Critical lessons from September 11th

February 17, 2004

ARLINGTON, Va.--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 flood disasters, now rushed to collect critical data from Ground Zero before information was lost forever.

Compounding the tremendous loss of life, New Yorkers had to face 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.

On Monday, Feb. 23, the National Science Foundation will host six of the nation's top rapid-response researchers as they shed light 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 (

Please join us this Engineers' Week in Room 375 of the National Science Foundation headquarters for the media briefing, followed by Q&A. Copies of Beyond September 11th will be available to the media.

Seating is limited and registration is required for building access; please RSVP as soon as possible to Josh Chamot, 703-292-7730,


William "Al" Wallace, professor of decision sciences and engineering systems, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Susan Cutter, professor and director of the Hazards Research Lab, University of South Carolina

Alice Fothergill, assistant professor of sociology, University of Vermont

David McIntyre, assistant professor of emergency administration and planning, University of North Texas

Dennis Mileti, professor and chair, Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder and past director of the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center

Rae Zimmerman, professor of planning and public administration and director of the Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems at New York University

Presentations on Sept. 11 post-disaster research by six of the nation's top rapid-response disaster experts

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM (incl. Q+A), Monday, Feb. 23, 2004

National Science Foundation, Room 1235
4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. (Ballston Metro Stop)
(Check in at security desk, 9th & Stuart St. entrance)

For Directions, see

Draft agenda, bios, images and presentation information to be added throughout the week at
NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.58 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

National Science Foundation

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