This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


Weathering the storm

“You can flood a city, but you can’t drown a university”, says Greg Seab, a physicist at the University of New Orleans who was speaking at a press conference on the impact of Katrina on local physics departments.

Although the university was above the high water mark when Katrina flooded much of the city in September 2005, the campus was without electricity for six months. Indeed, the power only came on three days before the campus was scheduled to reopen in 2006.

But instead of cowering in the dark, the University re-invented itself online. Just a month after the disaster, faculty were delivering lectures and course work to 7000 students. However, one third of the university’s faculty eventually left after Katrina — something that Seab blames in part on “abysmal support from the state [of Louisiana].

The Xavier University campus suffered a direct blow, with many of its lecture halls underwater. The institute managed to reopen in January 2007, extending its academic year until August. Repairs have so far cost the university $50 million according to physicist Murty Akundi. 75% of students returned that January and Akundi says that enrolment is expected to be back to 80% of pre-Katrina levels by September 2008.

On a more cheerful note, David Hoagland of the University of Mass. at Amherst explained how he received a call from a colleague at New Orleans’s Tulane University asking if he could move his entire research group to Amherst. Hoagland said yes and the team were up and running in a month — and apparently “flourished with no scientific loss”.

I naturally assumed that these were theorists — but no, these intrepid experimentalists managed to clone their Tulane lab using borrowed equipment, much of it coming from scientific equipment makers. Where there is a will, there is a way!

This entry was posted in APS March Meeting 2008. Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Comments are closed.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text