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War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it.
— General William Tecumseh Sherman

Fall 2011   Making War, Making Peace

Public Lecture - The Collapse of the Seventh Tower: A Physical & Chemical Analysis

Niels Harrit Niels H. Harrit, Center for Molecular Movies, Copenhagen University

When: Wednesday, November 16 @ 7:15-9:15 p.m.
Where: Morrison Hall 007
Departmental Sponsors:
College of Arts and Sciences, American Studies Program


 

 

 

Abstract:
To most people, the image of the World Trade Center (WTC) is confined to the famous twin towers, which dominated the New York skyline until September 11th, 2001, when they collapsed after each one being hit by an airliner. However, the trade center was an assembly of seven buildings around a plaza. The youngest of these, WTC7, was a huge office building, reaching 186 meters and 47 stories into the air. The ground-plan area was little less than a soccer field.

WTC7 was not hit by an airliner. Still, it collapsed seven hours after the twin towers in a totally symmetric movement with free-fall speed. It was the most unexpected collapse in the history of modern building construction.

The talk outlines the factual circumstances around this event. These facts are held up against the official account of the event as it has been presented in a report from National Institute of Standards and Technology. According to this report, WTC7 collapsed due to fire. But never before - or since - in history has a steel-framed high-riser collapsed due to fire.

In the second part of the talk it is proposed that the collapse of WTC was due to controlled demolitions using explosives. In addition, unambiguous evidence points to the use of thermite, which is an energetic material used to cut and weld steel. The newest findings in the dust include still-reactive remains of so-called nano-thermite.

Niels Harrit researches organic photochemistry and photophysics, including the photophysics of nanostructures and the structural dynamics of photochemical processes. He was a predoctoral fellow at The Max-Planck Society and received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Copenhagen. He was Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen from 1976-2010. Dr. Harrit is a member of the University of Copenhagen's Center for Molecular Movies, which is funded by The Danish National Research Foundation.

Background reading:

Harrit NH. J Farrer, SE Jones, KR Ryan, FM Legge, D Farnsworth, G Roberts, JR Gourley, BR
Larsen. 2009. Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe. The Open Chemical Physics Journal 2: 7-31.