Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stephen Schneider: passing greatness

His obituary in the New York Times, a blog entry from Ira Flatow (NOT coincidentally of "making science friendly" Science Friday), an editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle, and a report from his professional home, Stanford.

I was so surprised to read this. It's such a huge loss.

He spoke a few times to a small graduate course I was in a million years ago.

Impression? 1) SMART (as in sparks-coming-out-of-his-head smart), 2) incredibly well-informed, 3) passionately devoted to getting people/government to grapple with climate change and start making things better, 4) extremely articulate, 5) great communicator, 6) very energetic.

 photo from http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/News/NewsNoIndexFrameset.html?

Just DETERMINED that this had to be dealt with, could be dealt with, but had to be done as QUICKLY as possible--it was then (years ago), and still is, terribly urgent.

Here's his home page at Stanford if you want to learn more about him, the projects he was involved in, not to mention his WAYYY-too-long-to-enumerate list of accomplishments and honors (MacArthur, Nobel Peace Prize (2007 part of Panel granted the prize, along with Al Gore), on and on). He's got tons of info there and a pop up note from him saying they're working on the site, trying to make it even more useful to everyone. Of course.

Anyhow, an amazing person who did SO much to try and save the planet and its climate. And to help US realize what we needed to know, what to do, and what to figure out next.

"I've been on the ground, in the trenches, for my entire career," he wrote in his book, Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate. I think he was terribly brave.

He was the first scientist I was exposed to who talked about the importance of scientists speaking (regularly) to congressional committees and hearings, how you HAD to bring the science to convey to decision makers in a meaningful way the exceeding, time-critical importance of diverting our present course toward global warming.

Like a giant cup of global-warming-awareness coffee. WAKE UP! DO SOMETHING! NOW!

Unforgettable person.

My heart goes out to his wife, Terry Root (also at Stanford), and all of his friends, family, and colleagues. What a shocking loss.

But also, my heart goes out to the planet.

This is one person the planet may have really felt.


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Cool people write inside rectangles....