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Beyond September 11th: An Account of Post-Disaster Research

Insight into research at Ground Zero, presented by the researchers who were there

Small capture of the flyer for Rapid Response Disaster Research from Monday Feb. 23, 2004

Engineers Week
Monday, February 23, 2004
National Science Foundation
Arlington, Virginia

Within days of the September 11th attacks, unseen by the public and below the radar screens of many in the media, the U.S. academic community was scrambling. Rapid-response researchers, driven by years of experience studying earthquake and weather disasters, now rushed to collect critical data from Ground Zero before information was lost forever.

Compounding the tremendous loss of life, New Yorkers faced failing water and sewer systems, shuttered banks, severed roads and subways and countless other obstacles. Researchers mobilized to uncover not just what went wrong, but also how to better prepare for events in the future.

Whether confronting failed communications systems, water pipes and power grids or observing the emergence of volunteerism or the cooperation of businesses, researchers were able to answer questions because they had access to people and data in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

In recognition of Engineers' Week, on Monday, Feb. 23, 2004, the National Science Foundation (NSF) hosted six of the nation's top rapid-response researchers to report on their experiences at Ground Zero, the current state of disaster studies and the recent compilation of the research findings, Beyond September 11th: An Account of Post-Disaster Research (http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/sp/911book.html).

Following opening remarks from Arden Bement, NSF's acting director, and John Brighton, the NSF assistant director for engineering, the audience heard emotional testimony from disaster researchers and administrators who work within that community.

NSF supported the research that fills the 604-page Beyond September 11th volume, along with the principal entities that brought the book to completion:

  • The Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder (http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/).
  • The Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (http://www.icisnyu.org/) at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University in partnership with Cornell University, Polytechnic University and the University of Southern California.
  • The Public Entity Risk Institute (http://www.riskinstitute.org/) in Fairfax, Va.

For additional information about this area of research, please contact Josh Chamot, NSF Media Officer for Engineering, at (703) 292-7730 or jchamot@nsf.gov

Beyond September 11th: An Account of Post-Disaster Research is available through the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center Publications Administrator:

Publications Administrator
Natural Hazards Center
University of Colorado
482 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0482

(303) 492-6819 (Ph)
(303) 492-2151 (Fax)

Return to Post-Disaster Research.



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