Michael Purdy Discusses the Need for a Global Perspective in Science Research and Training
Michael Purdy, director of Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, describes some key research topics important for the future, including looking at natural hazards from a new global perspective. Since all the Earth's inhabitants are more at risk from floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters because more people are living in those areas of potential disaster, Purdy contends that scientists need to be able to quantify the risk from natural disasters and to learn to communicate the level of risk to the general public. Purdy also spoke to science's mission in serving society. He said, "The academic community has been unable to effectively relay its results and the significance of its research to society as a whole." In discussing the education of today's scientists, Purdy cited the need for both training in specialty areas and the need for an "overall vision of the system, so that a chemist can interact with a ecologist who can interact with a biologist [and so on]."