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Naomi  Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes

Geologist / Earth Science Historian

Naomi Oreskes

Geologist / Earth Science Historian


Naomi Oreskes, PhD is the author of "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," which laid to rest the idea that there was significant disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of global warming and its human causes. Since its publication, the essay has been widely cited by scientific and political leaders – including Sir David King, science advisor to Tony Blair – in The New Yorker, USA Today, National Geographic, and Parade, in the Royal Society's publication, “A Guide to Facts and Fictions About Climate Change,” and, most notably, in Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth. In an interview on NPR, the former Vice President told Terry Gross that, when he goes on the road, the single item that provokes the most discussion is his discussion of this study.

Professor Oreskes teaches the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. She recently arrived at Harvard after spending 15 years as Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Professor Oreskes’ research focuses on the earth and environmental sciences, with a particular interest in understanding scientific consensus and dissent. She has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Philosophical Society, and is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in Science and Engineering. Her op-ed pieces have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Times (London), Nature, Science, The New Statesman, Frankfurter Allgemeine and elsewhere.

Professor Oreskes' books include The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science, Science Without Laws: Model Systems, Cases, Exemplary Narratives, and Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History of the Modern Theory of the Earth, which was cited by Library Journal as one of the best science and technology books of 2002, and by Choice as an outstanding academic title of 2003. Her latest book is Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, co-written with Erik M. Conway, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize, and received the 2011 Watson-David Prize from the History of Science Society.

Professor Oreskes was recently featured in the New York Times, which called her “a lightning rod in a changing climate.” Climate researchers Benjamin D. Santer and John Abraham say, “her courage and persistence in communicating climate science to the wider public have made her a living legend among her colleagues.” Her writing on climate change can also be found in the introduction of Pope Francis’s new book Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, out in August 2015.

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: Why We Should Trust Scientists

Speech Topics

The American Denial of Global Warming

What is a Scientific Revolution?

Why Believe a Computer? What Computer Models Tell Us About the World (or Not)

Why We Should Trust Scientists

Science & Religion: Pope Francis on the Challenge of Climate Change, Inequality & Justice