I learned from one of my Chinese students that in China the numbers 512 have the same kind of tragic resonance as 911 does in ours. It is code for the May 12, 2008 magnitude 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake, one of the most destructive earthquakes to occur around the world in recent decades. About 70,000 people died, and 400,000 were injured.
George C. Lee, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel P. Capen Professor of Engineering, presented a seminar titled The 512 Wenchuan Earthquake of China--A Preliminary Report (download the 112 page pdf via the link) on June 16, 2008 at MCEER (Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research) at the University at Buffalo, which summarized preliminary observations gathered from the internet, media, and earthquake engineering colleagues and contacts in China. He also presented a number of possible lessons learned for structural engineers, which may serve as possible foci for future in-depth research studies and field reconnaissance missions.