Technology on "Seismic Response of Earth Dams: A Theoretical Analysis".

Matiur is a leading applied mathematician and an expert in wave mechanics and wave loads on offshore structures. He is Professor of Applied Mathematics and Fluid Mechanics at Dalhousie University. His academic achievements include a DSc from the University of London, a PhD from Windsor University in Canada and an MPhil from Imperial College. He has recently been awarded the Eminent Scientist Medal of the Wessex Institute of Technology for his many research achievements.

Professor Rahman has been associated with the Wessex Institute of Technology since its beginning and is now a member of the Board of Directors. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the book series on "Advances in Fluid Mechanics" published by WIT Press which, since 1994, has produced nearly 40 volumes. He is also the Chairman of the International Conference on Advances in Fluid Mechanics.

Matiur has now become interested in Earthquake Engineering as a consequence of his association with the group working on this topic at Imperial College and as a way of extending his expertise in water wave propagation.

The analytical problem solved by Professor Rahman consists of assuming that the dam can be represented as a shear beam. The problem was solved using a Laplace transformation as the material properties assumed rendered it linear. The procedure involves considerable mathematical manipulations but results in close form solution which sheds light on the overall behaviour of the system and the importance of the different parameters.