When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago
it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money
flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century
ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor
of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed
all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently
as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious
social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots
aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us
as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and
is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further
enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky,
Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach.
I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight
committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence
in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked
from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?
different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money
flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research,
the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold
numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear
my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned
into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my
resignation from the Society.
is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions
of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has
carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful
pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone
who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read
the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes
the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay
scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make
that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge?
It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For
About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction
of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately
launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses.
In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues,
and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more.
Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence
The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently
written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative
of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us
petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks
of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible,
which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response
APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak
to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did
admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word
incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no
one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word,
but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting
that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket
approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as
the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice
to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It
is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This
is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions
of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific
society is at stake.
In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations
of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud
on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity.
Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other
forces are at work.
So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all,
the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary
200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group
on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues,
in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also
a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect
the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list.
We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution,
and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring
the subject into the open.<
To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition,
but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on
the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You
did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your
yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative
responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions
of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you
have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any
lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition,
and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise
was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to
As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to
organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.
management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious
conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder
that I have lost confidence in the organization?
do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is
always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at
APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it.
Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used
to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money,
exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed
trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and
frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club.
Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions
a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike
Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for
Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for
doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a
weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher,
I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest
crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate
releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.
want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents
me, but I hope we are still friends.