New Blumsack article explores hot topic of electricity infrastructure vulnerability

Seth Blumsack
October 13, 2010

A recent article by Seth Blumsack, assistant professor of energy policy and economics, entitled, "Do topological models provide good information about electricity infrastructure vulnerability?" is generating online buzz. The article, co-authored with faculty at the University of Vermont and published in the American Institute of Physics journal, Chaos, is largely a response to several recent papers on the vulnerability of the electric power grid.

"These other papers use very simple models to conclude that it is relatively easy for a rogue terrorist or other malicious person to cause a large blackout. The problem with these papers is that they use a terrible model of the physics of the power grid. Our paper uses a correct physical model and concludes that the power grid is a lot more robust, and it is much more difficult to cause a large blackout," says Blumsack.

A number of online science news outlets, including, Science 2.0, and the "Headlines Around The Web" section of the online New York Times, have cited the article since its publication two weeks ago.

Read Dr. Blumsack's paper online at