2016/07/26 11:20 John Kineman, “Scientists in crisis situations”, ISSS 2016 Boulder

Plenary @ISSSMeeting John Kineman, Keynote #isss2016USA, 60th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences and 1st Policy Congress of ISSS, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Day 2 theme:  Global Science and Assessment

Plenary IV: Crisis Science: Anticipatory, Real-Time, and Preventive

  • Description: Adequate resilience and appropriate response (interventions) to crises and disasters and continuous improvement thereof is a growing global need and a social responsibility in view of the seemingly growing number of disasters endangering a growing number of people and even our civilization. Can we do a better job of anticipating, systemically understanding and mitigating the cycles of crisis and recovery by combining exploratory ‘crisis science’ with long-term ‘sustainability science’? Can we unravel the antithesis of incompatible response systems and find new ways to integrate scientific, technological, cultural, ethical, political and economic influences? Preparedness must systemically consider the often emergent interplay of supporting and obstructing factors. Actual interventions (responses) must holistically evaluate the total situation and make decisions, unfortunately to be performed under high uncertainty, extreme stress and time pressure. Despite the often singularity of disasters we have to identify similarities and powerful abstraction in order to support scientific analysis and improved mitigation. A long range target could be an interdisciplinary ‘Strategic Crisis Science’. The panel of international experts will discuss these issues from their different backgrounds and national priorities with respect to preparedness and interventions. We will attempt to establish common grounds and basic solutions.

Chair: Gerhard Chroust, Institute of System Sciences, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.

Presentation by John Kineman, President, ISSS 2015-2016


[John Kineman]

John Kineman

Chaos and order, people getting sick.

  • Gary Machlis will speak tonight instead.
  • “Doing Science in a Crisis”

John Kineman had worked on oil spill crises in 1970s

Now, scientists don’t go onsite, they go into a hotel and make decisions

Experience in the 1970s was an early experience in holism

  • Once one container breaks, have to get all of the oil out

NOAA Coast Team with USA Spilled Oil Research Team 1975-1979

  • An opportunity, can’t do research unless there’s a spill
  • Precursor to FEMA

Early experience:

  • Coming onsite, scientists’ advice was welcomed, as they didn’t know what to do
  • Science team advisory function, changed from the original mission of learning from crisis
  • Instantly became interdisciplinary
  • Physical science (trajectory)
  • Chemistry (fate of the oil, oil fractions in cold)
  • Biology (effects, difficult because want to know what happened before the event, where the crabs there before?)
  • Psychology and sociology (drivers)

Had a whole systems respond

  • Had to think on feet
  • In disciplinary science, think we know the questions
  • In a crisis, not about knowing the answers, don’t know the questions
  • In a spill, don’t know what part of system will be a problem
  • Most of my job behind a desk, my bosses wanted a piece of me, they didn’t want all of me.

What drives cooperation?

  • Money and crisis, temporary drivers, don’t squabble amongst yourselves, everybody will get funded.
  • Enthusiasm:  enlightened self-interest
  • Can we anticipate what we would do in a crisis in the future?

Strategic Sciences Group, 37 years ago

  • Established in 2012
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