Making Sense of Uncertainty

This guide has brought together researchers working in some of the most significant, cutting edge fields. They told us that if policy makers and the public are discouraged by the existence of uncertainty, we miss out on important discussions about the development of new drugs, taking action to mitigate the impact of natural hazards, how to respond to the changing climate and to pandemic threats.


The guide discusses:

  • The way scientists use uncertainty to express how confident they are about results.
  • That uncertainty can be abused to undermine evidence or to suggest anything could be true: from alternative cancer treatments to anthropogenic CO2 not changing the atmosphere.    
  • Why uncertainty is not a barrier to taking action – decision makers usually look for a higher level of certainty for an operational decision (such as introducing body scanners in airports) than for a decision based on broader ideology or politics (such as reducing crime rates).


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