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Fresh ideas on why Titanic went down
AN OXFORDSHIRE scientist is attracting international attention with his new theories about the world’s most famous maritime disaster.
Richard Corfield, from Long Hanborough, has advanced new ideas about the role of science in the sinking of the Titanic, on the 100th anniversary of the catastrophe.
Writing in the journal Physics World, he takes a look at the cascade of events that led to the demise of the ‘unsinkable’ ship, highlighting the significant roles played by maths and physics.
And he will share his findings at a special Titanic-themed dinner at The Boot, in Barnard Gate, near Witney on Saturday.
The evening, billed as a commemoration of the Titanic with food, companionship, reflection and education, will feature dishes served on the ship on the night it struck the iceberg.
The Titanic, which was bound from Southampton to New York, struck an iceberg just off the coast of Newfoundland, on April 14 1912, and became fully submerged within three hours, before dropping four kilometres to the bottom of the Atlantic.
There have been many stories recounting why the ship struck the iceberg, and why two-thirds of the passengers and crew lost their lives, including the lack of lifeboats, the absence of binoculars in the crow’s nest, and the shortcomings of the radio operator.
Mr Corfield, of Hanborough Consultants, has studied the structural deficiencies of the ship and how these – and the weather – contributed to its demise.
His investigations highlight the work of metallurgists who found that the rivets that held the ship’s hull together were not uniform in composition or quality and had not been inserted in a uniform fashion.
He explained: “This meant that, in practice, the region of the Titanic’s hull that hit the iceberg was substantially weaker than the main body of the ship.
“As well as the actual make-up of the ship, it also appears that the climate thousands of miles away from where the ship sunk may have played a role.
“At times when the weather is warmer than usual in the Caribbean, the Gulf Stream intersects with the glacier-carrying Labrador Current in the North Atlantic in such a way that icebergs are aligned to form a barrier of ice. In 1912 the Caribbean experienced an unusually hot summer and so the Gulf Stream was particularly intense. The Titanic hit the iceberg right at that intersection.
“No one thing sent the Titanic to the bottom of the North Atlantic. Rather, the ship was ensnared by a perfect storm of circumstances that conspired her to doom.”
- Tickets for Saturday’s Titanic evening are £30 per head for a four-course meal taken from the Titanic menu. Wine is not included. Call 01865 881231.