The 2022 Symposium explored how uncertainty reaches all parts of our lives and weighs heavily on our decision-making. Our speakers discussed how to apply scientific principles and develop equitable policies in the face of incomplete – or, at times, even contradictory – information. 

Session Recordings

Revisit all of this year's terrific panels and keynotes.

The Furrs are the co-authors of The Upside of Uncertainty (Harvard University Press). Their keynote offers a guide to navigating and thriving through uncertainty. Nathan Furr is a professor of strategy and innovation at INSEAD in Paris. Susannah Harmon Furr is an entrepreneur, designer, art historian, contrarian, and mother to four children with husband Nathan

Neil Halloran is a data-driven filmmaker who produces animated documentaries about climate, war, and other socially important topics. In his keynote he shares his short film about climate science, Degrees of Uncertainty, along with his inspirations for creating it, and the lessons he's learned about creatively communicating uncertainty.

Our expert panel discusses the myriad ways scientific uncertainty is used in positive and problematic ways in policy decisions. Featuring Christie Aschwanden (journalist, author, editor), Nidhi Kalra (RAND Corporation), Sarah Kapnick (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and moderated by Caitlyn Kim (Colorado Public Radio).

How do we process and communicate scientific uncertainty and constant change effectively and truthfully? Our panel discusses these themes through the lens of gaining media literacy, the role of public trust and engagement with the media, and sifting through information overload. Featuring Kate Sweeny (University of California, Riverside), Andy Revkin (Columbia Climate School), Veniece Miller (Harvard Law School's Election Clinic), and moderated by Apoorva Mandavilli (The New York Times).

A live panel discussion about the role of uncertainty in water management, policy, planning, legal frameworks, and climate impact, plus ideas for better water management in the future. Featuring Senator Cleave Simpson (District 35), James Eklund (Sherman & Howard), Heather Dutton (San Luis Valley Water Conservation District), and moderated by Kristan Uhlenbrock (Institute for Science & Policy). 

Our panel of experts share health and science communication tools to help people tolerate uncertainty around climate change and public health issues. Featuring Max Boykoff, (University of Colorado, Boulder), Nicole Kelp (Colorado State University), Kristopher Karnauskas (University of Colorado, Boulder), and moderated by Kristan Uhlenbrock (Institute of Science & Policy). 

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Additional Resources

A list of resources about living with uncertainty recommended by this year's speakers and panelists.


Can Embracing Uncertainty Lead to Better Medicine? A TED talk by surgeon Kevin Jones on why having the humility to admit that doctors don't have all the answers leads to better medicine. 

Decision-Making: Risk School. Can the general public learn to evaluate risks accurately, or do authorities need to steer it towards correct decisions? Michael Bond talks to two opposing camps in Nature Magazine.

DMDU Society. A multi-disciplinary association of professionals dedicated to improving decision making under deep uncertainty.

Hesitate! Forget being boldly decisive. Cognitive neuroscience professor Stephen M. Fleming suggests we let the brain take it's time.

How to Deal With Headlines That Seem Too Good to Be True - Whether on Morality Police or Climate Collapse. Andy Revkin offers tips for readers and editors when headlines tug at our instincts. 

Modes of Uncertainty: Rethinking Flood Risk in Colorado: Robert Soden discusses the multiple uses of "uncertainty" in understanding floods and people's responses to information about them. 

The C.D.C.'s New Challenge? Grappling With Imperfect Science. Apoorva Mandavilli investigates what happens when you have to make large-scale decisions with scant data. 

The science of uncertainty. Kate Sweeney's Life Events Lab at the University of California, Riverside, explores how people cope with high-stakes waiting.

The surprising power of uncertainty: TEDx talk by Shohini Ghose about the power of uncertainty in physics and new understandings about cyber communications in the future.

The Upside of Uncertainty: A guide to embracing uncertainty and transforming it into a force for good by Nathan and Susannah Furr.

The U.S Is Getting a Crash Course in Scientific Uncertainty. While scientists have familiarized themselves with the coronavirus at lightning speed, Apoorva Mandavilli explores why communicating effectively to Americans has been a challenge.

