Who is 'Rocket Scientist' David Evans?

Who is 'Rocket Scientist' David Evans?
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UPDATED: David Evans has sent along his definition of a rocket scientist. See below for details.

This title grabbed our attention: Top Rocket Scientist: No evidence C02 causes global warming. And it should. It is a pretty bold statement and the implications would be pretty big news.

So we decided to compile a backgrounder on ‘The Top Rocket Scientist.”

Here’s the research database entry on David Evans:

No peer-reviewed articles on climate change

According to his own resume, Evans has not published a single peer-reviewed research paper on the subject of climate change. Evans published only a single paper in 1987 in his career and it is unrelated to climate change.

Evans has published an article for the Alabama-based Ludwig von Mises Instutute, a right-wing free-market think tank.

Evans also published a “background briefing” (pdf) document for the Australian chapter of the Lavoisier Group, a global warming “skeptic” organization with close ties to the mining industry.

“I am not a climate modeler”

From 1999 to 2006 Evans worked for the Australian Greenhouse Office designing a carbon accounting system that is used by the Australian Government to calculate its land-use carbon accounts for the Kyoto Protocol. While Evans says (pdf) that “[he] know[s] a heck of a lot about modeling and computers,” he states clearly that he is “not a climate modeler.”

Background

David Evans lives in Australia and gained media attention after an article he wrote titled, No Smoking Hot Spot was published in The Australian in June, 2008.The article claims that climate change is not caused by C02 emissions because there is no evidence of “a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics.” Evan’s claim has been thoroughly debunked by Tim Lambert, a computer scientist at the University of New South Wales.

According to his bio, Evans claims to be a ‘Rocket Scientist’ and one article claims that he is a ‘Top Rocket Scientist.’ While Evans background does show that he has a PhD in electrical engineering, there is no evidence that he was ever employed as a rocket scientist.

Evans answered our inquiry about his claim to being a rocket scientist with the following explanation:

In US academic and industry parlance, “rocket scientist” means anyone who has completed a PhD in one of the hard sciences at one of the top US institutions. The term arose for people who *could* do rocket science, not those who literally build rockets.Thus the term “rocket scientist” means someone with a PhD in physics, electrical engineering, or mathematics (or perhaps a couple of other closely related disciplines), from MIT, Stanford, Caltech, and maybe a few other institutions.

I did a PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford in the 1980s. Electrical engineering is your basic high tech degree, because most high technology spawned from electrical information technology. I specialized in signal processing, maths, and statistics.

The definition provided by Evans would appear to be at odds with the conventional use of the term ‘rocket scientist’ which according to various sources is “One specializing in the science or study of rockets and their design.” For example, here’s an entry on Answers.com about Hermann Oberth a famous Rocket Scientist who published a book about rocket travel into outer space in 1932 and is considered one of 3 founding fathers of modern rocketry and astronautics.

Evans also claims to be “building a word processor for Windows.” DeSmogBlog contacted Microsoft Corp. and they have confirmed that he does not work for Microsoft Corporation.


For a more in-depth look, check out DeSmog’s comprehensive research database on the climate denial industry.

Who is 'Rocket Scientist' David Evans?

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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