Modern Marvels

Season 6 Episode 18

Engineering Disasters

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Feb 22, 1999 on The History Channel
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Episode Summary

Engineering Disasters
Throughout history, the builders and engineers who paved our way out of the caves and into the modern world have also caused some of our worst disasters. What happens when their calculations prove wrong and it all comes tumbling down? From Hammurabi's days, when the first building laws were instituted, to today's potential nuclear or chemical disasters that can spell death for thousands, we'll take a harrowing tour through some of history's greatest engineering mistakes.moreless

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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (6)

      • The repaired Hubble Space Telescope can now see 10.5 billion light years into the past, a distance that approaches the edges of the big bang at the beginning of the universe.

      • The Soviet Union was first to put a man in space, and first to have a fatal spacecraft disaster. Vladimir Komarov was killed after re-entry in 1967.

      • America has lost two nuclear submarines to deep sea accidents. Experts say the Soviet Union had more losses, but kept them secret.

      • Known as the Mount Everest of scuba diving, the wreck of the Andrea Doria has claimed a dozen divers' lives.

      • The Titanic's skipper was the most experienced captain in the company. He argued strongly for more lifeboats to be removed before they sailed, saying it was inconceivable they would ever be used.

      • With 114 people killed, the Hyatt disaster was the worst single-structure collapse in terms of loss of life in United States history.

    • QUOTES (1)

      • Narrator: Throughout history mankind's most spectacular achievements and his worst disasters have come from the same hand. Engineers make modern life possible, but when they fail, thousands can die. Now: Engineering Disasters, on Modern Marvels.

    • NOTES (1)

      • Dr. Roger McCarthy
        Disaster Analysis Expert, Exponent, Inc

        Dr. Charles Perrow
        Author, Normal Accidents

        Jim and Mary Kahl
        DC-10 Crash Survivors

        Bill Mackin
        DC-10 Crash Survivor

        Mary Schiavo
        Former Inspector General, N.T.S.B.

        Lyndon Johnson (archival footage)

        John F. Kennedy (archival footage)

        Story Musgrave
        Space Shuttle Astronaut

        Ralph Nader
        Author & Consumer Advocate

        Supervising Producer: Don Cambou
        Writer: Dean Vallas
        Producer: Dean Vallas
        Associate Producer: Jeff Conroy
        Editor: Jack Foster
        Producer: Bruce Nash
        Creator: Bruce Nash
        Line Producer: Paul Dzilvelis
        Narrator: Harlan Saperstein
        Music: Alan Ett
        Production Manager: Lisa Blackwood Hope
        Post Production Supervisor: Scott Berkson
        Clearance Supervisor: Leslie Anne Clark
        Researcher: Tracy Hood
        Camera: Shaun Donahue
        Camera: David Sperling
        Camera: Ted Thorton
        Field Audio: Robert Fetzer
        Field Audio: Eric Fox
        Field Audio: Gary McCafferty
        Field Audio: Bert Thomas
        Post Production Coordinator: Leanne M. Anaya Reece
        Assistant Editor: Stuart Brodlieb
        Assistant Editor: Harris Cohen
        Assistant Editor: Spencer Keimon
        Post Production Assistant: Gary Reid
        Audio Coordinator: Derrick McDaniel
        Online Editor: David Rex
        Sound Mixer: Sam Kaufmann
        Production Auditor: Dani Eslin
        Assistant Production Accountant: Judy Minitello
        Assistant Production Accountant: Linda Scribner
        Assistant to Don Cambou: Tim Shell
        Production Secretary: Kathy Exner
        Production Assistant: Eric Schaefer
        Graphics & Animation: Doug Whitney
        Additional Graphics: Barry Hill

        Supervising Producer: Beth Dietrich
        Executive Producer: Charlie Maday

    • ALLUSIONS (1)

      • The Tacoma Narrows bridge is probably the most dramatic engineering failure of all time. It was nicknamed "Galloping Gertie" after its opening because of how the span moved in the wind. Ultimatly, the motion lead to its collapse on Novemeber 7, 1940 and its dramatic end was caught on camera.

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