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Titanic Centenary

A guide to resources about the Titanic disaster.

Titanic will be cut down to size in Newcastle University event for local school pupils

Megaships - how to build a ship the size of a skyscraper

Holmes Lectures for Children: Fish and Ships

Delivered by staff from the School of Marine Sciences and Technology at Newcastle University

13th January 2016

Time: 16:45 - 18:15

Venue: Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building

Calling all budding marine biologists and engineers! If you’re interested in science, Marine Biology, engineering or ships, or maybe you’re just passionate about nature and the environment or technology – we have something for you! This year’s Holmes lectures will give you a glimpse of the marine life below the waves and marine structures above!

Close your eyes and imagine sailing on the biggest ship in the world. Can you picture just how huge that ship actually is? Difficult isn’t it! It’s often really hard to judge the size of really big things, especially things you have never seen up close, so we often use reference points to help us compare. In much the same way as a football pitch is used to describe area or a London bus for length, media coverage involving ships and the sea almost universally use the RMS Titanic to provide a benchmark of size. However, unlike a playing field or a double decker, no one alive today has actually seen the Titanic in person (she sank in 1912). So is Titanic really the best example of something huge? In reality, despite conjuring up images of vastness and opulence, Titanic was actually no bigger than a modern mid-sized North Sea ferry and could easily sit on the deck of the largest cargo ships currently plying the oceans. This lecture will explore some of the ways we could picture the megaships of the 21st century – and just how we might go about building these massive feats of engineering.


Holmes lecture 2016: Fish and Ships

Was the Titanic a big ship and is it an appropriate benchmark?

Articles by Paul Stott Paul Stott, senior lecturer School of Marine Science and Technology of Newcastle Upon Tune

The use of benchmarks in the popular reporting of commercial shipping: is the Titanican appropriate measure to convey the size of a modern ship (2014)

Author(s): Stott PW

Abstract: The multiple layers of the tragedy that accompanied the maiden voyage of Titanic have understandably kept the ship in the public consciousness for more than a century. Its use in the popular press as a benchmark against which to judge the size of modern ships, however, is misleading. Titanic’s size had been surpassed by a factor of almost two by 1936 and in the modern era the vessel would be regarded as no more than mid-sized. Whilst people have a notion that the ship was big, this notion is intangible and cannot be used to convey size in the modern context in any meaningful way. A difficulty arises in that the size comparator for a ship is necessarily volumetric and, unlike common linear comparators such as the Eiffel Tower for height or London buses for length, an accessible comparator for volume that is sufficiently large to be used to express the size of a ship is difficult to find. A revised approach and a number of new parameters are suggested as an alternative to the Titanic.

Date: 05-02-2014

Journal: The Mariner's Mirror

Volume: 100

Issue: 1

Pages: 76-83

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/00253359.2014.866378

How big is big?

Paul Stott, of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, considers how best to measure ships

It is a difficult fact of life that, despite the huge leaps in safety that have been made in the past 100 years, seafaring will always remain to some degree a risky business. Accidents will happen and when they do the event is often of significant public interest and will be reported by the general media. One of the most recent high profile accidents has been the grounding of the cruise ship Costa Concordia on the Island of Giglio in January 2012. It is not only the accident itself has been of general interest, however. The heroic and very expensive activities of salvors have also been widely reported and have been of great public interest. The interest stems primarily from the sheer size of the task salvors are attempting, including the ‘manhandling’ of a cruise ship to render it upright and then remove it from the rocks.

March 2014

Journal: Maritime Risk International

Volume 28

Issue 2

Pages 12-13




Titanic tunnage taxes tutors

How can the size of modern large ships be objectively conveyed to the general public given that comparisons to Titanhic are arbitrary and meaningless? Paul Stott, senior lecturer School of Marine Science and Technology of Newcastle Upon Tune outlines difficulties

April 2014

Issue 1

Journal: The Naval Architect

Pages 18-20

Publisher:  Royal Institiution of Naval Architects