San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Year after year, floods wreck peoples home and livelihoods, earthquakes tear communities apart, and tropical cyclones pulverize port cities. Yet our so called ‘natural disasters’ are in fact human ones: we build in the wrong places and in the wrong way, putting brick buildings in earthquake country, timber ones in fire zones, and allow unfettered development in flood plains. We then blindly trust our flood walls and disaster preparations and when they fail, catastrophes become even more deadly. No society is immune to the twin perils of complacency and heedless development.
Yet recognizing how disasters are manufactured also gives us the power to act. From the Great 1755 Lisbon earthquake to Hurricane Katrina the lecture will detail the ingenious ways people have fought back against disasters, alongside the power and promise of new predictive technologies, including catastrophe risk modelling, which is now moving beyond its original application in the insurance sector, to be used by governments and cities in how they identify their risks and measure progress in risk reduction.
Robert Muir‐Wood is a British scientist, natural disaster expert and widely published author. He is the Chief Research Officer of the world‐leading catastrophe modeling firm, RMS, where he works to extend natural catastrophe modeling and investigate emerging catastrophe risks. Over the last 25 years, Robert has led projects to developed catastrophe models for hurricane, earthquake, tropical cyclone, windstorm and flood, in Europe, Japan, North America, the Caribbean and Australia.
As one of the world’s leading authorities on natural disasters, Robert is a prolific writer and sought after speaker. He is the author of six books, as well as numerous published scientific papers and articles. In late 2016 his latest book ‘The Cure for Catastrophe’ was published in the US and UK in September 2016.
He is vice chair of the OECD High Level Advisory Board of the International Network on the Financial Management of Large Scale Catastrophes; was a Lead Author on the 2007 IPCC 4th Assessment Report and on the IPCC 2011 Special Report on Extremes, and was Expert Review Panel member on the ‘Risky Business’ study of the future US economic impacts of climate change (see http://www.riskybusiness.org) 2013-2014. He was named as one of the 24 ‘most influential’ people in the Market in the inaugural listing by Insurance ERM in April 2015, and is a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction at University College London. Robert is also a member of the Cabot Institute's esteemed External Advisory Board.
Robert has a Master’s degree and a PhD in natural sciences from Cambridge University, England, where he was also a Research Fellow.
Robert will be signing and selling copies of his latest book 'The Cure for Catastrophe' at 7.15 pm. Please ensure you bring cash if you wish to purchase the book as we cannot guarantee that there will be a card machine.
Please note that booking is free and open to all but you must register via this Eventbrite to attend. Please contact email@example.com if you have an accessibility requirement and we will endeavour to ensure this event is accessible.
This event is being held in partnership with the Festival of Ideas.
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