How Science Can Save Lives

For the past decade, my Indonesian colleagues and I have been trying to understand great earthquakes in Sumatra. We had learned enough by last year to start teaching island villagers living on top of the region's giant earthquake fault about the threat. I will not know until I visit them soon whether our efforts saved any lives.

I am saddened but not surprised by our failure to apply what we had learned about earthquakes and tsunamis to warn the people living in Aceh or around the Bay of Bengal. We earth scientists are understanding slowly but surely...

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