Learning Lessons from History: Titanic

As we hit a century since the Titanic sank, and James Cameron’s film makes it back into the cinema in 3D, there’s a great article in Times Higher Education re the lessons that can be learnt from across a range of subjects:

On his office wall, James Reason displays a reproduction of a poster that was used to advertise tickets on the RMS Titanic.

The choice was a deliberate one for Reason, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Manchester whose research has focused on human error.

“It’s an excellent example of a classic organisational accident,” he says of the liner that sank 100 years ago next month. “They sail happily into disaster, not seeing or thinking about it.”

A century later, the same “unwarranted insouciance”, as Reason calls it, that characterised this famous disaster is still perceived in events such as the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and the foundering of the MS Costa Concordia earlier this year.

For a small number of academics around the world, the tragic story of the Titanic is surprisingly replete with modern-day lessons in psychology, organisational management, marine engineering and even media and film studies.

Read full article. Note that the photo that accompanies this post was one of the few freely available on, and even provides its own little piece of history – one of the people in the photo didn’t get their passport on time, so missed the ship!