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Naomi Oreskes

Fields Science History, Economic geology
Institutions Stanford University
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dartmouth College
Harvard University
New York University
University of California San Diego
Alma mater Imperial College, University of London
Stanford University

Naomi Oreskes is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego and an author. She has worked on studies of geophysics, environmental issues such as global warming, and the history of science.



Oreskes graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1976. She received her BSc degree in Mining Geology from the Royal School of Mines of Imperial College, University of London in 1981, and worked as a Research Assistant in the Geology Department and as a Teaching Assistant in the departments of Geology, Philosophy and Applied Earth Sciences at Stanford University starting in 1984. She received her PhD degree in the Graduate Special Program in Geological Research and History of Science at Stanford in 1990. She received a National Science Foundation's Young Investigator Award in 1994.

She has worked as a consultant for the United States Environmental Protection Agency and U.S National Academy of Sciences, and has also taught at Dartmouth, Harvard and New York University (NYU). She is also a member of the History of Science Society. She is the author or has contributed to a number of essays and technical reports in economic geology and science history[1] in addition to three books:

  • Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth, Edited with Homer Le Grand) (2003) Westview Press, ISBN 0-8133-4132-9
  • The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science (1999) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-511733-6
  • Perspectives on Geophysics, Special Issue of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 31B, Oreskes, Naomi and James R. Fleming, eds. 2000.

Oreskes is currently the Provost of the Sixth College at the University of California, San Diego.

Science and society essay

Oreskes wrote an essay on science and society Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change in the journal Science in December 2004.[2]

In the essay she reported an analysis of “928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 and published in the ISI database with the keywords ‘global climate change’”.[2] The essay stated the analysis was to test the hypothesis that the drafting of reports and statements by societies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, American Association for the Advancement of Science and National Academy of Sciences might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions on anthropogenic climate change. After the analysis, she concluded that 75 percent of the examined abstracts either explicitly or implicitly backed the consensus view, while none directly dissented from it. The essay received a great deal of media attention from around the world and has been cited by many prominent persons such as Al Gore in the movie An Inconvenient Truth.

In 2007, Oreskes expanded her analysis, stating that approximately 20 percent of abstracts explicitly endorsed the consensus on climate change that: "Earth's climate is being affected by human activities". In addition, 55 percent of abstracts "implicitly" endorsed the consensus by engaging in research to characterize the ongoing and/or future impact of climate change (50 percent of abstracts) or to mitigate against predicted changes (5 percent). The remaining 25 percent focused on either paleoclimate (10%) or developing measurement techniques (15%); Oreskes did not classify these as taking a position on contemporary global climate change.[3]

Selected awards, honors, and fellowships

  • George Sarton Award Lecture, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2004
  • American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellowship, 2001-2002.
  • National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, 1994-1999.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers, 1993-94.
  • Society of Economic Geologists Lindgren Prize for outstanding work by a young scientist, 1993.
  • Ritter Memorial Fellowship in History of Marine Sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1994.
  • Listed, Who’s Who in American Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the West.


External links



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