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Handling uncertainty in science









The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG



Organised by: Professor Tim Palmer FRS (University of Oxford and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) and Professor Paul Hardaker (Royal Meteorological Society)

 A highly multi-disciplinary meeting discussing how scientists from a range of disciplines handle the issue of uncertainty in their area of specialisation: i.e. how uncertainty can be characterised, estimated, predicted and communicated. The meeting will also address the question of how decisions are made, and should be made, in the light of scientific uncertainty. An exceptionally eminent set of speakers have agreed to participate.
Audio recordings of the meeting are now available below.
The proceedings of this meeting have been published in Philosophical Transactions A.

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Schedule of talks


17 talks Show detail Hide detail

Introduction by Professor Tim Palmer, University of Oxford and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts

Science as organised scepticism

Uncertainty and probability in physics old and new

Sources of uncertainty in deterministic dynamics

Quantifying uncertainty

Uncertainty in weather and climate prediction

Uncertainties in predicting extremes of weather and climate

Uncertainty in macroeconomic policy making: art or science?

Mr Mervyn King, Bank of England, UK

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Uncertainty, ambiguity and risk in forming climate policy

Professor Leonard Smith, London School of Economics

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Risk and regulation

Lord Krebs of Wytham Kt FRS, Jesus College, University of Oxford

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A governmental perspective on uncertainties in the health sciences

Uncertainties of quantum mechanics – faith or fantasy?

Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, UK

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Uncertainties in cosmology

Professor John D Barrow FRS, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK

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Communicating scientific uncertainty

Dr Philip Campbell, Nature

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Making commercial decisions in the light of incertain scientific advice

Dr Nina M Skorupska, RWE AG, Germany

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Implications of uncertainty for Government

Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS, University of Oxford, UK

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Panel Discussion

Handling uncertainty in science The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK