The past and future of Structural Fire Engineering in the USA




Dr. John L. Gross

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Gaithersburg, USA


Dr. John L. Gross holds the title of Assoc. Director for Structures Research for the National Fire Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA.

Dr. Gross attended Cornell University and received the Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering (Civil) degrees in 1969 and 1970, respectively.  After working for five years in industry as a design engineer, he returned to Cornell University as a doctoral candidate where he received a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering, with a minor in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, in 1980.

Dr. Gross joined the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder, in August 1979, holding the rank of Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. In July 1983, Dr. Gross joined NIST as a Research Structural Engineer. His research interests include computer analysis and design of structures, structural steel, fracture mechanics, nonlinear mechanics, stability, and behavior of steel structures in fire.

Dr. Gross participated in the collapse investigation of L'Ambiance Plaza in 1987, and led the Ashland Oil tank failure investigation in 1988. He conducted an analytical investigation of the Cypress Viaduct elevated highway structure that failed in the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 1989, and research into the failure of steel beam-to-column connections in the January, 1994 Northridge earthquake that resulted in an AISC Design Guide, “Modification of Existing Welded Steel Moment Frame Connections for Seismic Resistance.”  More recently, Dr. Gross participated in both the ASCE and NIST World Trade Center Investigations and a study of the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys Indoor Practice Facility in 2009.

Dr. Gross is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), serves on the Specifications Committee of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and is a Registered Professional Engineer.