Emergency science communication – Satoko Oki

Pre-existing knowledge can lead to a false sense of security in disaster situations and scientists need to be clear about the uncertainty of their conclusions, says Dr Satoko Oki, Assistant Professor, Earthquake and Volcano Information Center, Tokyo University.

Dr Oki was spoke to delegates this week at the the joint PCST / Science Communicators Association of New Zealand conference in Christchurch. Drawing on examples such as the 2009 L’Aquilla quake – where seismologist played down the possibility of quake in the days before a devastating fault rupture –  Dr Oki explained how relying on uncertain scientific information blindly can lead to complacency – and ultimately deaths – in a disaster situation.

You can listen to her talk  and following Q & A session below.

PictureBased on the experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in her first year of high school, Satoko Oki aimed to engage in seismology and received her Ph.D at the Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo in 2006. Later, she became a Postdoctoral Fellow for Research Abroad of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of California, San Diego.

At present, as Assistant Professor of Outreach and Public Relations Office at the Earthquake Research Institute, the University of Tokyo, Oki has been actively involved in outreach activities such as expressing and giving her opinions from a seismological view through various media.