|James E. Hansen|
AKA James Edward Hansen
Birthplace: Denison, IA
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Astronomer, Physicist
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Greenhouse effect and global warming
As a high school student, James E. Hansen was inspired by reading Robert Jastrow's Red Giants and White Dwarfs, and took the subway across New York to Dr Jastrow's office, arriving unannounced to ask Jastrow's advice on pursuing a career in science. He studied under James Van Allen, becoming one of the world's leading expert on global climate change and mankind's impact on weather phenomena, and eventually succeeded Jastrow as Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Hansen was among the first prominent scientists to speak out about the dangers of climate change. He has said that unless the United States and other advanced nations take the lead, the effects of climate change will render the earth "a different planet".
As NASA's top climatologist, his research has shown how trace gases and aerosols in the earth's atmosphere prevent the escape of infrared energy, thus causing the planet to effectively simmer and warm. Using global thermometric records to document the resulting changes in Earth's surface temperature, he has quantified both the natural greenhouse effect and the additional effect of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other man-made pollutants, and concluded that the human impact on climate has now surpassed natural effects.
In 2006, Hansen made headlines when he complained that the Bush administration had attempted to "muzzle" climate scientists at NASA, limiting their access to reporters, and that he had been ordered to remove web postings that contradicted the administration's positions on scientific matters.
University: BA Physics and Mathematics, University of Iowa (1963)
University: MS Astronomy, University of Iowa (1965)
University: PhD Physics, University of Iowa (1967)
Scholar: Astrophysics, Kyoto University (1965-66)
Scholar: Astronomy, University of Tokyo (1965-66)
Scholar: Leiden Observatory, University of Leiden (1969)
Scholar: Astrophysics, Columbia University (1969-72)
Teacher: Geological Sciences, Columbia University (1978-85)
Professor: Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University (1985-)
Dan David Prize 2007
American Geophysical Union
National Academy of Sciences 1996
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (1972-81, Director, 1981-2013)
NASA Research Associate (1962-69)
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