Jonathan Wiener Elected to Lead Society for Risk Analysis

December 10, 2006
Contact:

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu

DURHAM, N.C. – Jonathan B. Wiener, Perkins Professor of Law and Professor of Environmental Policy and Public Policy Studies at Duke University, has been elected the next president of the international Society for Risk Analysis (SRA).

He will serve as president-elect for one year, and assume the post of president for the year beginning December 2007.

Wiener, who holds joint appointments in Duke’s Law School, Nicholas School of the Environment & Earth Sciences, and Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, specializes in the study of risk regulation and the use of risk analysis in environmental law and policy, in the United States and internationally. 

The SRA is an international professional society of experts in risk analysis who study the assessment and management of risks to health, safety, environment, security and other areas.  The society’s approximately 2,000 members come from academia, government, industry and nonprofit groups, and from multiple disciplines including toxicology, epidemiology, engineering, statistics, economics, psychology, decision science, public policy and law. 

Wiener is the first law professor or lawyer to be elected president of the SRA. Previous presidents of the society include psychologist Paul Slovic, toxicologist Gail Charnley, economist Lester Lave, engineer Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, and public policy scholar John Graham.

“I am deeply honored that my colleagues have asked me to lead the SRA,” said Wiener.  “At its core, risk analysis means thinking through our choices about the future.  And the risks we face – such as terrorism, global climate change, pollution, epidemic diseases, and hurricanes – have never been more in need of sober, sensible analysis.  Too often decision makers skip the analysis and leap to ill-considered choices, in all directions, because they think they know the answer without doing the thinking.  Judicious use of risk analysis can help us avoid these tragic mistakes.” 

Wiener’s research focuses on how the interconnectedness of risks vexes regulatory policy, including the analysis of and remedies for “risk-risk tradeoffs”; the study of the “precautionary principle” in U.S., European, and international law; and the development of risk-based approaches for global climate change, biotechnology, terrorism, and presidential oversight of the regulatory system.  In 1993, he helped draft President Bill Clinton’s executive order on regulatory review. 

His books include The Reality of Precaution (forthcoming), Reconstructing Climate Policy (AEI Press 2003, with Richard B. Stewart), and the widely cited Risk vs. Risk (Harvard University Press 1995, with John D. Graham), which is the foundational work in the field of risk-risk tradeoffs. 

Wiener is a University Fellow of the think tank Resources for the Future.  In 2003, the SRA conferred on him its Chauncey Starr Young Risk Analyst Award, given each year to the individual aged 40 or under who has made the most “exceptional contributions to the field of risk analysis.” 

For more information on the SRA, visit www.sra.org.  For information on Wiener, visit www.law.duke.edu/fac/wiener.