On the show this week we talk to climate researcher Michael Mann about how he, as a self-described math and computer nerd working in an esoteric field known as paleoclimatology, wound up front and center in a nationally watched political campaign.
His situation traces back to the world famous "hockey stick" graph, originally published by Mann and his colleagues in a 1998 scientific paper, and then prominently displayed by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2001 Third Assessment Report. Because of its stark depiction of just how dramatically humans have altered the climate in a relatively short time period, the figure may well be the most controversial chart in history. Not scientifically controversial, mind you: politically controversial.
This episode also features a discussion of the myth that left-brained people are logical and right brained people are creative, and the legacy of Carl Sagan and its lessons for today's science wars.