Wise Words from James Van Allen to Jim Hansen

March 27th, 2006

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

From a recent interview with NASA’s Jim Hansen:

You grew up in Iowa and studied at the University of Iowa under legendary astrophysicist James Van Allen, discoverer of the radiation belt surrounding the Earth. Did that background prepare you for the public debates you’ve taken up?

The example I gave of Van Allen’s influence on students was his demeanor. He was just calm. He didn’t get flustered. When I went to NASA, I heard that his proposal for an experiment on a mission to Jupiter was not selected because NASA headquarters was not very happy with him; he criticized NASA repeatedly for its emphasis on putting men in space instead of automated spacecraft. When I mentioned that to him in a letter, he just said, “I know that my positions have not endeared me to people at NASA headquarters, but I take the position that I’m dealing with honorable men.”

It’s a good attitude.

3 Responses to “Wise Words from James Van Allen to Jim Hansen”

  1. Rabett Says:

    As Ghandi said about European civilization, it would be a good thing.

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  3. Roger Pielke Jr. Says:

    Eli- Indeed. Seeing your insulting personal comments over at RealClimate I’ve concluded that you are welcome to continue to post comments here, but certainly don’t expect further correspondence on my end. I’m sure that even James Van Allen position on honorable men had its limits when faced with evidence to the contrary.

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  5. Dano Says:

    You can’t take these things personally nor can you expect to persuade someone in comment boards.

    I developed the Dano character because I found that I didn’t persuade anyone, despite the utterly and completely compelling and devestating arguments I made, and internalizing my anger at these people who won’t see the light of day!!! wasn’t healthy.