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Detailed review of:

Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives



Earthscan, London



Gabriele Bammer and Michael Smithson



Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Year of Publication











Krishna B. Misra



Review published in IJPE, Vol.6, No. 6, November 2010, p. 594.

The book consists of 4 parts organized into 28 chapters as follows:


Preface by Jerome Ravetz

04 Pages

Part I: Setting the Scene

Chapter 1


12 Pages

Chapter 2

The Many Faces and Masks of Uncertainty

13 Pages


Adopting Orphans: Uncertainty and Other Neglected Aspects of Complex Problems

15 Pages

Part II: More than a Cabinet of Curiosities: Disciplinary and Practice Perspectives of  Uncertainties

Chapter 4

When the Action can’t Wait: Investigating Disease Outbreaks

09 Pages

Chapter 5

Uncertainty and Religion: Ten Provisional Theses

15 Pages

Chapter 6

Uncertainties in Physical Sciences: How Big? How Small Is it Actually There at all?

10 Pages

Chapter 7

Statistics: An Essential Tool for Model Citizens

10 Pages

Chapter 8

A Philosopher’s Guide to Probability

14 Pages

Chapter 9

Musical Improvisation, Creativity and Uncertainty

09 Pages

Chapter 10

Uncertainty as a Creative Force in Visual Art

11 Pages

Chapter 11

Historians and Disputes over Uncertainties

10 Pages

Chapter 12

Approaches to Uncertain Futures

10 Pages

Chapter 13

Embracing Social Uncertainties with Complex Systems Science

09 Pages

Chapter 14

Heroin: Injected with Uncertainties

13 Pages

Chapter 15

Political Practice: Uncertainty, Ethics and Outcomes

12 Pages

Chapter 16

Smoke and Mirrors: Managing Uncertainty in the Public Health

11 Pages

Chapter 17

Economists and Uncertainty

09 Pages

Chapter 18

Psychology’s Ambivalent View of Uncertainty

13 Pages

Chapter 19

Uncertainty in Decision-making : Intelligence as a Solution

12 Pages

Chapter 20

Emergency Management Thrives on Uncertainty

13 Pages

Chapter 21

Uncertainty, Complexity and the Environment

16 Pages

Chapter 22

Uncertainty, Terrorism and Law Enforcement

08 Pages

Chapter 23

Certainty as Illusion: The Nature and Purpose of Uncertainty in the Law

18 Pages

Part III: Unifying Diversities

Chapter 24

The Nature of Uncertainty

15 Pages

Chapter 25

Uncertainty Metaphors, Motives and Morals

16 Pages

Chapter 26

Coping and Managing under Uncertainty

13 Pages

Part IV: Implementations for Risk Assessment and Management

Chapter 27

Coping with Deep Uncertainty : Challenges for Environmental Assessment and Decision-making

11 Pages

Chapter 28

Risk, Uncertainty and Social Controversy: From Risk Perception and Communication to Public Engagement

13 Pages

Bibliographical notes on editors and authors

8 Pages


12 Pages


9781844078516Quality  and reliability engineers for long have been quite familiar with the uncertainties associated with the incoming raw material and finished product, manufacturing processes, design parameters, data and models used in reliability and risk assessment, but this book edited by Prof. Bammer (at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health) and Prof. Smithson (at School of Psychology), both in The Australian National University, provide a much wider perception in their 20 chapters coverage of  uncertainties present around us through well-selected areas. This book provides the widest coverage of the subject of uncertainty hitherto known in the literature. The reviewer feels that this would help widen the perception of uncertainty to not only of engineers, mathematicians, physical scientists, physicians, social scientists, historians, but every one, who has to deal with uncertainties present in one’s day to day area of activity. To appreciate the book, it advised that Chaps. 2 and 3 must be read first. The book not only discusses the uncertainties per se but also the approaches to cope up with them. It is an excellent treatise on the subject and the reviewer would recommend to one and all to give this book a closer look at least once to appreciate the amount of information contained in this unique book. The book would be very useful for Q & R engineers and those dealing with risk assessment in general.


Krishna B. Misra



Review published in the International Journal of Performability Engineering in Vol. 6, No. 6, November, 2010, p. 594.


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