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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Engineers Push New Study of Twin Towers' Collapse
7 March 2002 (All day)
Researchers are calling for a major study of why the World Trade Center buildings collapsed after the 11 September terrorist attacks. Engineers yesterday told a congressional committee that it will take several years and at least $40 million to fully understand what toppled the twin towers and how other skyscrapers might be made safer. Lawmakers have asked the White House to quickly fund the study, which would be led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Engineers and materials scientists began studying the collapse of New York City's 415-meter-tall landmarks even before the dust settled. But their investigations have been hampered by bureaucratic infighting, legal concerns, and lack of timely access to the site, witnesses told the House Science Committee. It took months, for instance, for researchers to obtain key blueprints, video footage, and samples from scrap steel beams, said W. Gene Corley, head of a government-sponsored study team organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers. To get the plans, Corley even had to sign an agreement not to testify in potential lawsuits against the building's owners, the Port Authority of New York. Despite such travails, Corley's panel is set to issue its preliminary report next month. The $1 million effort is expected to conclude that jet fuel from the hijacked airliners ignited fires that weakened steel beams, allowing upper floors to pancake onto those below.
But Corley said it will take at least $40 million to "fully fund a comprehensive study of an event of this magnitude and complexity." Researchers want to better understand how the tower's design influenced the fires and whether different kinds of steel or sprinkler systems might have reduced the damage.
NIST head Arden Dement said his agency--the government's expert on fire safety and building materials--is already planning the new study, which would involve government, industry, and academic scientists. Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), head of the Science Committee, has asked the White House to find funds this year to jumpstart the effort. Bush Administration officials have yet to respond, although they have approved the concept of such a study.