Dr San Hla Aung’s Biography
San Hla Aung was born on September 1, 1936 in Mandalay, Myanmar. After matriculation from high school, he entered the University of Rangoon in 1952 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Civil) degree in 1958. He later earned a Master of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962 and a Ph.D. degree from Tulane University in in 2000.
San Hla Aung began his teaching career in 1958 as an Assistant Lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering right after his graduation. He went to MIT in 1960 on a state scholarship and study leave for the M.S. degree. He continued teaching at the Rangoon Institute of Technology upon his return to Myanmar in 1962 and became a Lecturer in 1964. He taught there until 1988 and migrated to the U.S.A. in 1989 and joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tulane University in New Orleans. While teaching, he enrolled part-time in the graduate school and worked on his Ph.D.
In 2007, Tulane had to close the Civil, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering departments due to extensive damages suffered during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The university, however, retained San Hla Aung and reappointed him as a Professor of Practice in the Department of Biomedical engineering. He taught there until June 2016 when he retired with the title of Emeritus Professor.
During his 57 years in academia, San Hla Aung taught various Civil and Structural Engineering courses (undergraduate and graduate) and several Engineering Mechanics and Biomedical Engineering courses. He also had wide experience in Materials Testing and Research, and Experimental and Model Stress Analysis.
Besides earning the various degrees, San Hla Aung received two major research scholarships, viz, German Academic Exchange Senior Research Scholarship at Stuttgart University and Otto-Graf Institute of Materials Testing and Research in Germany (1976-78), and Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship at Tulane University in the U.S.A. (1985-86).
San Hla Aung also had industrial experience. While attending MIT, he worked part-time for Simpson, Gumpertz, and Heger Consulting Engineers in Boston. In Stuttgart, after finishing the research projects, he worked for three months as Visiting Structural Engineer in the Consulting Engineering firm of Leonhardt and Andrae, where he checked designs of long-span prestressed concrete girders and took part in on-site inspection of cantilever and incremental launching systems for long-span prestressed concrete bridges. At Tulane, he partnered with another Civil Engineering faculty and conducted a field seismic investigation for the Louisiana Department of Transportation on differential settlements between concrete and asphalt slabs at junction of bridge and road sections.
While teaching at RIT, San Hla Aung had very close professional contact with several government departments such as the Construction Corporation, Technical Services Corporation, and Ceramics Industries Corporation. He attended their technical committee meetings and visited various bridge and industrial construction sites in the country. He was on the four-member Government Inquiry Panel on collapse of the new Hluttaw building roof trusses in Yangon in 1983. He also served as Myanmar counterpart in the UNESCO Technical Team for assessment of earthquake damage to selected Bagan pagodas in 1979.
San Hla Aung lives in New York after his retirement from Tulane.