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Mark Shwartz, News Service (650) 723-9296; e-mail:

Structural engineer to discuss impact of the World Trade Center collapse

Structural engineer Ronald O. Hamburger will discuss the collapse of the New York World Trade Center when he delivers the second John A. Blume Distinguished Lecture at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, in Room 201 of the Teaching Center at the Science and Engineering Quad. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Hamburger, chief engineer for ABS Consulting Inc. in Oakland, Calif., is a member of a forensic investigation team assessing the performance of the World Trade Center and surrounding buildings in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The purpose of the study commissioned by the Structural Engineers Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is to understand how each structure behaved during the attack; the vulnerability of other buildings to terrorist assaults; and ways to make buildings more resistant to future attacks. The forensic team is expected to issue a final report in March 2002.

At the Blume lecture, Hamburger will present his preliminary observations of the damage sustained by the World Trade Center and nearby structures.

An expert on earthquake-resistant design and structural performance evaluation, Hamburger has served as president of the Structural Engineers Association of California, vice president of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and member of the board of directors of the National Council of Structural Engineering Associations. He has chaired committees involved in developing seismic design standards and codes for several organizations including ASCE, the Applied Technology Council and the National Fire Protection Association.

In addition to investigating damage from seven major earthquakes, Hamburger has conducted research for the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Division of Mines and Geology.

The annual lecture series honors John A. Blume, often called "the father of earthquake engineering," who earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Stanford. In 1974, he helped underwrite the John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center in Stanford's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The center promotes earthquake engineering research and education. Today at age 92, Blume remains a consulting professor in the department.

For more information and directions to the lecture, visit the Blume Center website at or contact Racquel Hagen at (650) 723-4150 or


By Mark Shwartz

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