CU-Boulder Professor To Lecture Sept. 19 On World Trade Center Collapse, Rebuilding

Published: Sept. 13, 2001

Hyman Brown, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the project engineer on New York's World Trade Center, will present a public lecture Wednesday, Sept. 19, on the collapse of the landmark structure.

His talk, titled "The World Trade Center . . . Did We Make the Right Decisions in 1965?" will address such questions as why the buildings collapsed, whether anything could have been done during construction to minimize the disaster, and whether the towers should be rebuilt.

The free lecture will be presented at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 19, in the Math 100 Auditorium at Colorado Avenue and Folsom Street in Boulder.

Brown has taught in CU-Boulders's Construction Engineering and Management Program since 1994, after he retired from Tishman Realty & Construction Co., the contractor that built the World Trade Center towers. He was the project engineer for the towers from 1965 to 1971, before moving to Tishman's West Coast office.

According to Brown, who has been widely interviewed by the media since the Sept. 11 tragedy, the towers collapsed when the steel supports melted in the extreme heat of the fire ignited by thousands of gallons of jet fuel. The weight of the top 20 or more floors falling on the stories below then collapsed the whole structure.

Brown said that prior to the tragedy he was convinced that no man-made or natural force could lead to the collapse of any of the World Trade Center buildings.

His lecture will address such questions as: Should we have considered the effects of 24,000 gallons of aviation fuel burning? Was there something we could have done during construction to minimize the disaster?

In the wake of the tragedy, Brown has said that the Twin Towers should be rebuilt as a monument to American strength and refusal to give in to terrorism. He has estimated the cost of rebuilding at $3 billion.