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Seismologists get 6 years in prison for wrong prediction!

L'aquila earthquake 2009

Should scientists be prosecuted for failing to give adequate warning of an impending catastrophe?

Wrong predictions over the L’Aquila in 2009 earthquake

Six seismologists and a former government official have been sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter over the deadly earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009. They had been charged with wrongly reassuring the public about the risk. The judgment sparked an outcry from scientists who insisted that the experts could not have predicted the 6.3 magnitude tremor that killed 309 people. The sentences are subject to appeal.

Courtesy of Euronews:
“The decision to hand six year jail sentences to six seismologists for underestimating the risk of an earthquake that struck Italy three years ago has been widely condemned.

Fellow scientists say they are horrified by the manslaughter verdict. Charlotte Krawczyk, President of the Seismology Division at the European Geosciences Union complained: “It’s not just seismology which has been put on trial but all science.”

Professor Mike Bickle of the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University said: “People are stunned.” US scientists from the Union of Concerned Scientists also denounced the ruling as absurd and ridiculous.

There are fears now the ruling could create a ‘boy who cried wolf’ situation where scientists will raise the alarm at the slightest sign of trouble meaning people will no longer believe their warnings, which could be very dangerous.”

What should we expect of our scientists?

Is it right that experts doing their best to predict events should be prosecuted if they get it wrong? Would it be likely to cause a panic about the next pendemic if experts are afraid of being prosecuted if they do not predict disaster?Could they have been prosecuted in this country?

 

 

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