2011-12 Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes

The Golz Lecture for the 2011-2012 academic year was delivered by Naomi Oreskes.

"Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming"


Tuesday, November 15, 2011
7:30 PM
Kresge Auditorium, VAC
Open to the public

Naomi Oreskes is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and an internationally renowned historian of science and author. 
Professor Oreskes has a long-standing interest in understanding the establishment of scientific consensus and the role and character of scientific dissent. Her early work examined the 20th century transformation of earth science, in The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science (Oxford, 1999) and Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History of the Modern Theory of the Earth (Westview, 2001). She has also written on the under-acknowledged role of women in science, and on the role of numerical simulation models in establishing knowledge about inaccessible natural phenomena.

For the past decade, Professor Oreskes has primarily been interested in the problem of anthropogenic climate change.  Her 2004 essay "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" (Science 306: 1686) has been widely cited, both in the United States and abroad, including in the Royal Society's publication, "A Guide to Facts and Fictions about Climate Change," in the Academy-award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, and in Ian McEwan's novel, Solar.  Her opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Nature, Science, The New Statesman, and elsewhere. Her book, Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming (Bloomsbury, 2010), co-authored with Erik M. Conway, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize.
Her current research projects include completion of a book on the history of Cold War Oceanography, Science on a Mission: American Oceanography in the Cold War and Beyond (Chicago, forthcoming), and Assessing Assessments: A Historical and Philosophical Study of Scientific Assessments for Environmental Policy in the Late 20th Century, funded by the National Science Foundation.