NBA History of Science Seminar – Niels Bohr Archive

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Niels Bohr Archive > Calendar > 1999-2011 > Naomi Oreskes

NBA History of Science Seminar

Naomi Oreskes, "The Controlled Experiment That Wasn't: Acoustic Tomography of Ocean Climate."

In the mid-1990s an experiment investigating the acoustic tomography of ocean climate aspired to provide definitive proof of global warming. The experiment was stopped by environmentalists who thought it would harm marine mammals.

Naomi Oreskes, University of California at San Diego, U.S.A.

The talk explores what the speaker terms the Cold-War Legacy and how oceanographers who built their science on US Navy support for studying the ocean as a theatre of warfare were not credible in their role as scientists studying the ocean as an environmental issue and an abode of life.

The argument is based in part on comments collected during public hearings on the matter, which illustrate very clearly that the American public did not trust these scientists.

Many believed that global warming was already proven, while others believed the scientists were simply opportunists seeking to advance their own careers, but the most damning critique was the accusation that the experiment to demonstrate global warming was simply a "cover story" to hide a secret military project.