My goal in college was to get all A’s in my major (mathematics) and the best I had time for in my other classes. It turned out to be A’s, B’s, and some C’s. I came this (-) close to meeting my goal.
My single worst grade was a solitary D and it came in a relatively easy undergraduate class I had to take in my junior year (1970). The professor to 200+ students was convinced (as were millions of others) that we were experiencing the start of an ice age. I believed it too; it was in the news quite frequently. It was broadcast that Great Britain would be part of the polar ice cap by the year 2000.
That quarter I also had a math professor who, using logic, would debunk portions of the global cooling theory during the last few minutes of some classes. He sort of convinced me to go against what most others seemed to believe.
One day in the auditorium sized classroom and after a long speech on some of the effects of the severe cold to come the instructor of this rather “easy” class broke from his modus operandi and asked, “Any questions or comments?” Either there were none or the students did not wish to speak in front of hundreds of their peers. The silence had some of us uneasy.
I don’t know exactly what made me do it, but I stood and asked a question. The question was regarding a certain scientific report of which I had just heard a few hours earlier in my Riemannian Geometry class. Unlike his speech, he managed a non-confident answer.
I wanted to let it end there but then he asked me why I asked that particular question. I stood back up and parroted a couple of the main points that had stuck in my head. During my answer, there were a few gasps and then some snickers. This blew my confidence but I was able to finish although now more nervous than before.
I would like to say that the bell rang just as I finished and we all left the building. But that was definitely not what happened. Students were turning to see who had said such crazy stuff. I sat back down with a face I’m sure was a little redder.
In my opinion the professor gave a long rebuttal to points I did not bring up. Without moving her lips, the girl next to me whispered, “Don’t say anything!” Oh, she need not worry. That was far from even a slight consideration.
On the way out the first person to talk to me said, “That took guts.” The second asked, “Don’t you believe in science?”
For those of you who were not alive in the year 2000, Great Britain did not freeze over and the massive amounts of money to study global cooling dried up completely.
For those of you who were not around in the 1970’s, you may check the net for the massive number of articles and studies proclaiming the horrors to come. One of the first was “Colder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age – Scientists See Ice Age In the Future” (The Washington Post, January 11, 1970)
The articles, scientific studies, books, and authors that touted the upcoming freeze of planet earth received not only large grants but a huge portion of the print and airtime given the topic.
The articles, scientific studies, books, and authors that calmly said there was nothing to worry about and that an ice age was not impending were either ignored or ridiculed in the media. There is no money in “the truth if the truth is things will be okay!”