The science of New Orleans: Getting out of town alive

An engineer studying evacuation plans uses computer modeling as part of his research.

Biloxi Bay bridge after Hurricane Katrina Princeton University

Escape from New Orleans, a topic for scientific inquiry--and who better to study the problem than a scientist at Louisiana State University? Now Brian Wolshon has gotten a federal grant to continue his research. In an emergency, how do you get people out of town?

Even back before Katrina hit, the folks at LSU were thinking about disasters and the incumbent evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

Computer modeling developed at Los Alamos National Lab will be used in a new effort to understand, plan and predict evacuation. And the variables are daunting. Just try predicting the kind of damage from a hurricane that you see in these post-Katrina pictures. I just hope they can tell us how to get out of San Francisco after the next big quake knocks down all our bridges.

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    Harry Fuller escaped from television work to be executive editor at CNET News.com.

     

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