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More Knowledge Sometimes == Life

Further proof, as if any were needed, that smarts can sometimes save your sorry butt. Only this time, this guy's knowledge -- and some personal initiative on the part of his wife and the gumption of an alert hotel staff -- helped save a number, maybe hundreds, of other lives as well.

As a theoretical seismologist, Chris Chapman says he "sits in front of the computer trying to work out how seismic waves can tell us things about the interior of the Earth". Sitting in Ahungalla, 30 kilometres north of hard-hit Galle on the southwest tip of Sri Lanka when last month's tsunami rolled in, he got a fresh perspective on earthquakes and their impact. Fortunately, Chapman, who works at Schlumberger Cambridge Research in Britain, was able to surmize the danger and initiate efforts to clear the beaches. He tells David Cyranoski about the experience.

From "Get off the beach — now!".

Like me, Chapman "had read about tsunamis when [he] was a student, especially from the big earthquake that occurred in Alaska in 1964." Unlike me, he had the unwelcome opportunity to make use of what he'd read.


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