Toss

 

I thought it was the govt official left behind to report on the scientists findings – an official with naff all knowledge of seismology - and his poor interpretation of the risk that got them all in trouble. Ie it wasn’t their ability or otherwise to predict the earthquake it was how the group of experts in this area failed to communicate that risk to the citizens that is the issue. But as you point out this has all sorts of implications for scientists who are called in as experts to assess risk whether it be bushfires, floods or climate change. How do we communicate risk and who is responsible for doing so?

 

Personally, it sounds like there was some culpability on behalf of the Italian scientists, though I think 6 years jail – or jail at all – is a bit rough. A can of worms has been opened, I suspect

 

Jason

 

Jason Major

Manager

TechNyou

www.technyou.edu.au

1800 631 276

03 903 58904

Twitter: @technyou

Facebook: www.facebook/talkingtechnology

 

Location: Bio21 Institute, 30 Flemington Road, Parkville, 3010

Postal: PO Box 4455, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052

 

From: asc-list-bounces@lists.asc.asn.au [mailto:asc-list-bounces@lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Toss Gascoigne
Sent: Wednesday, 24 October 2012 10:10 AM
To: list@asc.asn.au
Subject: [ASC-list] Scientist, earthquakes and communication

 

Judge Marco Billi in Italy has jailed 6 scientists for 6 years each, for failing to warn residents of the central Italian town L'Aquila about a deadly earthquake.  

 

One of the scientists, according to the SMH, advised local residents to 'relax with a glass of wine'.  Six days later a 6.3-magnitude earthquake killed more than 300 people:

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-23/scientists-in-shock-at-outlandish-earthquake-ruling/4330438

 

The judgement (which could equally affect scientists involved in climate change, floods, bush fires etc) raises a whole lot of issues about scientists and communication.

 

And it gives an interesting perspective to a symposium on disasters and science communication in Christchurch next year.

 

A program is about to be posted on the SCANZ website.  The symposium is on 21-22 February 2013, and is jointly hosted by PCST and the Science Communicator's Assn of New Zealand.  It marks the 2 year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Christchurch in 2011.  

 

Toss Gascoigne

 

 

 

 

***************

Toss Gascoigne

President

PCST Network

 

Join the PCST network at: 

 

P.  +61 408 704 442