Quake in L’Aquila: science is not being put on trial

Marco Billi, the senior judge in the trial against the scientists who had to manage the seismic risk in L’Aquila, has released today the 950-page explanation for the jail sentences give nto the scientists. It confirms that science was not put on trial and the behaviour of the scientists is actually their fault, as “it is self-evident that earthquakes cannot be predicted” (see our post in October 2012), Billi wrote, but the panel had “minimised” the threat posed by the series of tremors that preceded the huge earthquake. In the explanation of the sentences, the scientists accomplished to a “media operation” required by Chief of the Civili Protection Agency, Guido Bertolaso, as demonstrated by phone taps, and gave “vague, generic and ineffective” advice to population.

“‘Science’ is not being put on trial for not having succeeded in predicting the earthquake of April 6th 2009,” the judge wrote. “The task of the accused … was certainly not to predict the earthquake and indicate the month, day, hour and magnitude, but rather, more realistically, to go ahead … with the ‘prediction and prevention of the risk'”.