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Gifted Kids Learn Why Earthquakes Cause More Damage in the East than in the Western World.

Over 200 members from the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) will visit the University of Cambridge on 22nd January to learn why earthquakes happen, why they make a 'bulls-eye' hit on towns in Asia, and why similar events result in as many as 40,000 deaths in Iran, yet as few as two fatalities in California. The lecture was arranged prior to Christmas but the demand for places increased dramatically in response to the events of Boxing Day.

On Boxing Day 2003 an earthquake in Bam, Iran killed 40,000 out of 100,000 people in a city with the population and area of Cambridge. A year later, on Boxing Day 2004, a very much bigger earthquake in Indonesia killed 150,000 people. By contrast, in the last 15 years two earthquakes slightly larger than that at Bam (but much smaller than that in Indonesia) occurred in San Fransisco and Los Angeles, within the largest, most densely populated conurbations in California, and each one killed only 60 people.

Living with Earthquakes is a two-hour lecture delivered by Professor James Jackson FRS and Dr. Gopal Madabhushi. The lecture, will look at how earthquakes happen and how they shape the landscape; it will also deal with the practical implications of earthquakes and what we can learn from them,.

Professor Jackson said: ?It is imperative that we learn to recognise places that are vulnerable to earthquakes and look at how wealth and building quality factor into the different effects earthquakes have across the globe. Only by learning about the differences, for example between California and Iran, can we begin to help the poorer countries recover from, and prevent, such devastation.?

The lecture is free to student members of NAGTY and the Aim Higher gifted cohort, but please note that, due to the high demand for the event, booking is essential. Students have asked that a collection be made at the event for the victims of the Asian Tsunami.

Media/Filming Opportunities:
Saturday 22 January, Lady Mitchell Hall (Sidgwick site)
The University of Cambridge. Lecture 10.30 - 12.30.

For more information or to attend the event please contact: Alison Rowan, Press Officer on 024 76 574 905 or 07876218130.

Further Information:

The HE Gateway Lecture Series has been designed to bring students from all backgrounds, in contact with experts from leading universities and hopefully encourage more students, particularly those from disadvantaged areas, to consider Higher Education.

Professor James Jackson gave the Royal Society Christmas lectures in 1995 and is a Professor of Active Tectonics at the University of Cambridge. Professor Jackson is also Associate Director of COMET (Centre for the Observation of the Modelling of Earthquakes and Tectonics).

Dr. Gopal Madabhushi was involved with the recent BBC2 programme on the destruction of the Minoan civilisation in Crete, part of the Ancient Apocalypse series. Dr. Madabhushi is a lecturer in Soil Mechanics at the University of Cambridge and is a member of the Earthquake Field Investigation Team, run by the Institution of Structural Engineers.