REPORTERS: Penn Experts on Japan, the Earthquake and the Tsunami, Including Video

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  •  Dr. Benjamin P. Horton on the science of tsunamis
  •   Dr. Stephen Phipps on the science of earthquakes
  • Dr. Barbie Zelizer on journalism’s coverage of crisis and our fascination with images of death
  • Dr. Linda Chance on Japanese civilization
  • Dr. Erwann Michel-Kerjan on risk management

Expert:

               Dr. Benjamin P. Horton

               Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Science

               University of Pennsylvania

Credentials:

  • Dr. Horton is a widely published expert on hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes and is the director of Penn’s Sea-Level Research Laboratory.  
  • He can discuss the geophysical mechanisms behind earthquakes and tsunamis and the history of both in the context of Japan and the greater South/East Pacific.
  • He is a passionate advocate of the importance of new research in this area, which will lead to a better understanding of the frequency of earthquakes and tsunamis and of the connection between sea-level rise and such natural disasters. 

Media Contact:

        Evan Lerner at 215-573-6604 or elerner@upenn.edu

 

Expert:

               Dr. Stephen Phipps

               Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Science

               University of Pennsylvania

Credentials:

  • Dr. Phipps is a geologist who teaches the “Structural Geology” and “Earth System and Hazards” courses in Penn’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
  • His areas of expertise include plate tectonics, the mechanics of faulting, seismic focusing and the response of structures during earthquakes.

Media Contact:

        Evan Lerner at 215-573-6604 or elerner@upenn.edu

 

Expert:

Dr. Barbie Zelizer, Professor of Communications
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania


Research interests:

  • Journalistic images in times of crisis 
  • Journalistic authority and collective memory


Quote:

The constant and continuous picture of the disaster in Japan helps us make sense of the event by connecting it to other events that were similarly depicted.”


Media contact:

Joseph J. Diorio at 215-746-1798 or jdiorio@asc.upenn.edu

 

Expert:
Dr. Linda Chance
Associate Chair, East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department,
Associate Professor Japanese Language and Literature
University of Pennsylvania
 
Credentials:
• Dr. Chance teaches courses on Japanese civilization, medieval Japanese   
   literature and classical and modern Japanese language
 
• She has taught at Tsukuba University in Japan and is a frequent resident of   
  Japan.


Quote:

“I'm especially interested in the representation of Japan in western media, which sometimes verges on implying it is a docile culture, or not quite human in its quiet order.  Japanese behavior is rational.  We should be careful not to assume that the seeming acceptance of these disasters is the product of a strange culture to which others cannot aspire.  Japanese have crafted their responses to disaster through much experience, and through practicing not just stoic indifference, but concern for one another."

 
Media contact:
Jacquie Posey at 215-898-6460 or jposey@upenn.edu

 

Expert:

  Dr. Erwann Michel-Kerjan

Managing Director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, Wharton School

University of Pennsylvania


Credentials

  •   Develops strategies and policies for dealing with catastrophic risks
  •  Teaches “Value Creation” in the Wharton MBA program


Quote:

“The disaster in Japan certainly poses the question of whether other countries, or other communities, are prepared to handle quakes of similar magnitude.

Is California ready for a $100 billion earthquake this year? I doubt it. Research shows that only 10 percent of Californians have quake insurance. Given the current fiscal crisis in that state, if a quake does happen, who would pay for the damages to the uninsured 90 percent?

Is America ready? Unfortunately, we are not. After Hurricane Katrina, it seemed as though the question of how to better manage and finance large-scale catastrophes would be seriously considered by the highest level of decision makers. But then other crises occurred, and attention to natural disasters somewhat faded.”


Media Contact:

Julie McWilliams at 215-898-1422 or juliemcw@upenn.edu