Another Famous Physicist Leaves the APS Over Global Warming

Nobel Laureate Dr. Ivar Giaever (click for credit)

Dr. Ivar Giaever has a PhD in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was a biophysics scholar at Cambridge, and is professor at both his alma mater and the University of Oslo. Although he has an impressive list of accomplishments, he is best remembered for sharing the Nobel Prize in physics with Dr. Leo Esaki and Dr. Brian Josephson in 1973. The trio won the award for investigating a quantum mechanical effect called “tunneling” and how it relates to solids. When a particle (like an electron) passes through a barrier that Newtonian physics says it should not be able to pass through, we say that it has “tunneled” through the barrier. Specifically, Dr. Giaever showed how this quantum-mechanical phenomenon applies to superconductors, which are materials that conduct electricity without resistance.

Of course, that was almost fourty years ago. Since then, he made a name in the field of biophysics, shedding light on how large biological molecules as well as cells interact with thin metal films. While he still has academic appointments at both Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Oslo, he has dedicated most of his recent time to a company called Applied Biophysics, which specializes in scientific instrumentation used in biological research and drug discovery.

Why am I telling you about this world-renowned physicist? Because he has joined another famous physicist in protesting the American Physical Society’s stand on global warming by resigning from the society.

Nearly a year ago, I discussed Dr. Harold Lewis, who resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) because of its anti-science stance on global warming. Back then, I applauded Dr. Lewis for his principled resignation, but I seriously doubted that the APS would actually learn anything from it. It seems I was right. Dr. Lewis resigned from the APS because their policy statement says:

The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

Dr. Lewis rightly pointed out that the word “incontrovertible” is not justified in any way, shape, or form. In fact, very few things in physics are incontrovertible, and global warming is simply not one of them. Given the fact that heavily-massaged data related to climate proxies and the predictions of deeply-flawed computer models are the only real evidences those who promote global warming can muster, it is clear that at best, global warming is an unconfirmed hypothesis.

Dr. Giaever agrees with Dr. Lewis. In fact, he puts it in quite stark terms. In his resignation E-MAIL, he states:

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? 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.

In 2008, he was even more direct.

Moreover, global warming has become a new religion. We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it. But the number is not important: only whether they are correct is important.

I couldn’t agree with Dr. Giaever more. This is how a true scientist looks at things. He doesn’t believe in something just because the majority of scientists believe in it. He believes in it based on the evidence. Since the evidence for global warming is incredibly flimsy, it is clear that any reasonable scientist or scientific institution should be skeptical of it. The fact that the APS has blindly followed what the majority of scientists say rather than what the data say shows that at least in this area, the APS isn’t interested in science. It is only interested in politics.

Speaking of politics, it is important to note that Dr. Giaever is anything but a right-wing activist. In fact, he joined 69 other Nobel Science Laureates in supporting Obama for president. Dr. Giaever is not doing this for political reasons. He is doing it for scientific reasons. The APS could learn a lot from Dr. Giaever, but I seriously doubt that it will.


  1. Evan Arcadi September 29, 2011 10:29 pm

    I was beginning to think that all secular scientists were brainwashed on the concept of global warming; thank you for this post.

    • jlwile September 30, 2011 8:42 am

      Thanks for your comment, Evan. There are actually a lot of secular scientists who have decided to be scientific rather than political about this, and some of them are world-renowned climatologists. Richard Lindzen, for example, is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT. If you aren’t familiar with academia, you might not understand how prestigious it is to hold a named position at a university. Such positions are only given to those who have distinguished themselves on a worldwide scale. Thus, this guy is a very well-known and very well-respected climatologist. He is also very skeptical of global warming hysteria, and as far as I know, he is not associated with the intelligent design or creationist movements in any way. In fact, he made one statement that indicates he is skeptical of intelligent design:

      The argument makes arguments in support of intelligent design sound rigorous by comparison. It constitutes a rejection of scientific logic, while widely put forth as being ‘demanded’ by science.

      In fact, there are even secular scientists who are starting to be scientific when it comes to evolution. Dr. Lynn Margulis has rejected current evolutionary dogma. She does not believe a Creator has any place in science, however, so she is trying to develop a new theory of biological diversification based on symbiosis. She says this about those who criticize current evolutionary dogma:

      The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer by intelligent design or “God did it.” They have no alternatives that are scientific.

  2. Evan Arcadi September 30, 2011 4:52 pm

    Thank you so much, I was beginning to lose hope in the Global scientific community.