Hurricane Katrina was a natural, human, and engineering disaster of unprecedented magnitude in the United States. Thorough and careful study of what went wrong in New Orleans and why shows that there is no single cause; however, the forensic investigations that followed suggest some actions that must be taken to prevent the recurrence of similar catastrophes in New Orleans and elsewhere.

James K. Mitchell, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ External Review Panel that reviewed the work conducted within the Army Corps of Engineers and the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force regarding Hurricane Katrina and its effect on New Orleans and was a member of the national panel who wrote the report on Katrina for the federal government. He will share the panel’s findings in a talk, "The Hurricane Katrina Disaster: Causes, Consequences, and Call for Action,” on Nov. 13, 2006, at 7 p.m. at the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

The presentation is the annual distinguished lecture sponsored by the EIGER Project at Virginia Tech. EIGER is a graduate student support and training program based on the successful collaboration of faculty members from civil and environmental engineering, geosciences, biology, and psychology.. The name, an acronym that stands for Exploring Interfaces through Graduate Education and Research, is inspired by the world-famous peak in the Swiss Alps. EIGER is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. Graduate students supported by EIGER will be educated and pursue research at the interface of science and/or engineering in natural systems, and also study the critical interfaces between scientists and engineers as they form teams to solve complex, multi-disciplinary problems.

For more information, contact Ellen Mathena at 231-6729.