Nova (1974– )
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Why the Towers Fell 

Film on the mechanism of collapse of the World Trade Center.


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Episode credited cast:
W. Gene Corley ...
Himself (as Gene Corley)
Bill Forney ...
Matthys Levy ...
Narrator (voice)
Mike Meldrum ...
Jake Pauls ...
Leslie Robertson ...
Charles Thornton ...


In the aftermath of the collapse, the questions came quickly and urgently: was it inevitable that such a severely damaged structure would completely collapse? Or was there something about the building's design or construction that made it especially susceptible to failure? What exactly caused that failure-fire, heat, internal damage? Was the evacuation plan adequate enough to save the maximum number of lives? And are other tall buildings just as vulnerable to collapse when the blast is great and the fire uncontrolled? In the gray wasteland of smoke and dust and mangled steel that was once the third tallest building in the world, forensic engineers began sifting the wreckage for clues and answers to these and other structural truths. This blue-ribbon team of engineers is nearing the end of its task, and NOVA has been there from the beginning, following its investigation of the causes of the calamity. Why the Towers Fell presents the engineers' conclusions in the most definitive ... Written by Nova

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Release Date:

April 2002 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The worst of Nova
21 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the worst productions in NOVA's history. The source of the animation used to depict how the buildings collapsed is far too close to the Bush administration and completely one-sided. There are no alternative theories, and the science and engineering conclusions make no sense in the real world. Nova has simply followed the dictates of what the National Science Foundation and the government have approved and sanctioned. There were many glaring omissions from the program; first, why did the buildings collapse at free-fall speed, that is, less time than it takes an unimpeded object to fall the height of the building? The smoke of the fire was a tell tale sign that the fires were not hot enough to melt the massive beams of steel used to construct the building. Nothing is mentioned about the heat generated nor the massive amounts of asbestos and cement dust that eventually caused so many emergency workers to lose their health. And, nothing at all is mentioned about Building 7, the building that supposedly housed the mayor's emergency headquarters, SEC records, and many other important government offices. Even though the building was only hit by spurious pieces from the nearby collapse of the twin towers, many hours later it too collapsed at free-fall speed, just like a planned demolition. This was one of Nova's worst moments.

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