• Question: Do you ever have nothing to do? If there isn't a volcano eruption an not a planed one that is known about? Is there ever a shortage of work or are you always busy? How do you warn people of a currently active volcano ? By letter or do u knock? Surely this is very difficult to do? To warn all the people !! What is the hardest part of the job? From u11bradshawt

    Asked by u11bradshawt to Glyn, Jon, Kat on 21 Mar 2013.
    • Photo: Jonathan Stone

      Jonathan Stone answered on 21 Mar 2013:

      Wow, Good question! I wish some of the undergraduate students that I help to teach would ask questions like this…!

      I probably never have nothing to do…but sometimes like everyone, I do nothing very productive with my day! Whether a volcano is erupting or not, you can do scientific studies to find out more about it. My work, with people living near volcanoes, is just as important when the volcano is not erupting as when it is. When I am not at the volcano but back in England at my university, I analyse the information that I have collected and try and develop theories/ideas that can help other scientists understand what is happening at other volcanoes.

      How do you warn people?! Very good question. A lot of effort is put into educating young people – as they go back and tell their friends and family. Sometimes leaflets will be posted to people yes, and sometimes it does require someone knocking on the door and letting people know. Other times we can use facebook and twitter or a website. Often you have to do something cool that sticks in their minds, like my work with a kite to take aerial photographs…or what I will do with the remote controlled helicopter if I win I’m a Scientist.

      You are totally right in saying it is really difficult to do. No one style of communication works in all situations for all people. That is effectively the hardest thing for volcanologists…convincing the public or governments to listen and take some kind of action. So my work looks at what happens if rather than just communicating science to people who live near volcanoes, we actually get those people involved in the science. Does this help communication? Does it help them trust the scientists? I think so…but working on proving it…!