An Incontrovertible Objection?

by Bill Chameides | September 16th, 2011
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

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Nobel Prize winner Ivar Giaever circa 1973

News flash: Nobel Prize winner’s global warming resignation is incontrovertible.

“The truth,” wrote Winston Churchill, “is incontrovertible; panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.” Except, apparently, for some, when it comes to scientific truths.

Physicist Ivar Giaever — who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 with Leo Esaki for their work on “tunneling phenomena” in superconductors and semiconductors — has reportedly stopped paying his dues to the American Physical Society (APS). Why? As first reported by yesterday, he resigned from the organization because he objected to the word incontrovertible in the group’s policy statement about global warming, which reads, in part:

“The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.” (Read the society’s full statement here.)

In his resignation letter Giaever, a professor emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), writes: “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?”

I guess I would agree that the existence of multi-universes is still kinda up in the air; wouldn’t use the word incontrovertible about them. But aren’t some things in science incontrovertible? For example, take a look at this recent bit of data I have uncovered.

Dueling Photographs

Consider two photos: one that is currently featured on Giaever’s RPI website as of this posting and the other currently posted at his bio on Wikipedia. Now, I’m no Nobel Prize winner, but I am ready to conjecture that someone is not keeping his picture up to date. In fact I am willing to go out on a limb and say it: the evidence is incontrovertible.

From his bio at

From his bio on Wikipedia

filed under: climate change, faculty, global warming, science
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