Courage Under Fire

We need heroes because there is still no such thing as routine danger

A veteran New York fire investigator was asked a few years ago to apply 21st century forensic science to the grim facts of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire, in which 146 young workers died in Manhattan. Ultimately, he found the inferno baffling. It just shouldn't have been so deadly.

It shouldn't have been, but it was. Science thrives on order: tidy laboratories and plenty of graph paper. Catastrophe dwells in chaos. No matter how much we learn, scientifically, about the behavior of flames or the criminal mind or the dynamics of war, chaos still has its dominion. We fill the gap...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!