Dr. Rachel Becker earned her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in structural engineering at the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Technion, and her Ph.D. at the Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering Science of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, USA.
Her research and professional activities are led by the thesis that a performance based approach can and should be applied in all areas of building design; that this approach is essential for developing and implementing innovations in buildings; that engineering tools, which must be based on science, are necessary for implementing such an approach; and that building physics is the scientific domain that supplies the required knowledge base in all the areas that supplement structural engineering. Her major research contributions are, thus, in two major routes, including their links, interrelations and mutual development: The Performance Concept in Building (fundamentals; methodologies for establishing performance criteria, assessment and grading tools; performance test methods; performance evaluation of building systems; post occupancy building-performance evaluation; overall performance of the building envelope; high performance buildings in warm climates; and performance-based optimal design of sustainable buildings), and Building Physics (mathematical modeling of heat-air-mass transfer in buildings; moisture, condensation and mould growth in buildings; air leakage through the built envelope; moisture buffering effects of porous surface materials; thermal and energy buffering effects of phase change materials; modeling for Radon gas concentration in buildings; thermal and structural behavior of steel structures under fire conditions).
Dr. Becker has implemented some of the concepts she developed in Israel and Abroad. She prepared performance specification documents for various building occupancies, and led the investigation and performance evaluation of new building systems in Israel. She was Coordinator of the international working commission CIB W060 – The Performance Concept in Building, organized international meetings, workshops and a symposium, and edited international reports, proceedings, a special issue on ‘Application of the Performance Concept in Building’, of the Automation in Construction journal (1999). She was invited by CIB to act as scientific advisor to two of its projects in the area of PBB and to author the final 2nd International State of the Art Report on Performance Based Building within the framework of the PeBBu Thematic Network. Dr. Becker was member of the CIB Board, Vice President of CIB, member of the Program Committee of CIB, and of the CIB PC Coordinating Committee for Sustainable Construction. Dr. Becker is also a member of CIB W40 – Heat and Moisture Transfer in Buildings, participated as one of the two Israeli associated members of the European EnPer-TEBUC (building energy performance) project, and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Building Physics, and member of the board of IABP – International Association of Building Physics. She was invited to participate in international expert committees, numerous scientific committees and to organize several specialty workshops.
In the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering Dr. Becker serves as head of the graduate studies track ‘Building Matrials, Performance and Technology’. She chaired the undergraduate studies committee, at the Faculty’s Dep. of Structural Eng. and Construction Management, and chairs now its Studies Committee. She was a member of the Technion permanent committee for undergraduate/graduate studies, as well as a Faculty delegate to the Technion Senate. In 2003-2005 she initiated and led the development of the undergraduate studies track ‘Civl Engineering – Management and Construction’, and acts as its head since its accreditation by the Israeli Council for Higher Education in 2006.
Dr. Becker contributes at the national level to policy setting in professional areas, participating and chairing governmental, public and standardization committees, and was appointed by the Israeli Council for Higher Education to chair the accreditation committees for B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at the two Israeli Colleges, and for B.Sc. in Building Engineering at the Ben-Gurion University.
Dr. Becker teaches the undergraduate courses: Physical Performance of Buildings; Industrialized Building; Building Materials and Processes 1&2 (for students of Architecture); Project in Building Materials, Performance and Technology, and the graduate courses: Fire Resistance in Buildings; Moisture Problems in Buildings; Energy in Buildings.