Iben Browning

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Iben Browning
Iben Browning.jpg
Born (1918-01-18)January 18, 1918
Edna, Texas
Died July 18, 1991(1991-07-18) (aged 73)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nationality United States
Occupation scientist, climatologist
Known for erroneous earthquake prediction

Iben Browning (January 9, 1918 – July 18, 1991) was an American climatologist and author. Browning was a scientific generalist, who made a career of suggesting new and sometimes unusual ideas.

Life and career[edit]

Browning was born in Edna, Texas, grew up in Jackson County, Texas, and graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1937, majoring in both math and physics. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Subsequently, he earned an M.A. at the University of Texas at Austin in 1947, and then a doctorate of philosophy degree the following year at the same school. His doctorate was in zoology with minors in genetics and bacteriology.

Browning worked in various scientific fields, including artificial intelligence and bio-engineering, and eventually became interested in long-term weather forecasting and climate changes.[1] He believed that climate fluctuations are caused by changes in the amount of particulate matter in the atmosphere. The major source of these changes is volcanic activity. He believed that volcanic activity can be triggered by land tidal forces caused by the Moon, Earth's elliptical orbit of the Sun, and the alignment of these three bodies. His climate predictions assumed that the dust thrown into the atmosphere by those eruptions reflects sunlight, which results in climatic cooling. Browning believed that climatic changes, especially cooling, are associated with increased troubles in human society, including famine, revolutions, and war.[2]

Browning described his climatic theories and findings in Climate and the Affairs of Men (1975), which he co-authored with Nels Winkless III. At that time, he believed that Earth had been through a long warm period and was moving into a dangerous cooling phase. He also declared that he had not detected any effect of human activity on the climate.

Browning received notoriety for his erroneous prediction that a major earthquake would occur on the New Madrid Fault around December 2 and 3, 1990. This prediction was widely reported in the national media and caused considerable concern among residents of the Mississippi Valley. No such major earthquake occurred in that area on those dates.[3]

Browning wrote four books, held 90 patents, and served as a climatologist and business consultant to Paine Webber in various scientific and engineering fields. He was married to the former Florence Pinto and had one daughter, Evelyn. He lived his later years in Albuquerque, New Mexico and died at his home there on July 18, 1991 from a heart attack at the age of 73.[1][4][5]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b obituary, New York Times, July 20, 1991
  2. ^ Winkless, Nels III and Browning, Iben. Climate and the Affairs of Men, Fraser Publishing, 1975. ISBN 0061295507
  3. ^ Spence, William; Herrmann, Robert B.; Johnston, Arch C.; Reagor, Glen (1993), "Responses to Iben Browning's Prediction of a 1990 New Madrid, Missouri, Earthquake", U.S. Geological Survey, Circular 1083 .
  4. ^ Social Security Death Index
  5. ^ U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records

External links[edit]