Elected in 1973
“For the development of widely used instruments to
record destructive earthquake ground shaking.”
BY MIHAILO D. TRIFUNAC
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
DONALD ELLIS HUDSON, Don as he was known to his friends, died of heart failure on April 24, 1999, at the age of 83. By the time of his death he had built a distinguished career of teaching, research, and service, spanning a broad range of science and engineering and centered in earthquake engineering. His work extended from experimental mechanical engineering, geophysical engineering, vibration engineering, rocketry, and underwater ordnance design during World War II to the development of instrumentation and data processing in earthquake engineering.
Don was born on February 25, 1916, in Alma, Michigan. In 1924, to avoid hay fever, his family moved to Pasadena, California, where he attended Franklin Elementary School, Woodrow Wilson Junior High, and Pasadena City College and then switched to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in his junior year in 1936. He completed his B.S. degree in 1938, M.S. degree in 1939, and Ph.D. in 1942. He then began his distinguished 39-year-long career at Caltech. He was assistant professor of mechanical engineering (1943–1949), associate professor of mechanical engineering (1949–1955), professor of mechanical engineering (1955–1963), and professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics (1963–1981). He retired from Caltech with emeritus status in