PASADENA-Donald Hudson, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics at the California Institute of Technology, died Saturday, April 24, 1999, at a Pasadena hospital of heart failure. He was 83.
A pioneer in the field of earthquake engineering, Hudson developed or codeveloped a number of instruments used in the study and analysis of seismic motions for designing quake-resistant buildings, bridges, and dams.
Born Feb. 25, 1916, in Alma, Michigan, Hudson graduated from Pasadena High School and earned his bachelor's, master's, and PhD degrees from Caltech. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1943, became a full professor in 1955, and served on the faculty until he retired with emeritus status in 1981.
After leaving Caltech, he chaired the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Southern California, and was later named emeritus professor.
His major programs of investigation included dynamic measurements in the field of vibrations and experimental stress analysis, general analysis in structural dynamics and vibrations, and analytical and experimental methods in earthquake engineering and engineering seismology.
During World War II, he worked on projects involving rocketry and underwater ordnance development through the Navy's Office of Research and Inventions. His other professional activities outside Caltech included a stay at the University of Roorkee in India, where he developed the postgraduate program in mechanical engineering; and a tour of Central and South America with UNESCO to improve earthquake safety.
In 1973, Hudson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He was also a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Seismological Society of America, and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.
He coauthored two important textbooks with George Housner, a longtime colleague at Caltech. These are Applied Mechanics-Statics and Applied Mechanics-Dynamics.
Survivors include his wife, Phyllis Hudson; two step-sons; and one step-grandson.