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Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer hired as Trump’s new tech adviser

By Lubos Motl

Willie Soon alerted us that Will Happer, emeritus professor at Princeton, was finally picked as an adviser by Donald Trump,

Trump to name climate change skeptic as adviser on emerging technologies (CNN).

In January 2017, I mentioned a Happer-Trump meeting. Will is a great scientist and wise man and I was pleased. Finally, that senior job in the National Security Council became official. The “emerging technology” specialization in the team of aides looks a bit more practical than what you would expect from a pure scientist but it’s relevant, anyway.

Happer has primarily succeeded in optics – his articles about optical pumping and adaptive optics have collected thousands of citations (sometimes per article). In the climate debate, he is one of the men who mainly point out the beneficial role that carbon dioxide plays for life on Earth. He has understood quite something about photosynthesis but he knows enough about all the important aspects of the climate debate.

In the climate policy, he would like to see a – Pruitt-recommended – “red team” public analyses of the proposed solutions that would emulate the hurdles that new new fighter jets have to surpass.

The article at CNN is somewhat informative – of course, a sensible reader has to ignore all the judgments and emotional labels. For example, when the CNN fake news agency talks about the unhinged, far left-wing, doomsaying, climatic, pseudoscientific crackpots, they use a nicely misleading euphemism:

His [Happer’s] public stance on climate change is in opposition to near universally accepted science.

Right. By their definition, this scam is nearly universally accepted as “science” by these scammers. If you’re an expert in the climate hysteria who is approved by other experts in the climate hysteria, you usually accept that the climate hysteria is rational. Otherwise you wouldn’t be an expert over the climate hysteria. Instead, the real question is whether a rational society should nurture and pay “experts” in the climate hysteria – “experts” in a discipline where the big answer is decided from the beginning and it’s a scientifically ludicrous one.

We also learn:

Happer, who is not a climate expert, specialized in atomic physics and the study of optics at Princeton.

Is Happer a climate expert? How should we interpret the negative sentence above? You know, as some “climate experts” don’t know, the global warming is supposed to be caused by the greenhouse effect which is physically the absorption of the infrared radiation by the air. Is Happer an expert in that? Well, search

Google Scholar for “w happer” infrared

Unsurprisingly, he has written numerous articles that are “mainly” about the infrared absorption bands and Google Scholar finds over 1,000 articles that contain his name as well as “infrared”. So when it comes to the main physical effect that is supposed to drive “climate change”, he’s not only an expert. He’s one of the world’s leading experts. CNN and doomsaying crackpots in general surely find this fact inconvenient but this inconvenience doesn’t make it less true. [Climate Depot Note:  Motl later added: “The whole alleged threat – the greenhouse effect – is a straightforward homework exercise in the exact same subfield of optics (absorption of radiation) in which Happer is a top ten expert in the world.” – Motl called the attacks on Happer’s climate expertise “ludicrous terminological sophistry.” Motl explained: “E.g. here is a peer-reviewed paper on turbulence in the atmosphere which is really atmospheric physics and by content, the very same field.]

Happer has served as an aide for Bush Sr. In the CNN article, he describes his advantages nicely:

I’m a scientist; I know a lot about some areas, and I know how to find out about others. I know how to reach out to people who really do know.

Yup. A real scientist knows some areas very well, he knows a wider range of topics well, he knows something about most things, but he also knows where to find the best answers – and in the case of complex or recent enough insights, it means how to pick the people who really know and how to contact them. Will Happer is wonderful in all these things.

So far, I found Trump’s climate policies to be real progress but they were somewhat schizophrenic, too. Trump has been canceling the wasteful practical programs justified by the panic about the climate change but he kept the underlying “science of the doom” – so it looked like his policies were contradicting the science that he still labeled as legitimate. But the “science” of climate hysteria isn’t a real science. It was inflated to the current huge proportions as a branch of left-wing politics, not science. Politicians allowed tons of pseudoscientists to be hired and label themselves as “scientists” as long as they produced claims that were beneficial for the left-wing groups. Most of the “scientists” in that discipline aren’t really scientists. They are apologists for and employees of the Democratic Party and other left-wing groups. That’s what they’re getting paid for, too.

This should change. America is naturally supposed to be the leader in that process.

Good luck, Prof Happer.

If you have 40 minutes (the rest is a repetition), here you have an interview with Will Happer recorded by Stefan Molyneux. Molyneux showed he knows quite something, too. I liked many things about the explanations by Happer, e.g. the comment that negative feedbacks tend to rule in Nature and Le Chatelier’s principle is an example of that observation, as I argued more than a decade ago. Happer and your humble correspondent may be the only two people on Earth who like to point out the relevance of the principle of thermodynamics (and chemistry) for the debate about the feedbacks. Aside from the name, Molyneux seems to get the point as well. He says that e.g. plants grow more when there’s more CO2, so they devour some of the CO2. It’s common sense