The Howard W. Emmons Invited Plenary Lectureship
David Purser, UK
Kunio Kawagoe Gold Medal
Gunnar Heskestad, USA
Prof. David Purser CBE, BSc, PhD, Dip RCPath
Prof. David Purser’s work covers all aspects of fire hazard development, escape behaviour and their interactions. He started working in this area during the 1970s, when the large increase in fire injuries and deaths at that time led him to study the effects of toxic smoke and heat on people and their behaviour during fires. His research into escape behaviour, fire dynamics, combustion chemistry and fire effluent toxicity is applied to hazard assessment models, international standards and incident investigations. He has studied hazard development and effects on occupants in fire incidents, serving as an expert witness for cases including the Dupont plaza hotel fire (Puerto Rico, 1986), the inquiry into Mont Blanc Tunnel fire (Mont Blanc, 1999), the Rosepark care home fire (Glasgow, 2006) and the Grenfell Tower fire (2017). He has served on fire safety and fire engineering standards committiees at BSI and internationally since 1980, participating in leading the revision of BS 7974:2019 Application of fire safety engineering principles to the design of buildings, and also participates in ongoing research and technical advice to Government in relation to revisions of the Building Regulations. Formerly a director at the UK Building Research Establishment, He continues consulting as Hartford Environmental Research and is Visiting Professor in fire chemistry and toxicity at the University of Central Lancashire. In 2013 he was awarded the Institution of Fire Engineers Rasbash Medal for outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge in fire behaviour, and in 2015 he was appointed CBE for services to fire safety.
Dr. Gunnar Heskestad
Gunnar Heskestad is a distinguished scientist, who is widely recognized for having made significant and innovative contributions to advances in fire science and engineering applications. After receiving a PhD degree in Mechanics from Johns Hopkins University in 1963, specializing in fluid turbulence, he worked briefly at the American Standard Research Division. He then joined FM Global in 1969, initiating a most productive 35-year career. During that time, he devoted his attention to both theoretical and experimental fire research, covering fire plume theory, fast-response sprinkler technology, fire testing apparatuses and instrumentation.
Dr. Heskestad’s work in fire science on several fronts has greatly aided the impact of fire protection engineering in society and its advancement as a profession. His pioneering contribution to fire plume theory was selected for inclusion in the prestigious Transactions of the Royal Society of London. This work formed the basis for many other important contributions that followed, including ceiling jets, fire detection, fire sprinkler response, smoke control, heat and smoke vents, etc.
Much of the research necessary to understand and quantify the principles of fast-response sprinklers, including residential and Early-Suppression, Fast Response sprinklers, was carried out by him. These principles include the sprinkler Response Time Index (RTI) concept, which makes possible the prediction of sprinkler activation and is important for spray penetration capability through fire plumes and fire suppression requirements of rack storage fires. He was the key contributor to the development of an apparatus that allowed fast-response sprinkler technology to be successful, the RTI Plunge Test Apparatus. For this groundbreaking work, he received the prestigious Phillip J. DiNenno Prize from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Dr. Heskestad was also instrumental in the development of both small- and large-scale fire calorimetry. His small-scale fire calorimeter, based on sound fluid mechanical principles, was first applied in 1976 to an early version of the Fire Propagation Apparatus. He then used the same principles to design large-scale calorimeters to accurately measure heat release rates for free-burning fires up to 30 MW. These calorimeters, and others that emulate them, are now widely used in fire laboratories around the world. He also invented the bidirectional flow probe for large-scale fire tests during the breakthrough Home Fire Project conducted jointly with Harvard University. These probes are widely used in fire research and testing to this date.
Finally, Dr. Heskestad is a member of more than ten professional organizations and committees, including the International Association of Fire Safety Science (IAFSS), the Combustion Institute, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), NFPA, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), etc. He received seven awards throughout his career, and has served on the Editorial Board of the Fire Safety Journal (1988-2004) and the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Fire and Flammability (1974-1982). He has been a member of the Program Subcommittee for the 22nd - 26th International Symposia on Combustion as well as the 1st – 6th IAFSS Symposia.
◆ Early Career Award
Proulx Early Career Award
Ryan Falkenstein-Smith, NIST, USA
Magnusson Early Career Award
Thomas Gernay, Johns Hopkins University, USA
Dr. Ryan Falkenstein-Smith
Ryan Falkenstein-Smith, Ph.D., is a Mechanical Engineer in the Firefighting Technology Group of the Fire Research Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Falkenstein-Smith received his doctorate in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University for his research on oxygen transport membranes for oxyfuel combustion. During his graduate study, Dr. Falkenstein-Smith was the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute Fellowship, where he collaborated with researchers at the Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University, to develop catalytic materials for carbon capture purposes. Dr. Falkenstein-Smith was a NIST postdoctoral fellow working in the Fire Research Division. He created model validation datasets of pool fire characteristics to support the International Association of Fire Safety Science’s Measurement & Computation of Fire Phenomena (MaCFP) Working Group. He has recently developed methods for quantifying volatile Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in firefighter turnout gear. His current research focuses on designing technology for Smart Fire Fighting, including gas extractive devices for predicting backdraft and non-invasive analytical tools for fire investigations. Dr. Falkenstein-Smith is a principal voting member of the National Fire Protection Association’s Structural and Proximity Firefighting Protective Clothing and Equipment committee, which develops fire fighter clothing and equipment standards. He is also a member of the leadership board of the Postdoc and Early Career Association of Researchers at NIST.
Prof. Thomas Gernay
Thomas Gernay is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on the development of performance-based design and risk assessment methods for enhancing resilience of the built environment to fire. His contributions have led to new knowledge on the response of materials and structures at elevated temperature; new structural fire design methods that are proposed in building codes committees; and development of software to enable simulation of the behavior of structures subjected to fire.
Thomas serves on multiple committees to advance structural fire engineering. He is a member of the International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS) Subcommittee on Research, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) SEI Technical Committee on Fire Protection, and the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Fire Resistance and Fire Protection Committee. He also works with the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and the International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib) to develop guidance on structural fire design. Thomas is also an Associate Editor of Springer’s Fire Technology and an Editorial Board member of Elsevier’s Fire Safety Journal.
Thomas’ research has been recognized through several professional awards including the AISC Terry Peshia Early Career Faculty Award, the NFPA Foundation Medal, the IAFSS Best Thesis Award, and the McKinsey & Company Scientific Award. He holds a Master degree in Civil Engineering (2009) and a PhD in Structural Engineering (2012) from University of Liege in Belgium. He was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University before joining Johns Hopkins University in 2018.
◆ Best Thesis Awards
Asia / Pacific:
Xiepeng Sun ─ USTC, China, joint PhD with Ghent University, Belgium
Europe / Africa:
Li Ma ─ Aix-Marseille University, Électricité de France (EDF), France
Parham Dehghani ─ University of Maryland, USA
Call for Nomination (closed)
IAFSS Awards committee are looking for candidates for several awards to be presented at the 14th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science, Tsukuba, Japan, October 22-27, 2023. Awards and the due dates are summarized as follows.
- Kunio Kawagoe Gold Medal – Nominations Due October 31, 2022
- Proulx and Magnusson Early Career Awards – Nominations Due September 30, 2022
- Best Thesis Award Excellence in Research – Nominations Due October 1, 2022
- Philip Thomas Medal of Excellence
- Dougal Drysdale Award for Extraordinary Service to the IAFSS
- Sheldon Tieszen Student Awards Sponsored by the FORUM
For detail, please see attached file (PDF).
(posted on September 9th, 2022)