Sunday, September 18, 2011

High School Physics


Another Nobel laureate breaks from the climate change pack.

That's how Al Gore described the science of climate change this week, by which we suppose he meant it's elementary and unchallengeable. Well, Mr. Vice President, meet Ivar Giaever, a 1973 physics Nobel Laureate who resigned last week from the American Physical Society in protest over the group's insistence that evidence of man-made global warming is "incontrovertible."

In an email to the society, Mr. Giaever—who works at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute—wrote that "The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me . . . that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period."

Mr. Giaever was an American Physical Society fellow, an honor bestowed on "only half of one percent" of the members, according to a spokesman. He follows in the footsteps of University of California at Santa Barbara Emeritus Professor of Physics Harold Lewis, a former APS fellow who resigned in 2010, calling global warming "the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist."

Other dissenters include Stanford University physicist and Nobelist Robert B. Laughlin, deceased green revolution icon and Nobelist Norman Borlaug, Princeton physicist William Happer and World Federation of Scientists President Antonino Zichichi. Our point is not that all of these men agree on climate change, much less mankind's contribution to it, only that to one degree or another they maintain an open mind about warming or what to do about it.

One of the least savory traits of climate-change advocates is how they've tried to bully anyone who keeps an open mind. This is true of many political projects, but it is or ought to be anathema to the scientific method. With the cap-and-trade movement stymied, Mr. Gore and the climate clan have become even more arch in their dismissals of anyone who disagrees. Readers can decide who they'd rather study physics with—Professor Giaever, or Mr. Gore's list of politically certified instructors.

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