Marvelous people that pass through the world and our lives make profound impacts. Dr. Fred Singer who passed away last week warrants very special honor on both accounts.
Dr. Singer was an exemplary hero to several thousands of us who honor his unwavering commitment and enormous contributions to advance honest and informed science.
Fred, holder of a Princeton Ph.D. in physics and an honorary doctorate from the University of Ohio, was an internationally-recognized climate physicist with a very long, varied, and distinguished resume.
He was the founding dean of the University of Miami School of Environmental and Planetary Science, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia, a Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University, the founder and first director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service, the vice chairman of the U.S. National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmospheres, the deputy administrator for the EPA, and the chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
President Eisenhower awarded Fred a special commendation for his early design of satellites, and he received a Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Federal Service.
In addition, Fred founded the non-profit Science & Environmental Policy Project, and has authored numerous books about climate, energy and environmental issues, including co-authorship with Dennis Avery of The New York Times bestseller, "Unstoppable Global Warming."
I first became acquainted with Fred several years ago when he visited my University of Houston office to discuss an idea we shared with our mutual friend Buzz Aldin. It concerned the possibility of using Phobos, one of Mars' two moons, as a location to stage human missions to that planet’s surface.
Fred casually mentioned during our conversation that satellite temperature recordings of the Earth’s lower atmosphere which first began in 1979, revealed more cooling than simple greenhouse theory predicted. Whereas it would be expected that carbon dioxide would warm the lower atmosphere first, which, would then, radiate heat back to the surface, orbital satellites detected the opposite of what had been assumed.
Although I didn’t give much thought about Fred’s observations on the topic at that time, his comments later piqued my curiosity and amplified questions regarding prevalent alarmist global warming assertions which increasingly began to seem unwarranted.
As a space architect, I also began to explore whether better understanding of natural climate systems here on "Spaceship Earth" might conceivably be applied in designing artificial, closed life support systems operating beyond our planet.
I soon realized, however, that Earth’s climate is enormously more complex than anything we humans can duplicate with simple machines and chemistry. Nevertheless, my active study of how climate works also turned out to yield much greater reward than I had originally bargained for. It afforded opportunities to experience Fred’s close and generous friendship, and to learn from his deep and expansive scientific knowledge.
Although lacking his globally-recognized scientific credentials on the subject, Dr. Singer charitably contributed the forward to my first book, "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). Fred also persistently encouraged me to follow up with a second book, "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom"(2015) which I appropriately dedicated to him:
This book is dedicated most particularly to Dr. Fred Singer, along with tens of thousands of other highly principled researchers and writers who are passionately committed to high standards of science essential to restore badly compromised public trust.
Courageous willingness to challenge ideological orthodoxy and politically-driven policy agendas impose severe risks and costs. Included are character assassinations – accusing those who speak out as “climate change deniers” who don’t care about the environment; false branding as shills for Big Oil, tobacco companies or other non-existent sponsors; severe professional career penalties including unwarranted exclusions of significant research findings by scientific journals; lost research funding and promotion opportunities; employment terminations, and sometimes, even threats upon their personal safety and lives.
Dr. Singer, one of the world’s most distinguished astrophysicists, is an exemplary hero to those of us who honor his unwavering commitment and enormous contributions to advance honest and informed science. In doing so, he has often fearlessly and effectively challenged the orthodoxy, just as open inquiry and adherence to sound scientific methods demand. Yes, and he has paid the price for such audacity, responding to disparaging attacks with quiet dignity and well-reasoned factual rebuttals.
Fred Singer generously honors me as well; this is made evident through his unfailing willingness to cross-check my article facts and frequently challenge my punctuation decisions. Here again he is also unfailingly correct in both regards.
Dear friend, thank you.
Fred, while your physical presence, sage advice, and thoughtful countenance will be sadly missed, your numerous inspirations are indelible. If you can manage to make some time up there on your celestial satellite mission quest for truth, please at least occasionally direct an antenna my way to keep me scrupulously accurate.
And while you’re at it, please also continue to remind me that sentence punctuations such as periods and commas go inside –not outside- quotation marks (even though it still seems somewhat illogical).
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of several books, including "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure, and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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