CORVALLIS - The debate over global warming, and how individuals have used that controversy to derail significant government action, is the focus of a Horning lecture at Oregon State University.
Spencer R. Weart will speak on "Talking about the Weather: Global Warming and the Public," beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10, in LaSells Stewart Center's Construction and Engineering Auditorium. Weart is director of the Center for the History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics in College Park, M.D.
In January, an 11-member panel of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that there is strong evidence of an accelerated warming of the Earth's surface during the past 20 years, despite conflicts in temperature data.
In his lecture, Weart will discuss how concerns about global warming have been in the public consciousness since the 1930s. He also will analyze scientific disagreement, pointing out that some researchers believe human activity on Earth will lead to a "greenhouse" warming effect, while others say the eventual outcome will be another ice age.
Weart has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado, and spent time working at the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories. He is the author of "Scientists in Power," "Nuclear Fear: A History of Images" and "Never at War: Why Democracies Won't Fight One Another."
This is the fourth lecture in a series called "Sciences and Politics Past and Present," sponsored during 1999-2000 by the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities.