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Two experts to provide a wave of information on tsunamis at UTPA May 23
Posted: 05/10/2013
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- Dr. Harry Yeh
Tsunamis have caused some of the most devastating natural disaster damage ever documented. What causes a tsunami, can it be predicted or prevented, what are its physical, social, economic and political consequences, and can its potential for destruction be limited? And, what is the likelihood of a tsunami impacting the Gulf of Mexico and our Texas coast?

You don't have to be a scientist or a scholar to want to learn the answers to these questions and more about these monster waves of destruction that have affected countries and people around the world.

The University community and the general public are invited to a free public lecture on tsunamis from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, May 23 at The University of Texas-Pan American Library Auditorium.

The University will have on hand world renowned tsunami expert and scientist Dr. Harry Yeh from Oregon State University who will talk about the 2011 Tohoku tsunami in Fukushima, Japan that killed more than 18,000 people and caused the nuclear meltdown that has permanently displaced tens of thousands. Yeh, who is a familiar face on national media when this type of disaster strikes, was part of a team that became the first to investigate the scale of damage from the Tohoku tsunami.

- Dr. Havidán Rodríguez
Yeh is a professor of Civil and Construction Engineering with expertise in the field of hydrodynamics associated with natural hazards, especially those in tsunamis. He has had extensive experience of field studies, including the 1992 Nicaragua and Flores tsunamis, the 1993 Okushiri tsunami, the 1996 Peru tsunami, the 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami, and the 2004 Great Indian Ocean tsunami.

The second speaker will be The University of Texas-Pan American Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, a social scientist and former director of the University of Delaware's Disaster Research Center, the oldest and one of the leading social science disaster research centers in the world.

Rodríguez, who is co-author of the "Handbook of Disaster Research" (Springer, 2007), will present on the social, economic and political consequences of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami regarded as the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. Having the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type bombs, that tsunami resulted in more than 230,000 people killed in 14 countries, massive destruction and enormous economic, environmental, and social impacts as well as new examinations of disaster consequences and emergency preparedness and management.

The lecture is part of a National Science Foundation/Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences Regional Conference titled "Solitons in Two-Dimensional Water Waves and Applications to Tsunami," hosted this year by UT Pan American. See the conference website for a complete schedule. For special accommodations or more information, contact Dr. Kenichi Maruno at kmaruno@utpa.edu or Dr. Virgil Pierce at piercevu@utpa.edu.