As scientists and engineers, we grow up with the idea that things are knowable. If we want to know something, we can measure it, model it and find out what it is. In the geoscience world, this paradigm does not apply. There are many things we are uncertain about and we are also uncertain about how uncertain we are. People’s reaction to uncertainty and the way they deal with it varies widely. It is shaped by their personalities, their attitudes and their education. It can be influenced by members of the groups they belong to and affects decision makers as much as geoscience professionals. In this talk, I shall discuss the various factors that affect people’s attitude to uncertainty and the impact this has on attempts to address uncertainty rationally and systematically.


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