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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

11-14-05

Contacts:

R. Bruce Thompson, Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, (515) 294-8152

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917

Presidential Lecture: Iowa State resarchers work to reduce aviation risks

AMES, Iowa -- R. Bruce Thompson wants you to think about some of the risks we all face.

There are risks of natural disasters. There are concerns about food safety. There's terrorism. And there are plane crashes.

Just how much risk are you willing to accept? And what can be done to reduce those risks?

Thompson, speaking during this fall's Presidential University Lecture, will focus on avoiding the risks associated with aviation. He'll mention some aviation catastrophes -- the failure of an engine fan disk that caused United Flight 232 to crash in Sioux City, the overloading and failure of a tail fin that caused American Flight 587 to crash near New York, fuselage cracks that caused Aloha Flight 243 to lose one-third of its roof over Hawaii -- and explain how Iowa State University researchers are trying to reduce the risk of such structural failures.

Thompson, an Iowa State Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, directs Iowa State's Center for Nondestructive Evaluation and the Ames Laboratory's Nondestructive Evaluation Program. Center and program researchers use X-rays, ultrasonic imaging and other technologies to examine materials for flaws. These technologies allow researchers to inspect components of an aircraft without destroying those components.

But nondestructive evaluation isn't limited to the aviation industry. Thompson will also explain it has potential applications in inspecting nuclear power plants, in making sure bridges, highways and pipelines are safe, in treating tumors and in reading ancient scrolls without unrolling them.

Thompson hopes people remember a little of his talk the next time they step into an airliner.

"I'd like people to see the important role that Iowa State is playing in assuring aviation safety," he said. "And I also want to show them some of the interesting interdisciplinary science and engineering problems that need to be solved."

Thompson's lecture, "Reducing the Risk of Aviation Catastrophe," will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the Great Hall of Iowa State's Memorial Union. It is free and open to the public.

The Presidential University Lecture Series was created in 2003 to highlight the expertise and excellence of Iowa State faculty.

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R. Bruce Thompson

R. Bruce Thompson.


Quick look

R. Bruce Thompson, director of Iowa State University's Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, will present "Reducing the Risk of Aviation Catastrophe" during the fall Presidential University Lecture. The lecture will be 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the Great Hall of Iowa State's Memorial Union. It is free and open to the public.

Quote

"I'd like people to see the important role that Iowa State is playing in assuring aviation safety."

R. Bruce Thompson, an Iowa State Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering