Robert Socolow

Articles by Robert Socolow

1 November 2015

Climate change makes stringent demands on thinking about our future. We need two-sided reasoning to contend equitably with the risks of climate change and the risks of "solutions." We need to differentiate the future 500 years from now and 50 years from now.

14 January 2013

An open letter to President Obama: The time on the Doomsday Clock is five minutes to midnight

Robert SocolowThomas RosenbaumLynn EdenRod EwingAlexander GlaserSivan KarthaEdward "Rocky" Kolb Leon LedermanRamamurti RajaramanM. V. RamanaRobert RosnerJennifer SimsRichard C. J. SomervilleElizabeth J. Wilson

Editor's note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet.

8 December 2011

Reliable, confirmable, universal, welcoming: Attributes of science that convey its power and uniqueness

Randy Olson is right: "Superior" is a badly chosen word. Saying, as I did in Round Two, that science is a "superior way of knowing" contradicts my first-round essay, which argued that science is not just one of many belief systems, but a different way of knowing.

10 November 2011

Relativism gets us nowhere. Science is a superior way of knowing.

In Round One of this Roundtable discussion, I drew the distinction between distortion of the substance of science and rejection of science as a way of knowing. I asserted that distortion is less dangerous than rejection. The scientific process itself sorts out distortions, often quickly.

20 October 2011

Yes, science is being distorted. But, much more dangerous, it is being rejected.

This roundtable explores "the proper scientific response to the political distortions of science." Indeed, distortions abound regarding both what science understands and how science is conducted.

27 September 2011

Wedges reaffirmed

Robert Socolow

Let's review the messages in our 2004 paper in Science. The paper assumes that the world wishes to act decisively and coherently to deal with climate change.

21 March 2011

Reflections on Fukushima: A time to mourn, to learn, and to teach

Robert Socolow

As a physicist, I have spent my life hoping that nuclear power could realize its potential. My teachers were scientists who had penetrated the nuclear world for the first time. They told those of us who were studying physics in the pre-1960s era that we could have all the fun they had had, as the domain of analysis moved down in scale from the nucleus to the hadrons and leptons of the sub-nuclear zoo. But, with that fun, came a second assignment: Our generation had to ensure there was no further use of nuclear weapons.