When you go out to start your day on the show, are you reminded of the risk you're taking? Or is it actually a lot safer than it looks (with the help of professional knowledge)?

Joshua Wurman's avatar image.

I study a variety of hazardous phenomena, ranging from tornadoes, to hurricanes and blizzards. However, we take extreme precautions to keep our team and instrumentation safe. This is not like Hollywood, where a scientist may say "I may die, but if not, this will be groundbreaking data!". Science is all about repeat-ability, not one-off data. It is about collecting data in 100 tornadoes so that general theories can be formulated and tested, not just documenting something exceptional, once. I want to learn how tornadoes form, so that they can be predicted better, how tornadoes cause damage, so we can protect against them better. This involves getting data in many many events, not just one or a few spectacular ones. My team has collected useful scientific data (not just "intercepted" or "seen") in about 200 tornadoes, without a single injury, without a serious loss of instrumentation. We are very safe.