New Jersey Institute of Technology Civil Engineering Professor Details How the Towers Collapsed; the Impact of 9/11 on Civil Engineers, Professors, Students

NEWARK, August 5- In the hours following the Twin Towers attack, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) faculty responded with insightful commentary about the engineering causes of the Towers' collapse. Considering NJIT's location just beyond the shadow of the Towers, the faculty saw the need to respond as an important public service.

On the afternoon of Sept. 11, a New York Times reporter interviewed John Schuring, P.h.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering and chairperson of that department at NJIT. Schuring's analysis of why and how the towers collapsed appeared in the New York Times for Sept. 12. His initial assessment of the collapse was confirmed by a later report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

On the weekend following Sept 11, Schuring also visited ground zero, and, as part of a team of engineers, surveyed the surrounding buildings to determine their stability.

Since then, the civil engineering implications of the attack have been the subject of much discussion within NJIT's civil engineering department. Those discussions have touched upon the original design of the Towers, the impact the planes had on the structure and the influence of fire on the collapse. In addition to the civil engineering faculty covering these topics, the department also held a special seminar on Sept 11. And in January, the department participated in an NJIT Honors College seminar about the disaster. During that seminar, Schuring gave a presentation, along with photos he took of ground zero, illustrating in detail how the towers were built and what engineering factors caused them to fall.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Schuring is available to discuss the impact of Sept. 11 on civil engineers. He can also show his power point presentation, which includes photos he took at ground zero. )

"There is no question that an important, yet overlooked, hero of 9/11, was the structural redundancy built into the framing of the Twin Towers," says Schuring. "Structural redundancy means there are multiple load paths to sustain the building weight. This redundancy provided precious time for thousands of workers to escape. And although it's not technically feasible to design a skyscraper to be invulnerable from impact by fully fueled jetliners, as design professionals we must develop improved details and systems that provide ever-greater protection against progressive collapse such as what occurred at the WTC site."


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Public Relations
(973) 596-3436 



  Robert Florida
Public Relations
(973) 596-5203