Wescott’s Weekly Round-Up: Science and the Chilean Mine Rescue

David Wescott here again.   A lot happened in the science blogosphere this week, but there’s really only one topic that demands attention today – the Chile Mine Rescue.

The world’s attention has rightly been focused on the 33 people trapped half a mile below the surface for 69 days in Copiapo, Chile, and their amazing rescue.  If you hadn’t heard of Copiapo before, you’re not alone.  There’s not much out there.  Here’s a view of Copiapo from space.

While the “top story” is obviously the courage and perseverance of the miners and their families, let’s not forget that an amazing international team of scientists, engineers, and doctors made the rescue possible.  There were dozens if not hundreds of scientific issues in play here – from the stability of the ground to the pressure and temperature below the surface, to the construction of the rescue capsule, to the boring of the rescue shaft, to the mental and physical health of the miners.

CBS News Online’s Seth Doane took science and technical questions via Facebook and answered them from the mine rescue site.

Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin made some interesting comparisons between the rescue efforts and space flight.  It’s no coincidence that NASA scientists were involved in the efforts.

The Christian Science Monitor (an online-only publication for years now) published a great piece on how far mine safety has come.

Finally, Luis Urzua –  the foreman of the miners trapped down there for so long – has been scientifically proven to be DA MAN.  So says Bob Sutton in the Psychology Today blog Work Matters.  Urzua has redefined leadership.  He kept 33 men alive for 17 days with only 2 days’ worth of food.  He maintained discipline and good order.  He’s the last miner to leave the mine.   He’s a national hero in Chile and an example to us all.