Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nobel Prize Physicist Disputes Global Warming Stance, Resigns

Dr Ivar Giaever, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1973, has abruptly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) in dissent for the Society's insistance that evidence of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is "incontrovertible".  The succinct subject line of his e-mail to the APS left nothing to doubt: "I resign from APS".

The claim by the APS stated that "the evidence is incontrovertible" that man's actions have led to global warming, thus creating the conundrum of the use of such a concrete term in dealing with what is supposed to be a theory, which at the very least is a violation of the scientific method.  The use of the term was immediately controversial, yet the Society added an addendum to the statement to reinforce the view: "The word 'incontrovertible' ... is rarely used in science because by its very nature, science questions prevailing ideas."

Dr Giaever makes a valid comparison with real science:
In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?
 He further adds:
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 is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period.
Such statements typically result in the speaker of such heresy being excommunicated from the scientific community, but fortunately Dr Giaever's standing can insulate him to some degree, and serve as an inspiration to others.  The news report above provides some added detail:
Giaever earned his Nobel for his experimental discoveries regarding tunneling phenomena in superconductors.  He has since become a vocal dissenter from the alleged “consensus” regarding man-made climate fears, Climate Depot reported, noting that he was one of more than 100 co-signers of a 2009 letter to President Obama critical of his position on climate change.


  1. Giaever is an accomplished scientist but he's well past his prime and not at all an expert on climatology. This is just his opinion, to which he's perfectly entitled but there's nothing in his statement that discredits the work of the specialists who've been working at this for decades.

  2. Pardon the delay of my reply; I was elsewhere for some time in the wilderness, and your comments slipped past me.

    Your initial criticism of Giaever is that he is old, and then dismiss him as a critic with no real credentials, despite the fact that even at the age of 82, he has moved beyond being a Nobel Prize-winning professor emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (the oldest technical university in the English-speaking world) to be the current chief technology officer at Applied Biophysics Inc. I hardly think he is unqualified to comment.

    But beyond that, his comments deal with the fact that the APS has jumped the shark to the extent that they cannot adhere to a fundamental concept of what constitutes science. He has criticised the data in other places, but here he takes on their inability to understand their own argument.

    Rather than present a straw man by trying to dismiss the critic, perhaps you would do better to address the argument instead.


Comments are welcome and discussion is open and encouraged. I expect that there will be some occasional disagreement (heaven knows why) or welcome clarification and embellishment, and such are freely solicited.

Consider that all such comments are in the public domain and are expected to be polite, even while contentious. I will delete comments which are ad hominem, as well as those needlessly profane beyond the realm of sputtering incredulity in reaction to some inanity, unless attributed to a quote.

Links to other sources are fine so long as they further the argument or expand on the discussion. All such comments and links are the responsibility of the commenter, and the mere presence herein does not necessarily constitute my agreement.

I will also delete all comments that link to a commercial site.