Portal:Global warming/Selected biographies

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Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (March 21, 1768 – May 16, 1830) was a French mathematician and physicist best known for initiating the investigation of Fourier series and their application to problems of heat flow. The Fourier transform is also named in his honour. Fourier is also generally credited with the discovery of the greenhouse effect.

Fourier was born at Auxerre (in east-central France), the son of a tailor. He was orphaned at age nine. Fourier was recommended to the Bishop of Auxerre, and through this introduction, he was educated by the Benvenistes of the Convent of St. Mark. The commissions in the scientific corps of the army were reserved for those of good birth, and being thus ineligible, he accepted a military lectureship on mathematics. He took a prominent part in his own district in promoting the French Revolution, and was rewarded by an appointment in 1795 in the École Normale Supérieure, and subsequently by a chair at the École Polytechnique.

In 1822 Fourier presented his work on heat flow in Théorie analytique de la chaleur (The Analytic Theory of heat), in which he based his reasoning on Newton's law of cooling, namely, that the flow of heat between two adjacent molecules is proportional to the extremely small difference of their temperatures. A significant contribution was Fourier's proposal of his partial differential equation for conductive diffusion of heat. This equation is now taught to every student of mathematical physics.

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Al gore presentation.jpg
Pictured left: Al Gore's speech on Global Warming at the University of Miami BankUnited Center, February 28, 2007.

Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. (born March 31, 1948) served as the 45th Vice President of the United States (1993–2001), under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election. Gore is currently an author and environmental activist. He has founded a number of non-profit organizations, including the Alliance for Climate Protection, and has received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in climate change activism.

In his senior year at Harvard University, he took a class with oceanographer and global warming theorist Roger Revelle, who sparked Gore's interest in global warming and other environmental issues. After joining the U.S. House of Representatives, Gore held the first congressional hearings on the climate change, and co-sponsor[ed] hearings on toxic waste and global warming. Gore was known as one of the Atari Democrats, later called the "Democrats' Greens: politicians who see issues like clean air, clean water and global warming as the key to future victories for their party.

Gore wrote the book An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, which won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2009. An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming via a comprehensive slide show that, by his own estimate, Gore has given more than a thousand times. Our Choice is a 2009 book written by Gore, originally titled, which followed the An Inconvenient Truth... (book). All profits of the book (printed on 100% recycled paper) go to the Alliance for Climate Protection, which Gore founded in 2006.

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James E Hansen.jpg
James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941) heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

After graduate school, Hansen continued his work with radiative transfer models, attempting to understand the Venusian atmosphere. Later he applied and refined these models to understand the Earth's atmosphere, in particular, the effects that aerosols and trace gases have on Earth's climate. Hansen's development and use of global climate models has contributed to the further understanding of the Earth's climate.

Hansen has stated that one of his research interests is radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially the interpretation of remote sensing of the Earth's atmosphere and surface from satellites. Because of the ability of satellites to monitor the entire globe, they may be one of the most effective ways to monitor and study global change. His other interests include the development of global circulation models to help understand the observed climate trends, and diagnosing human impacts on climate.

Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change. In recent years, Hansen has become an activist for action to mitigate the effects of climate change, which on a few occasions has led to his arrest. In 2009 his first book, Storms of My Grandchildren, was published.

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