Rumbles more ominous

Remember this from about a year and a half ago?

Six Italian seismologists and one government official will be tried for the manslaughter of those who died in an earthquake that struck the city of L’Aquila on 6 April 2009.

The seven are accused of misinforming the population about seismic risk in the days before the earthquakes, indirectly causing the death of the citizens they had reassured.

(Original source.)

It’s six years for the seven:

A regional court found them guilty of multiple manslaughter.

Prosecutors said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defence maintained there was no way to predict major quakes.

This should be obvious:

Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the UK’s Royal Berkshire Hospital said that the sentence was surprising and could set a worrying precedent.

“If the scientific community is to be penalised for making predictions that turn out to be incorrect, or for not accurately predicting an event that subsequently occurs, then scientific endeavour will be restricted to certainties only and the benefits that are associated with findings from medicine to physics will be stalled.”

Please note: This happened in Italy, not in California.


  1. JT »

    23 October 2012 · 9:57 am

    Last time I checked, they didn’t exactly like what Galileo said about our planet’s place in the universe (amongst his other discoveries and observations), and it took them several hundred years to realize it. Galileo, on the other hand, got the last word in.

  2. Trumwill »

    23 October 2012 · 9:34 pm

    I actually wonder if there isn’t something to this. At a time when scientists are demanding that we rearrange our economy on the basis of scientific projections, there is sort of the expectation that they are right.

  3. CGHill »

    23 October 2012 · 9:53 pm

    Or at least the demand that we accept them as being right.

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