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Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

UC Berkeley, Stanford host lecture series commemorating '06 quake

– Hurricane Katrina has been called the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake - a powerful temblor estimated to have killed more than 3,000 people and left 225,000 homeless along California's San Andreas Fault.

To commemorate the centennial of that historic disaster, the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University will present a series of lectures on the history of the April 18, 1906, earthquake and on coping with major seismic events in the future.

The series, which is free and open to the public, is one of several events planned by the 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance - a Bay Area-wide consortium that includes Stanford, UC Berkeley and more than 100 other institutions, agencies and businesses. Its objective is to use the 100th anniversary of the quake to raise public awareness about current earthquake risks.

The first lecture is a presentation by Kevin Starr, California state librarian emeritus and professor of history at the University of Southern California. Starr's lecture, "The Great Earthquake and Fire of April 1906 - Lessons Learned," will take place at Stanford's Kresge Auditorium on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m., and will be repeated at UC Berkeley's Dwinelle Hall, Room 155, on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m.

Seven other lectures will be held between October 2005 and March 2006. All of the presentations will begin at 7:30 p.m.:

Historical and Social Perspectives of the 1906 Earthquake

  • Malcolm E. Barker (author, "Three Fearful Days: San Francisco Memoirs of the 1906 Earthquake & Fire"): "Through the Eyes of the Survivors," Oct. 25 (Stanford, Kresge Auditorium) and Oct. 26 (UC Berkeley, Sibley Auditorium)

  • Stephen Tobriner (professor of architecture, UC Berkeley, and author of the forthcoming book, "Saving San Francisco"): "Bracing for Disaster: Engineers, Architects and the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906," Nov. 15 (Stanford, Kresge Auditorium), Nov. 16 (UC Berkeley, 155 Dwinelle Hall)

Earth Science, Earthquake Engineering, Preparedness and Disaster Response

  • Chris D. Poland (president, Degenkolb Engineers): "Restrain, Respect and Rehabilitate: A Tale of Three Seismic Projects at Stanford," a special lecture on the unique structural repairs and retrofits on the Stanford campus, Jan. 17, 2006 (Stanford, Kresge Auditorium)

  • Mary Lou Zoback (senior research scientist, U.S. Geological Survey): "The 1906 Earthquake: Lessons Learned, Lessons Forgotten and Future Directions," Jan. 31, 2006 (Stanford, Kresge Auditorium), Feb. 1, 2006 (UC Berkeley, Sibley Auditorium)

  • Eric Elsesser (founding principal, Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc.): "Improving Seismic Safety and Performance of Buildings Through Innovative Structural Engineering," Feb. 15, 2006 (UC Berkeley, Sibley Auditorium), Feb. 16, 2006 (Stanford, Kresge Auditorium)

  • Kathleen Tierney (professor of sociology, University of Colorado, and co-author, "Facing the Unexpected: Disaster Preparedness and Response in the United States"): "Social Dimensions of Catastrophic Disasters: From the 1906 Earthquake to Hurricane Katrina," Feb. 28, 2006 (Stanford, Kresge Auditorium), March 1, 2006 (UC Berkeley, Sibley Auditorium)

  • Mary Comerio (professor of architecture, UC Berkeley, and author of "Disaster Hits Home: New Policy for Urban Housing Recovery"): "Designing for Disaster: UC Berkeley Thinks Ahead," March 15, 2006 (UC Berkeley)

Tours of the UC Berkeley campus and the nearby Hayward Fault also are planned, in addition to an art exhibit at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and an historical exhibit in the main library. UC Berkeley sponsors of the lecture series are the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and The Bancroft Library.

At Stanford, a walking tour of the campus is planned for next spring, as is an exhibition of historical photographs of the campus taken in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake. Stanford sponsors of the lecture series are the John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center, the School of Earth Sciences and the President's Fund.


For complete information on UC Berkeley and Stanford events surrounding the centenary of the 1906 quake, and for historical information, check out the following Web sites: