|4thPresident of the Rockefeller University|
|Preceded by||Detlev Bronk|
|Succeeded by||Joshua Lederberg|
|17thPresident of the National Academy of Sciences|
|Preceded by||Detlev Bronk|
|Succeeded by||Philip Handler|
|Born||July 4, 1911|
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Died||March 2, 2008 96) (aged|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Lick-Wilmerding High School, Stanford University, Princeton University|
|Known for||Wigner–Seitz unit cell|
|Awards|| National Medal of Science (1973)|
Vannevar Bush Award (1983)
|Institutions|| University of Illinois |
|Thesis||A matrix-algebraic development of the crystallographic groups (1934)|
|Doctoral advisor||Eugene Wigner|
Frederick Seitz (July 4, 1911 – March 2, 2008) was an American physicist and a pioneer of solid state physics.
Seitz was the 4th president of Rockefeller University from 1968–1978, and the 17th president of the United States National Academy of Sciences from 1962–1969. Seitz was the recipient of the National Medal of Science, NASA's Distinguished Public Service Award, and other honors. He founded the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and several other material research laboratories across the United States.Seitz was also the founding chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, a tobacco industry consultant and a prominent skeptic on the issue of global warming.
Born in San Francisco on July 4, 1911, Seitz graduated from Lick-Wilmerding High School in the middle of his senior year, and went on to study physics at Stanford University obtaining his bachelor's degree in three years,graduating in 1932. He married Elizabeth K. Marshall on May 18, 1935.
Seitz died March 2, 2008 in New York.He was survived by a son, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Seitz moved to Princeton University to study metals under Eugene Wigner,gaining his PhD in 1934. He and Wigner pioneered one of the first quantum theories of crystals, and developed concepts in solid-state physics such as the Wigner–Seitz unit cell used in the study of crystalline material in solid-state physics.
After graduate studies, Seitz continued to work on solid state physics, publishing The Modern Theory of Solids in 1940, motivated by a desire to "write a cohesive account of the various aspects of solid-state physics in order to give the field the kind of unity it deserved". The Modern Theory of Solids helped unify and understand the relations between the fields of metallurgy, ceramics, and electronics. He was also a consultant on many World War II-related projects in metallurgy, radiation damage to solids and electronics amongst others. He, along with Hillard Huntington, made the first calculation of the energies of formation and migration of vacancies and interstitials in copper, inspiring many works on point defects in metals.The scope of his published work ranged widely, also covering "spectroscopy, luminescence, plastic deformation, irradiation effects, physics of metals, self-diffusion, point defects in metals and insulators, and science policy".
Early in his academic career, Seitz served on the faculty of the University of Rochester (1935–37)and after an interlude as a research physicist at General Electric Laboratories (1937–39) he was at the University of Pennsylvania (1939–1942) and then the Carnegie Institute of Technology (1942–49).
From 1946 to 1947, Seitz was director of the training program in atomic energy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was appointed Professor of physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1949, becoming chairman of the department in 1957 and dean and vice-president for research in 1964. Seitz also served as an advisor to NATO.From 1962 to 1969 Seitz served as president of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in a full-time capacity from 1965. As NAS president he initiated the Universities Research Association, which contracted with the Atomic Energy Commission to construct the world's largest particle accelerator at the time, Fermilab.
He was the president of Rockefeller University from 1968 to 1978 during which he helped to launch new research programs in molecular biology, cell biology, and neuroscience as well as creating a joint MD-PhD program with Cornell University.He retired from Rockefeller University in 1979, when he was made President Emeritus.
After Seitz published a paper on the darkening of crystals, DuPont asked him in 1939 for help with a problem they were having with the stability of chrome yellow. He became "deeply involved" in their research efforts.Among other things, he investigated the possible use of non-toxic silicon carbide as a white pigment. Seitz was a director of Texas Instruments (1971–1982) and of Akzona Corporation (1973–1982).
Shortly before his 1979 retirement from Rockefeller University, Seitz began working as a permanent consultant for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, advising their medical research programuntil 1988. Reynolds had previously provided "very generous" support for biomedical work at Rockefeller. Seitz later wrote that "The money was all spent on basic science, medical science," and pointed to Reynolds-funded research on mad cow disease and tuberculosis. Nonetheless, later academic studies of tobacco industry influence concluded that Seitz, who helped allocate $45m of Reynolds' research funding, "played a key role... in helping the tobacco industry produce uncertainty concerning the health impacts of smoking." According to a tobacco industry memo from 1989, Seitz was described by an employee of Philip Morris International as "quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice."
In 1984 Seitz was the founding chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute,and was its chairman until 2001. The Institute was founded to argue for President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, but "in the 1990s it branched out to become one of the leading think tanks trying to debunk the science of climate change." A 1990 report co-authored with Institute co-founders Robert Jastrow and William Nierenberg "centrally informed the Bush administration's position on human-induced climate change". The Institute also promoted environmental skepticism more generally. In 1994, the Institute published a paper by Seitz titled Global warming and ozone hole controversies: A challenge to scientific judgment. Seitz questioned the view that CFCs "are the greatest threat to the ozone layer". In the same paper, commenting on the dangers of secondary inhalation of tobacco smoke, he concluded "there is no good scientific evidence that passive inhalation is truly dangerous under normal circumstances."
Seitz was a central figure amongst skeptics of global warming.He was the highest-ranking scientist among a band of doubters who, beginning in the early 1990s, resolutely disputed suggestions that global warming was serious threat. Seitz argued that the science behind global warming was inconclusive and "certainly didn't warrant imposing mandatory limits on greenhouse-gas emissions". In 2001 Seitz and Jastrow questioned whether global warming is anthropogenic.
Seitz signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration and, in an open letter inviting scientists to sign the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine's global warming petition, called for the United States to reject the Kyoto Protocol.The letter was accompanied by a 12-page article on climate change which followed a style and format nearly identical to that of a contribution to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a scientific journal, even including a date of publication ("October 26") and volume number ("Vol. 13: 149–164 1999"), but was not actually a publication of the National Academy of Science (NAS). In response the United States National Academy of Sciences took what the New York Times called "the extraordinary step of refuting the position of one [of] its former presidents." The NAS also made it clear that "The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy."
Seitz worked extensively with Fred Singer during his consultancy career for tobacco and oil corporations in matters of health and climate change, respectively.
Seitz wrote a range of scientific books in his field, including The modern theory of solids (1940) and The physics of metals (1943). Later he co-authored books such as the Theory of lattice dynamics in the harmonic approximation (1971) and Solid state physics. The latter, begun in 1955, with David Turnbull, reached 60 volumes by 2008, with Seitz remaining an active editor until volume 38 in 1984. Solid State Physics continues to be published by Elsevier. After his retirement he co-authored a book on global warming, published via the George C. Marshall Institute he chaired. He published his autobiography in 1994. Other works included biographies of American physicist Francis Wheeler Loomis (1991) and Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden (1999), a history of silicon, and a history of the US National Academy of Sciences (2007).
In the early 1970s, Seitz became unpopular for his support of the Vietnam war, a position which most of his colleagues on the President's Science Advisory Committee did not share. In the late 1970s, Seitz also parted company with his scientific colleagues on questions of nuclear preparedness. Seitz was committed to "a muscular military strengthened by the most technologically advanced weaponry", while the scientific community generally supported arms limitations talks and treaties. Seitz was also ardently anti-communist and his support for aggressive weapons programs was a reflection of this.
In their book Merchants of Doubt , science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway state that Seitz and a group of other scientists fought the scientific evidence and spread confusion on many of the most important issues of our time like harmfulness of tobacco smoke, acid rains, CFCs, pesticides and global warming. Seitz said that American science had become "rigid", and his colleagues had become closed-minded and dogmatic. According to Oreskes and Conway, Seitz used normal uncertainties of scientific evidence to spread doubt about the harmfulness of tobacco smoke.
Seitz was also a principal organizer of the infamous Oregon Petition, where numerous signatories claimed that there was no evidence that greenhouse gases were responsible for global warming. Despite Seitz being a past President of the US National Academy of Sciences, the NAS issued a press release stating “The petition project was a deliberate attempt to mislead scientists and to rally them in an attempt to undermine support for the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was not based on a review of the science of global climate change, nor were its signers experts in the field of climate science.”.Journalists subsequently found that the identities of the vast majority of signatories could not be verified, because the petition's organizers had no process for identity authentication. Further, the supposed scientific article that claimed to refute global warming (and which accompanied the petition) was in fact a non-peer reviewed article from the "Journal of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons", which was published by Arthur Robinson, the petition's co-organizer. This journal advocates scientifically discredited viewpoints such as claiming that there is no connection between the HIV virus and AIDS, and is not indexed in PubMed.
Oreskes and Conway were critical of Seitz's involvement in the tobacco industry. They stated that Seitz stood against the scientific consensus that smoking was dangerous to people's health, and helped to create confusion and doubt on this issue.
Seitz was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1952, serving as its President from 1962 to 1969.He received the Franklin Medal (1965). In 1973 he was awarded the National Medal of Science "for his contributions to the modern quantum theory of the solid state of matter." He also received the United States Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Distinguished Public Service Award; and the Compton Award, the highest honor of the American Institute of Physics. In addition to Rockefeller University, 31 universities in the US and abroad awarded Seitz honorary degrees. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Seitz served on a range of boards of charitable institutions, including (as chair) John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1976–1983) and Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and (as trustee) American Museum of Natural History (from 1975 ) and Institute of International Education. He was also a board member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Other appointments to a range of national and international agencies included serving on the Defense Science Board and serving as chair of the US delegation to the United Nations Committee on Science and Technology. He also served on the board of trustees of Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1971 to 1974.
In 1981, Seitz became a founding member of the World Cultural Council.
Siegfried Fred Singer was an Austrian-born American physicist and emeritus professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia, trained as an atmospheric physicist. He was known for rejecting the scientific consensus on several issues:
The Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) is an advocacy group financed by private contributions based in Arlington, Virginia in the United States. It was founded in 1990 by atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer. SEPP disputes the prevailing scientific views of climate change and ozone depletion. SEPP also questioned the science used to establish the dangers of secondhand smoke, arguing the risks are overstated.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a United States nonprofit, non-governmental organization. NAS is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, along with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).
Ivar Giaever is a Norwegian-American physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 with Leo Esaki and Brian Josephson "for their discoveries regarding tunnelling phenomena in solids". Giaever's share of the prize was specifically for his "experimental discoveries regarding tunnelling phenomena in superconductors". Giaever is a professor emeritus at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the president of the company Applied Biophysics.
The Global Warming Petition Project, also known as the Oregon Petition, is a petition urging the United States government to reject the global warming Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and similar policies. Some consider it to be a political petition designed for disinforming and confusing the public about the scientific results and the consensus of climate change research.
Robert Jastrow was an American astronomer and planetary physicist. He was a NASA scientist, populist author and futurist.
Sherwood B. Idso is a climate change skeptic and the president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that disputes the consensus scientific opinion on climate change. Previously he was a Research Physicist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona, where he worked since June 1967. He was also closely associated with Arizona State University over most of this period, serving as an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Geology, Geography, and Botany and Microbiology. His two sons, Craig and Keith, are, respectively, the founder and vice president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.
The George C. Marshall Institute (GMI) was a nonprofit conservative think tank in the United States. It was established in 1984 with a focus on science and public policy issues and was initially active mostly in the area of defense policy. Since the late 1980s, the institute put forward environmental skepticism views, and in particular promoted fringe views regarding the scientific consensus on climate change. The think tank received extensive financial support from oil companies.
William Aaron Nierenberg was an American physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project and was director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography from 1965 through 1986. He was a co-founder of the George C. Marshall Institute in 1984.
Alvin Martin Weinberg was an American nuclear physicist who was the administrator at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) during and after the Manhattan Project. He came to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 1945 and remained there until his death in 2006. He was the first to use the term "Faustian bargain" to describe nuclear energy.
Naomi Oreskes is an American historian of science. She became Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University in 2013, after 15 years as Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She has worked on studies of geophysics, environmental issues such as global warming, and the history of science. In 2010, Oreskes co-authored Merchants of Doubt which identified some parallels between the climate change debate and earlier public controversies, notably the tobacco industry's campaign to obscure the link between smoking and serious disease.
Friends of Science(FoS) is a non-profit advocacy organization based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The organization rejects the established scientific conclusion that humans are largely responsible for the currently observed global warming. Rather, they propose that "the Sun is the main direct and indirect driver of climate change," not human activity. They argued against the Kyoto Protocol. The society was founded in 2002 and launched its website in October of that year. They are largely funded by the fossil fuel industry.
Climate change denial, or global warming denial is denial, dismissal, or unwarranted doubt that contradicts the scientific consensus on climate change, including the extent to which it is caused by humans, its effects on nature and human society, or the potential of adaptation to global warming by human actions. Many who deny, dismiss, or hold unwarranted doubt about the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming self-label as "climate change skeptics", which several scientists have noted is an inaccurate description. Climate change denial can also be implicit when individuals or social groups accept the science but fail to come to terms with it or to translate their acceptance into action. Several social science studies have analyzed these positions as forms of denialism, pseudoscience, or propaganda.
William Conyers Herring was an American physicist. He was a Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford University and the Wolf Prize in Physics recipient in 1984/5.
William Happer is an American physicist who has specialized in the study of atomic physics, optics and spectroscopy. He is the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Princeton University, and a long-term member of the JASON advisory group, where he pioneered the development of adaptive optics. From 1991 to 1993, Happer served as director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science as part of the George H.W. Bush administration. He was dismissed from the Department of Energy in 1993 by the Clinton Administration after disagreements on the ozone hole.
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming is a 2010 non-fiction book by American historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. It identifies parallels between the global warming controversy and earlier controversies over tobacco smoking, acid rain, DDT, and the hole in the ozone layer. Oreskes and Conway write that in each case "keeping the controversy alive" by spreading doubt and confusion after a scientific consensus had been reached was the basic strategy of those opposing action. In particular, they show that Fred Seitz, Fred Singer, and a few other contrarian scientists joined forces with conservative think tanks and private corporations to challenge the scientific consensus on many contemporary issues.
Gordon James Fraser MacDonald was an American geophysicist and environmental scientist, best known for his principled skepticism regarding continental drift, involvement in the development of the McNamara Line electronic defense barrier during the Vietnam War, and early research and advocacy on manmade global climate change. MacDonald was admired for his creative mind, and his ability to connect scientific issues and matters of public policy.
Merchants of Doubt is a 2014 American documentary film directed by Robert Kenner and inspired by the 2010 book of the same name by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. The film traces the use of public relations tactics that were originally developed by the tobacco industry to protect their business from research indicating health risks from smoking. The most prominent of these tactics is the cultivation of scientists and others who successfully cast doubt on the scientific results. Using a professional magician, the film explores the analogy between these tactics and the methods used by magicians to distract their audiences from observing how illusions are performed. For the tobacco industry, the tactics successfully delayed government regulation until long after the establishment of scientific consensus about the health risks from smoking. As its second example, the film describes how manufacturers of flame retardants worked to protect their sales after toxic effects of the retardants were reported in the scientific literature. The central concern of the film is the ongoing use of these tactics to forestall governmental action to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in response to the risk of global climate change.
The ExxonMobil climate change controversy concerns ExxonMobil's activities related to global warming, especially their opposition to established climate science. Since the 1970s, ExxonMobil engaged in climate research, and later began lobbying, advertising, and grant making, some of which were conducted with the purpose of delaying widespread acceptance and action on global warming.
The tobacco industry playbook, tobacco strategy or simply disinformation playbook describes a strategy devised by the tobacco industry in the 1950s to protect revenues in the face of mounting evidence of links between tobacco smoke and serious illnesses, primarily cancer. Much of the playbook is known from industry documents made public by whistleblowers or as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. These documents are now curated by the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents project and are a primary source for much commentary on both the tobacco playbook and its similarities to the tactics used by other industries, notably the fossil fuel industry. It is possible that the playbook may even have originated with the oil industry.
The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal.
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|Professional and academic associations|
| President of the National Academy of Sciences |
1962 – 1969
| President of the Rockefeller University |
1968 – 1978