The Physics of Disasters

The Physics of Disasters

Prof. Nikolas Provatas (McGill U.)

June 2, 2016 19:00


Disasters in sea, air, space and rail travel have long captured the public’s attention due to the sudden and shocking loss of life and the ensuing fear associated with the lack of control people feel about traveling in vehicles controlled by others, a fear exacerbated by media hype from television networks hungry for ratings. Interestingly, a great deal of transportation disasters in the past century have been caused by failure to properly understand important microstructure processes that govern the properties and functionality of advanced materials. In this talk, we’ll explore some popular disasters of the past century and explain their causes. In each case, we will explore how understanding the physics of materials has helped demystify the causes of such disasters and help prevent their reoccurrence. Along the way, the talk will also highlight how advances in modern experimentation and advanced computing have dramatically improved our ability to predict and control the properties of engineering materials.

See the slides from this lecture