Giorgio Diana

Professor emeritus of Politecnico di Milano


"Giorgio Diana was born in Blevio (CO) in 1936. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano in 1961. He was appointed Full Professor of Applied Machine Mechanics in 1971 and since 1980 he has occupied this position at Politecnico di Milano.

His scientific work was on topics of various kinds, all relating to the dynamics, stability, vibrations and control of mechanical systems. In particular, he was among the first in Italy to deal with problems of aerodynamics and elasticity of large civil structures and is the top expert in Italy in the field of railway vehicle dynamics. His research is the fruit of significant collaborations both in Italy and abroad with industries, universities and research centres; in many cases it formed part of important research projects funded by the European Community, the Ministry of University and the National Research Centre (CNR). He is the author of over 250 papers, including contributions to monographs, publications in journals and conference communications.

The most significant examples of his activity are:

  • the aeroelasticity and practical road and railway elements of the design of the bridge over the Strait of Messina;
  • aerodynamic and aeroelastic analysis for the projects of the Stonecutters (Hong-Kong), Talavera (Spain) and Adige (Italy) bridges;
  • wind-induced vibration analysis and damping system design for some of the world's largest overhead power lines including: Orinoco Crossing (Venezuela), Lago de Maracaibo Crossing (Venezuela), Gheshm Strait Crossing (Iran), Yangtze River Crossing (Cina);
  • analysis of wind-induced vibrations on cables and design of damping systems for the British Airways London Eye (UK), Great Beijing Wheel (China) and Great Berlin Wheel (Germany) projects;
  • aerodynamic and/or aeroelastic study for the Lingotto Art Gallery (Turin), Three Towers Project (Milan), Varesine (Milan), Fiera di Rho (Milan), Juventus Stadium (Turin), Braga Stadium (Portugal);
  • optimisation of sail plans for the Oracle America's Cup team (USA), 2008-2009;
  • rail practicability of bridges and viaducts for the Italian high-speed railway lines;
  • rail practicability of bridges and viaducts for the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed railway line;
  • stability analysis and performance optimisation for high-speed railway vehicles, in collaboration with AnsaldoBreda, Fiat Ferroviaria, Bombardier Transportation, Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, Contact S.p.A.

In the context of the aforementioned research, he developed innovative methods for the characterisation of experiments and for the mathematical description of aeroelastic forces, as well as for the study of the effects of turbulent wind on bridges ('buffetting'). He has developed an innovative methodology for simulating the train-track-bridge interaction. These remain the current international state-of-the-art methods in their respective fields.

Giorgio Diana has held key roles in countless bodies and entities: in particular, he is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Italcertiferr, President of the Steering Committee of the 'Trasporti Ferroviari' Joint Research Centre, Vice-President of the Politecnico di Milano Foundation, Italian Delegate and chairman of the working group B2-31 (Mechanical Behaviour of Conductors and Fittings - Modelling of aeolian vibrations of single conductors) of the Cigré (Conférence Internationale des Grandes Réseaux Eletriques à Haute Tension) and member of the International Committee of Rotordynamics of IFToMM (International Federation of Theory of Machines and Mechanisms). Member of AIMETA (Italian Association of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics), ANIV (Italian Wind Engineering Association), Cigré, IABSE (International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering), IEEF, IFToMM.

He chaired the 5th 'Cable Dynamics' International Congress in 2005 and the 6th BBAA International Symposium (Bluff Body Aerodynamics) in 2008.

Giorgio Diana has also held countless positions of responsibility at Politecnico di Milano. In particular, he was Director of the Calculation Centre, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, President of the Board of Directors, Member of the Academic Senate, Member of the Board of Governors. He oversaw the construction of the Wind Tunnel and numerous other laboratories and experimental equipment at Politecnico di Milano. Along with Professor Giovanni Solari of the University of Genoa he was Director of the Master’s programme in Wind Engineering, jointly organised by Politecnico di Milano and the University of Genoa in 2003-2004.

In 2009 he was awarded the prestigious Robert H. Scanlan Medal by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). From the award announcement: 'For his fundamental contributions to experimental analysis, modelling and simulations of dynamic load effects and their applications to structures under wind and other loads'."

[extract from the 2010 nomination statement]