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Pan, WeiChiang
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/ Categories: Weather

Pan, WeiChiang

Hurricane Ready - Sea Grant Researcher Seeks Stability in Chaos

WeiChiang Pang is developing a framework for predicting failures of the building envelope -- including the foundation, roof, walls, doors, and windows -- with the goal of designing a hurricane-resistant home.


Why does your research matter?

Wind-borne debris impact has been identified as one of the major factors that cause damages to residential buildings and injuries to the occupants during hurricanes. Breach of the building envelope by wind-borne debris allows water to enter the structure resulting in enormous financial loss. My research focuses on reducing and mitigating hurricane induced damage risk to the coastal communities.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

"When I was kid, I loved to watch the show MacGyver...Since then, I knew I wanted to pursue science.

Knowing that my research works will benefit the society and help save lives.

Where do you do most of your work? In a lab? In field studies?

Most of my research works are conducted in the laboratory.

What in your lab could you not live without?

A high speed computer. Most of my research works are computationally intensive. Thus access to a fast computer is a must.

If you could invent any instrument to advance your research and cost were no object, what would it be? Why?

A super computer that will allow us to monitor and predict the weather patterns, including the formation and movement of hurricanes.

When did you know you wanted to pursue science?

When I was kid, I loved to watch the show MacGyver. Unlike most of the action-adventure TV series, the show MacGyver featured an intelligent and resourceful character who resolved most of the violent issues using applied scientific principles, and not gun. Since then, I knew I wanted to pursue science.

What’s at the top of your recommended reading list for someone wanting to explore a career in science?

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
Complexity by Mitchell Waldrop
What They Don’t Tell You about Hurricanes by Philip Gerard

And how about a personal favorite book?

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

What part of your job as a scientist did you least expect to be doing?

Managing my research funding.

Do you have an outside hobby?

Snowboarding. But I don’t get to snowboard that often these days.

What would you be doing if you had not become a scientist?

I would probably pursue an engineering career.

Who is your favorite historical scientist and why?

If I have to pick one, I would say, Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds and scientists of modern history.


Dr. Pang received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Michigan Tech.  A Sea Grant researcher and an assistant professor of civil engineering at Clemson University,  he is currently working on a study funded by South Carolina Sea Grant to determine the impacts of wind-borne debris on structures in South Carolina using state-of-the-art hurricane simulation.

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