Why We Became Scientists: Naomi Oreskes

Why We Became Scientists

Working with scientists for over a decade has taught me one thing: they are an interesting and varied bunch. Fiercely dedicated to their chosen career, love what they do, very enthusiastic when given half a chance to talk about their research, and very inquisitive. They perk up when somewhere a scientist says “huh, that’s funny.” After all, this often means there’s something new and exciting that they can dig into.

But what led to them becoming as scientist? Of course I expected the answer that they love science and had an interest in it from a young age. But it’s the journey that led to them being a scientist that’s often filled with interesting choices and anecdotes. It’s this last part that really made it fun to hear their answers and stories.

Why We Became Scientists: Naomi Oreskes

Video description

Working with scientists for over a decade has taught me one thing: they are an interesting and varied bunch. Fiercely dedicated to their chosen career, love what they do, very enthusiastic when given half a chance to talk about their research, and very inquisitive. They perk up when somewhere a scientist says “huh, that’s funny.” After all, this often means there’s something new and exciting that they can dig into.

But what led to them becoming as scientist? Of course I expected the answer that they love science and had an interest in it from a young age. But it’s the journey that led to them being a scientist that’s often filled with interesting choices and anecdotes. It’s this last part that really made it fun to hear their answers and stories.

This time Naomi Oreskes shares her story. She is an American historian of science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. In 2010 she co-authored Merchants of Doubt which describes how the tobacco industry wrote the handbook on using doubt to delay legislative action against the harms of tobacco. The same book also chronicles how the same tactics, and often the same merchants of doubt, are today used to cast doubt on environmental issues like global warming.

Media resources

Interviews filmed in collaboration with University of Queensland and Skeptical Science. Full interviews available April 2015 in ‘Making Sense of Climate Science Denial‘.

Camera B interview footage provided by Peter Sinclair of Climate Denial Crock of the Week and Yale Climate Connections.

Why We Became Scientists