Earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods, droughts -- there are no easy answers when it comes to natural disasters. But, that doesn't mean we must be powerless in their wakes. Civil and environmental engineers are tackling big questions in efforts to increase understanding, prepare for, and, when possible, prevent major disasters.
With the goal of saving lives and preventing environmental and structural damage during real tsunamis, Princeton Engineering researchers created experimental mini-tsunamis in Oregon this summer.
Sara Piaskowy, a senior majoring in civil and environmental engineering, recently solved a mystery: Why does Bayview Avenue, one of the main roads in Seaside Park, N.J., flood regularly despite working storm sewers and a two-foot barrier wall separating it from the waters of nearby Barnegat Bay.
Two of the world's worst natural disasters in recent years stemmed from different causes on opposite sides of the globe, but actually had much in common, according to researchers who are part of a large National Science Foundation-funded research initiative that has been studying both the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 and the Hurricane Katrina of 2005.