Episode 25 – Feynman Gap

The Feynman Gap is the gulf between engineering understanding of risk, and management understanding of risk. The concept is named after Professor Richard Feynman – drummer, lockpicker, nobel prize winning physicist and member of the Rogers Commission investigating the Challenger accident.

This episode talks about the nature of the gap, what causes it, and what we can do about it.

The accident for the episode is the Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse of 17 July 1981. The Hyatt Regency hotel in Kansas City featured a spectacular multi-storey open atrium, crossed by suspended walkways on each floor. During a dance competition on the 17th of July, 1981, the atrium was packed with dancers and spectators. The fourth floor walkway fell onto the second floor walkway, which fell into the crowd below. At the time it was the deadliest building accident in the United States, and it still holds that unfortunate title unless you count the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Centre.

In the final segment I update the discussion of Bicycle safety from Episode 22 to address the topic of riding two abreast or in the middle of the lane.

There’s a read-friendly version of the Hyatt Regency segement at dependablesos.org
The Feyman Gap segment will also appear shortly at dependablesos.org.

The rest of the transcript is available here.

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Episode 24: Reruns

DisasterCast is on hiatus until January 28. In the meantime, here are three segments from previous episodes.
This episode covers Three Mile Island, BA 5679, and Clapham Junction.

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