## risk

Find out how scientists, from physicists to geneticists, measure their confidence in their results.

What do physicists at CERN mean when they talk about "sigma levels"?

Probabilities and statistics: they are everywhere, but they are hard to understand and can be counter-intuitive. So what's the best way of communicating them to an audience that doesn't have the time, desire, or background to get stuck into the numbers? This article explores modern visualisation techniques and finds that the right picture really can be worth a thousand words.

Do you think bungee jumping is riskier than smoking? Would you take a medicine with a 10% risk of serious side effects? Or board a plane with a 1% chance of crashing? Risk is a very complex topic, studied by researchers all over the world. In the Big Risk Test, which is now live as part of BBC Lab UK, we want to find out how people deal with risk, particularly to try and understand what makes people have such different opinions and feelings about life's chances.

Insurance companies offer protection against rare but catastrophic events like hurricanes or earthquakes. But how do they work out the financial risks associated to these disasters? Shane Latchman investigates.

**David Spiegelhalter**and

**Mike Pearson**investigate.

Why does a financial mathematician think about birds when trying to understand the grounding of aeroplanes after the Icelandic volcano eruption?