Oreskes, Naomi

Professor of the History of Science

Naomi Oreskes’ research focuses on the Earth and environmental sciences, with a particular interest in understanding scientific consensus and dissent.

About Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is a professor of the History of Science.

Oreskes is an internationally renowned geologist, science historian, and author of both scholarly and popular books and articles on the history of earth and environmental science, including The Rejection of Continental Drift (Oxford, 1999), Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth (Westview, 2003), and in recent decades has been a leading voice on the issue of anthropogenic climate change.

Her 2004 essay "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" (Science 306: 1686) has been widely cited, both in the United States and abroad, and she has written nearly 50 opinion pieces, which have appeared in The Times (London), The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Nature, Science, The New Statesman, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and other venues. Her 2010 book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming, co-authored with Erik M. Conway, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize won the Watson-Davis Prize from the History of Science Society, and has been translated into eight languages.  The film version, by the same name and produced by Robby Kenner and Participant Media, was released by SONY Classics Pictures in 2015.  Oreskes and Conway have also written The Collapse of Western Civilization (Columbia University Press, 2014), which has been a best seller in France, and has been translated into nine languages.  In 2014, Oreskes had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis at a special meeting at the Vatican on climate change and sustainability, and in 2015 wrote the introduction to the Melville House edition of the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, Laudato Si’.

Professor Oreskes’ current research projects include completion of a scholarly book on the history of Cold War Oceanography, “Science on a Mission: American Oceanography from the Cold War to Climate Change” (Chicago, forthcoming), and “Assessing Assessments: A Historical and Philosophical Study of Scientific Assessments for Environmental Policy in the Late 20th Century.”  

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