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Cabot Institute talk: Black and red swans

Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences, University Road, BS8 1SS

Part of the scientific discovery process is to hypothesize phenomena that are as yet unobserved.  In this talk, Gordon Woo will describe methods that help risk analysts overcome cognitive dissonance and anticipate black swans - high-impact, hard-to-predict, rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations.

However, the avoidance of surprise comes at the cost of seeing some black swans where there are none.  Gordon extends the vocabulary of extreme risks to include 'red swans' - conceptually attractive events that ultimately turn out to be fictitious.  Risk analysts face the challenge of avoiding being surprised by black swans, whilst minimizing the recognition of red swans.   Applications to volcanoes and other natural hazards will be discussed.

Dr Gordon Woo is a catastrophist at Risk Management Solutions

For more information about Gordon's recent book, Calculating Catastrophe, see the book's website.

This lecture is hosted by the Cabot Institute.