There's No Such Thing As 'Sound Science'. Christie Aschwanden explores why the easiest way to undermine good science is to demand that it be made "sound". 

There's Still No Such Thing As Sound Science. Administrator wants to base EPA decisions on a kind of science that doesn't exist. Christie Aschwanden reports.




Keynote Speaker

Nathan Furr
Author, The Upside of Uncertainty

Nathan Furr is a professor of strategy and innovation at INSEAD in Paris and a recognized expert in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, and value creation. Professor Furr earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University where he studied how innovators commercialize their ideas. His bestselling books include The Innovator’s Method; Leading Transformation; Innovation Capital and The Upside of Uncertainty. His articles have appeared in many publications including the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, and Forbes.

Keynote Speaker

Susannah Harmon Furr
Co-Author, The Upside of Uncertainty

Susannah Harmon Furr is an entrepreneur, designer, art historian, and contrarian. Her clothing line was inspired by the intricate embroidery Dutch women painstakingly rendered on their plain uniforms—details often invisible to all but the wearer—and its significance in their daily lives. She recently started a biointensive garden as part of a larger "hope accelerator" in Normandy. She is the co-author of The Upside of Uncertainty, and mother to  four children with husband Nathan.  

Keynote Speaker

Neil Halloran
Filmmaker, Degrees of of Uncertainty

Neil Halloran is a data-driven filmmaker who produces animated documentaries about climate, war, and other socially important topics. Neil's unique approach to nonfiction storytelling communicates statistical information with emotion and cinematic drama - an interdisciplinary technique that appeals to wide audiences as well as educators and field experts. 

Symposium Highlights

Scenes from our live panel and reception event at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.


All times Mountain Time
All sessions virtual except where noted

8:30 a.m.

Virtual Coffee Hour & Networking

8:45 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

George Sparks, President/CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Kristan Uhlenbrock, Executive Director, Institute for Science & Policy
9:00 a.m.

Panel: How Scientific Uncertainty Shapes Decisions and Policy

Caitlyn Kim, Public Affairs Reporter for Colorado Public Radio
Christie Aschwanden, Journalist, author, editor
Nidhi Kalra, Senior Information Scientist, RAND Corporation
10:00 a.m.

Keynote: Decision Making Under Uncertainty to Shape Society

The Institute for Science and Policy
10:45 a.m.


11:00 a.m.

Panel: Methods of Living With and Communicating Uncertainty

Kate Sweeny, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside
Andy Revkin, Director, Initiative on Communication Innovation and Impact, Columbia Climate School
12:00 p.m.

Keynote: The Upside of Uncertainty  

Nathan Furr, Professor at INSEAD and the coauthor of Innovation Capital, Leading Transformation, The Innovator’s Method, and The Upside of Uncertainty
Susannah Harmon Furr, Entrepreneur based in Paris, and coauthor of The Upside of Uncertainty
1:00 p.m.

Virtual Networking

1:00 p.m.

Reflections Room

Discussion on the day's learnings. 

1:00 p.m.

VIP Session: Reflections with George Sparks

Those that have donated $250 to the event will receive a special invitation to join George Sparks in a small-group conversation.

George Sparks, President/CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
2:00 p.m.


5:30 p.m.

In-Person Reception at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

RSVP required. 

The Institute for Science and Policy
6:00 p.m.

In-Person Panel: Uncertainty and The Future of Water in Colorado

RSVP required.

Cleave Simpson, Colorado Senator, District 35
James Eklund, Attorney, Sherman & Howard
Heather Dutton, Manager, San Luis Valley Water Conservation District
7:00 p.m.

Reception continues

9:00 p.m.


All times Mountain Time
All sessions virtual except where noted

9:00 a.m.

Panel Discussion

The Institute for Science and Policy
10:30 a.m.

Workshop: Communicating Uncertainty: Climate Change

Max Boykoff, Chair and Professor, Environmental Studies Program, University of Colorado Boulder
10:30 a.m.

Workshop: Communicating Uncertainty: Public Health

Nicole Kelp, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University
12:00 p.m.