Albert Allen Bartlett (born 1923 in Shanghai) is an emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. Professor Bartlett has lectured over 1,600 times since September, 1969 on Arithmetic, Population, and Energy.
Bartlett joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in Boulder in September 1950. His B.A. degree in physics is from Colgate University (1944) and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics are from Harvard University (1948), (1951). In 1978 he was national president of the American Association of Physics Teachers. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1969 and 1970 he served two terms as the elected Chair of the four-campus Faculty Council of the University of Colorado.
Bartlett is a modern-day Malthusian.
Professor Bartlett often explains how sustainable growth is an oxymoron. His view is based on the fact that a modest percentage growth can equate to huge escalations over short periods of time.
He regards overpopulation as "The Greatest Challenge" facing humanity, and promotes sustainable living. Bartlett opposes the cornucopian school of thought (as advocated by people such as Julian Lincoln Simon), and refers to it as The New Flat Earth Society.
J. B. Calvert (1999) has proposed that Bartlett's Law will result in the exhaustion of petrochemical resources due to the exponential growth of the world population (as per the Malthusian Growth Model).
Bartlett has made two notable statements relating to sustainability:
"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."
and his Great Challenge:
"Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?"