UND’s Bibel Popular With National Media After Bronx Train Derailment

University of North Dakota Mechanical Engineering Professor George Bibel.

In the wake of last week’s New York City train disaster, University of North Dakota Mechanical Engineering Professor George Bibel has been busy fielding phone calls from the national media.

Bibel is an expert in the mechanical make-up of trains and planes and what can happen when those vehicles have a tragic mishap, such as what took place on Dec. 1, in the Bronx, N.Y., where a commuter train derailed, killing four aboard and injuring many others.

In the last week, Bibel’s expertise has been sought by the New York Times, ABC’s 20/20, NBC News, the Huffington Post and New York City’s National Public Radio affiliate; he’s been invited to write op-ed pieces for the New York Post and the New York Daily News; and he’s been mentioned in USA Today (and many other Gannet publications).

Apart from work with the media, Bibel’s expertise also has been recognized by the American Institutes of Aeronautics, which nominated him to be part of its “Distinguished Lecture Series.” In that capacity, Bibel has been invited to talk about airplane crashes at most major aerospace companies, several NASA bases and the Seattle Museum of Flight.

The media have long recognized Bibel and his knowledge of train and plane crashes. He’s also noted for his related books, such as Train Wreck: The Forensics of Rail Disasters and Beyond the Black Box: The Forensics of Plane Crashes. Both books were favorably reviewed by the Physics Teacher and the National Science Teachers Association.

In the book about train crashes, Bibel details the detective work of finding out what caused the problems and the safety improvements that were discovered because of the disasters. The book showcases runaway trains, bearing failures, metal fatigue, crash testing, collision dynamics and bad rails.

His knowledge led The Boeing Company to hire Bibel to develop his plane crash book into a training seminar that was presented in Seattle three times.

Even before the Bronx train derailment, Bibel had been interviewed by CNN (Bibel interview), Scientific American, Voice of America and Popular Science about other rail accidents around the world. He also had already written op-ed pieces for the New York Times (“Listen Up and Fly Right”) and for the International Herald Tribune (“Fasten Your Seatbelts, Yes, You”), both on Jan. 26, 2008.

Also, Scientific American featured a 10-page excerpt from Bibel’s book, Train Wreck: The Forensics of Rail Disasters. In a separate Scientific American article, Bibel discussed potential causes for the recent Spanish high-speed train crash. The article was titled Spanish High-Speed Train Crash Offers Safety-System Lessons.

Bibel also has written two separate pieces for the Huffington Post: Train Wreck and Why Can’t Modern Technology Prevent Train Wrecks.


David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator
Public Relations Group
Division of University and Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144
701.777.5529 | 701.777.4616 fax