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Dr. John L. Gross

Dr. John L. Gross is a research structural engineer in the National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL) of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Gross attended Cornell University and received Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering (Civil) degrees in 1969 and 1970, respectively. Upon receiving his Master's Degree, Dr. Gross joined Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company, where he worked on various projects including the analysis and design of an ocean-going LNG containment system, the design of an offshore oil storage facility, and the design of a nuclear containment vessel.

In 1975, Dr. Gross returned to Cornell University as a doctoral candidate. He received a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering, with a minor in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, in May 1980. His research involved the development of an analytical method for evaluating a building's resistance to progressive collapse.

Dr. Gross joined the faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in August 1979, holding the rank of Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. In this capacity, he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in Structural Engineering and conducted research in the area of analysis of partially erected structures.

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 and stability. He has been active in the development of analytical methods for shoring loads and slab capacity for multistory concrete construction and in research into the behavior of steel braced frame connections. He participated in the collapse investigation of L'Ambiance Plaza and led the Ashland Oil tank failure investigation. Dr. Gross 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. He was responsible for the Structural Fire Response and Collapse aspects of the NIST World Trade Center Investigation.

Dr. Gross is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and serves on the ASCE Committee on Design of Steel Building Structures. He also is a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Specifications Committee. Dr. Gross is a member of Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Chi Epsilon Honorary Civil Engineering Fraternity and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. In 1988, he was the recipient of the ACI Wason Medal for Most Meritorious Paper and the CBT Communicator Award. He was named among the "Top Ten Federal Engineers of the Year" by the National Society of Professional Engineers for 2001. In 2001, Dr. Gross received the Raymond C. Reese Research Prize awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award. Dr. Gross was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 2005 and Special Act Award in 2008 for his contributions to the World Trade Center failure investigation.

Dr. John L. Gross


Research Structural Engineer
Fire Research Division
National Fire Research Laboratory


Cornell University, Ph.D., Civil (Structural) Engineering, 1980

Cornell University, M.E., Civil (Structural) Engineering, 1970

Cornell University, B.S., Civil (Structural) Engineering, 1969


Phone: 301-975-6068
Email: john.gross@nist.gov