47 Dr. Peter M. Byrne P. Eng. Professor Emeritus

  • Dr. Peter Byrne, Civil Engineering Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, was presented with the Julian C. Smith Medal in a ceremony held in Ottawa’s Westin Hotel on March 7th.  The Medal is awarded annually by the Engineering Institute of Canada for “Achievement in the Development of Canada.”
  • Peter Byrne was born in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, and gained his first degree in engineering from University College, Dublin.  He completed post-graduate studies at UBC and has worked at the university since 1967 and continues to work today as a geotechnical consultant.  He is a recognized authority in improving earthquake engineering for major structures such as high dams, resulting in structures that are safer for the public..
  • In nominating Dr. Byrne, the Canadian Geotechnical Society noted that his achievements in the development of Canada are demonstrated by a wide range of important engineering projects on which he has consulted, including major bridges, tunnels, dams, underwater pipelines, rapid transit projects, marine projects, airports, high-rise buildings and a wide variety of other facilities in the seismically active areas of Canada and around the world.
  • Dr. Byrne has also built a reputation as a researcher, having written many papers in his area and pioneered many new procedures.  His expertise has also been much in demand at national and international conferences as well as acting as advisor and consultant on several projects.  As a teacher he has raised awareness and knowledge of earthquake damage protection to countless students, members of the public and government bodies.

  • He has also contributed to his profession in several capacities, including serving as Chair of the Vancouver Geotechnical Society.  He has frequently served on National Building Code committees and made special presentations to public groups dealing with potential earthquake issues. 

  • Dr. Byrne has previously received professional recognition with awards such as the Geoffrey Mayerhof Award from the Canadian Geotechnical Society and the Gzowski Medal from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

  • To the Vancouver sailing fraternity Peter Byrne might be better known as a competitive sailor.  His passion for sailing led to his winning a Bronze Medal for Canada in the Flying Dutchman class at the Pan American Games in 1967 and being selected as a member of Canada’s Olympic sailing team at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972.


    Professor Byrne has acted as a consultant on the seismic retrofit of a number of bridges in Greater Vancouver including Port Mann, Oak Street and Knight Street bridges as well as the George Massey tunnel. He has also acted as a review consultant to BCHydro on a number of their dams including Coquitlam , Alouette, Revelstoke , and Bennett dams. He has also acted as a consultant on many International projects including the seismic design of mine waste dams in South America , Australia , New Zealand, and Vietnam as well as the seismic retrofit of the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) tunnel connecting San Francisco and Oakland.