A century after the sinking of the Titanic — a disaster retold and reconstructed in films, books, art and science — a City Tech professor has presented a new theory about how the doomed luxury liner broke apart, giving credence to the accounts of survivors that were dismissed at the time.
Richard Woytowich, a mechanical engineer, marine forensics specialist and a professor of computer technology, says that after the Titanic hit an iceberg off the Newfoundland coast on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912, it initially tore at the bottom before breaking apart. That doesn’t quite jibe with prevailing theories — such as the depiction in James Cameron’s blockbuster movie “Titanic” — that the ship broke first at the uppermost decks before it sank in the icy North Atlantic, taking the lives of more than 1,500 of some 2,200 aboard. Woytowich and a colleague have developed a computer model — presented in April at the International Marine Forensics Symposium in Maryland — showing that the impact first caused bottom pieces to separate from the rest of the ship before it cracked crosswise and upward. This vindicates witnesses who painted a picture of the mighty steel vessel noisily breaking — accounts dismissed as not credible by the American and British politicians who led probes of the tragedy and sided with the Titanic’s top-ranking surviving officer, who said the ship sank in one piece.
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