Reading Assignment 2

Topics: Earthquake, Prediction, Forecasting Pages: 1 (680 words) Published: April 16, 2015
1. Mr. Vittorini and the other survivors of the earthquake do not feel that the fact that the scientists can not predict earthquakes is the reason science betrayed them. Vittorini says he feels betrayed because the scientists knew that they live in a earthquake area and did not inform the people of the town that the buildings are not structurally secure as well as the fact the the authorities told them it was fine to go back into their homes. A great section of the article includes Picuti and Vittorini’s accounts on the matter. “I’m not crazy,” Picuti says. “I know they can’t predict earthquakes. The basis of the charges is not that they didn’t predict the earthquake. As functionaries of the state, they had certain duties imposed by law: to evaluate and characterize the risks that were present in L’Aquila.” Part of that risk assessment, he says, should have included the density of the urban population and the known fragility of many ancient buildings in the city centre. “They were obligated to evaluate the degree of risk given all these factors,” he says, “and they did not.” “This isn’t a trial against science,” insists Vittorini, who is a civil party to the suit. But he says that a persistent message from authorities of “Be calm, don’t worry”, and a lack of specific advice, deprived him and others of an opportunity to make an informed decision about what to do on the night of the earthquake. “That’s why I feel betrayed by science,” he says. “Either they didn’t know certain things, which is a problem, or they didn’t know how to communicate what they did know, which is also a problem” (Macmillan 2011).

2. Perspective of a scientist during the time of the lawsuit:
There is no doubt that the scientists gave reassuring messages to the public a few days before the earthquake, and these were heeded by some of those who then were to die or lose dear ones in the earthquake. I would certainly have expressed myself very differently had I been in their positions....
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