Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Uncertain Science… Uncertain World



Why doesn't society act in the face of overwhelming evidence that human influences are changing the Earth's climate? Henry Pollack devotes his book, Uncertain Science… Uncertain World, to addressing one important reason. Much about climate science is highly uncertain, he argues; and as a general rule, most well-educated citizens don't understand the nature of scientific uncertainty. Thus, they have difficulty understanding competing claims made by advocates in the policy debate and in internalizing the extent of the problem.

A distinguished professor of geophysics at the University of Michigan, as well as a participant in many public debates involving science, Pollack aims to help lay readers understand the role of uncertainty in science. “In making comparisons and analogies with uncertainties that exist in science and everyday life,” he writes, “my goal is to help readers to understand and accommodate scientific uncertainties in much the same way that they deal with other uncertainties in life.”