In the midst of the deadly tornadoes that have hit the Midwest in the last couple of months, I was particularly struck by the deaths of Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, and Carl Young- three accomplished storm chasers. While the exploits of tornado chasers may seem like a most macho endeavor, the scientists who participate in it are working to better understand dangerous weather events, in the hope of mitigating their lethal effects. The fact that two members of the same family died compounds the tragedy, I can't imagine how wife and mother Kathy Samaras must feel in light of her loss.
I have worked in the teeth of some pretty bad storms, but have never felt that my life was in danger... I have nothing but admiration for those brave individuals who are willing to put their asses on the line seeking to increase human knowledge and to reduce human suffering. Me? It could be said that I've put my liver on the line for science, but I've never faced risks remotely like those these brave researchers did.