Brian Tucker

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Brian Tucker
Nationality American
Fields Seismology
Institutions GeoHazards International
California Geological Survey
Alma mater Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego (Ph.D.)
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (M.A.)
Pomona College (B.A.)
Notable awards Gorakha Dakshin Bahu Award 2001
MacArthur Fellows Program 2002
U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation George Brown Award for International Science and Technology Cooperation 2007

Brian E. Tucker is a seismologist specializing in disaster prevention. He is also the founder of GeoHazards International (GHI), a non-profit dedicated to ending preventable death and suffering caused by natural disasters in the world’s most vulnerable communities.[1]


Tucker holds a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, an M.A. in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. in Physics from Pomona College.

Tucker has devoted his life to the vision of a world of self-reliant communities that can continue their economic, political and cultural development unimpeded by natural disasters.[2] Over the course of his career, he has created exhibits, organized workshops and symposia around the world, printed multilingual reports, and written/edited three books to raise awareness of geologic threats to communities from Tajikistan to Ecuador.[3]

He has drafted earthquake mitigation plans and has supported mason training and the retrofitting of schools, leaving a long-term legacy of natural hazard risk reduction in more than twenty countries.


After observing the tragic consequences of an earthquake in Tajikistan[4] in 1991, Tucker founded GeoHazards International (GHI), a Menlo Park, California-based nonprofit organization focused on working with the world’s most vulnerable people to develop and deploy preventative solutions that are known to save lives. GHI works through a global network of people dedicated to reducing the risks of death and injury caused by earthquakes and other natural disasters in needy, at-risk countries by sharing and promoting civil engineering principles and connecting local experts, engineers, scientists, and government officials with their counterparts abroad.[5] Through their work, GHI works to bring risk-mitigation techniques that are common in developed countries, but often unused in developing countries, and adapt the techniques to fit within the social, political, and economic constraints in some of the most at-risk communities in the world.[6]

In the aftermath of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, its May aftershock, and other later aftershocks, Tucker was interviewed by numerous media outlets to discuss the lessons that geoscientists, local and national politicians, decision makers, and the general public could learn from the earthquake.[7][8] In the mid-1990s, GHI helped set up a local non-profit in the region, the National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal, and these organizations implemented a series of preventative measures many years before the earthquakes that saved an undetermined number of lives in the disaster. These included developing an earthquake scenario describing expected consequences on modern-day Kathmandu, forming an action plan with local stakeholders and international earthquake professionals to reduce the consequences outlined in the scenario, establishing demonstration projects (including the inauguration of an annual Nepal Earthquake Safety Day held each year on January 15th), and seismically retrofitting schools while training local masons.[9][10]

Prior to his work with GHI, Tucker served as the acting state geologist, principal state geologist and supervising geologist of the California Geological Survey between 1982 and 1991. He served on the Board of Directors of the Seismological Society of America and the World Seismic Safety Initiative (WSSI).


Tucker received the 2001 Gorakha Dakshin Bahu Award for service to the people of Nepal by the King of Nepal[11] and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2002 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation[12][13] In 2007, Tucker was named a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.[14] Also that year, he received the George Brown Award for International Scientific Cooperation from the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation.[15][16] In 2009, he was named one of UC San Diego's 100 Influential Alumni.[17]


  1. ^ "Our Mission". GeoHazards International. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Our Vision". GeoHazards International. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Protecting the World’s Most Vulnerable Communities from Earthquakes: Dr. Brian Tucker to Receive Prestigious George Brown Award in Washington, DC" (PDF). CRDF. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  4. ^ Peterson, Greg (4 October 2002). "Seismologist wins 'Genius Grant'". GeoTimes. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Our Projects". GeoHazards International. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Jay R. (27 April 2015). "Down to Earth with: Brian Tucker". EARTH, American Geosciences Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Showstack, Randy (5 May 2015). "What Can We Learn About Disaster Preparedness from Nepal's Quake?". Eos: Earth & Space Science News. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Chang, Kenneth (4 May 2015). "Trying to Stay Ahead of Earthquake Disasters". New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  9. ^ "Celebrating Earthquake Safety Day". NSET-Nepal. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Showstack, Randy (7 May 2015). "Reducing Earthquake Risk in Nepal". Eos: Earth & Space Science News. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "Our People: Brian Tucker". GeoHazards International. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "Twenty-Four MacArthur Fellows For 2002". MacArthur Foundation. 25 September 2002. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (25 September 2002). "Winners of MacArthur Grants Announced". New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Complete List of Academy Fellows" (PDF). California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Protecting the World’s Most Vulnerable Communities from Earthquakes: Dr. Brian Tucker to Receive Prestigious George Brown Award in Washington, DC" (PDF). CRDF. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Profile: Dr. Brian Tucker". CRDF Global. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "Overview of Padang Tsunami Evacuation Park" (PDF). GeoHazards International. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 

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