Author Essays, Interviews, and Excerpts, Commentary, Mathematics and Physics

Masters of Uncertainty on Thinking Allowed



Click here to listen to author Phaedra Daipha’s recent appearance on the BBC 4’s Thinking Allowed. During her segment, Daipha delves into some of the extensive ethnographic fieldwork she performed at a northeastern office of the National Weather Bureau, which helped to generate her recent book Masters of Uncertainty: Weather Forecasters and the Quest for Ground Truth. In the book, Daipha argues that weather forecasting is a craft-based practice—and as neither artists nor scientists, its practitioners are closer to something like improvisational data-junkies, odd oracles for a labor of anticipation.

From the BBC’s synopsis:

Weather forecasting: Laurie Taylor explores a scientific art form rooted in unpredictability. He talks to Phaedra Daipha, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, who spent years immersing herself in a regional office of the National Weather Service in America. How do forecasters decide if a storm is to be described as severe or hazardous; or a day is breezy or brisk? Do they master uncertainty any better than other expert decision makers such as stockbrokers and poker players? Charged with the onerous responsibility of protecting the life and property of US citizens, how do they navigate the uncertain and chaotic nature of the atmosphere?

To read more about Masters of Uncertainty, click here.