Robert Jastrow

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Dr. Robert Jastrow (1925-2008) received his A.B., A.M. and Ph.D. (1948) degrees in theoretical physics from Columbia University. This retired NASA scientist was a strong supporter of Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense initiative. In 1984 he co-founded the George C. Marshall Institute (GMI), a think tank which disputes global warming and promotes the missile defense shield. He was emeritus of the institute until his death at the age of 82 in February 2008.[1]


Jastrow joined the NASA when it was formed in October 1958 and founded in 1961 NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies for which he was the director until his retirement in 1981. Then he left NASA to become a Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College. Eleven years later Jastrow resigned from Dartmouth and he became the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mount Wilson Institute which manages Mount Wilson Observatory in California on behalf of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Robert Jastrow received in 1996 the Petr Beckmann Award. [1] In January 2003 Jastrow retired as director of Mount Wilson Institute and moved to New York City where he planned to continue writing books. [2]

Climate Change Skeptic

An internal 1995 document (pdf) of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) -- an industry front group that disbanded in 2002 -- reviewed some of the "contrarian" arguments used by Jastrow, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels and other climate change skeptics. The document, which was obtained as part of a court action against the automobile industry[2] concluded that of the arguments reviewed:

"The contrarian theories raise interesting questions about our total understanding of climate processes, but they do not offer convincing arguments against the conventional model of greenhouse gas emission-induced climate change. Jastrow's hypothesis about the role of solar variability and Michaels' questions about the temperature record are not convincing arguments against any conclusion that we are currently experiencing warming as the result of greenhouse gas emissions. However, neither solar variability nor anomalies in the temperature record offer a mechanism for off-setting the much larger rise in temperature which might occur if the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases were to double or quadruple."
"Lindzen' s hypothesis that any warming would create more rain which would cool and dry the uper troposphere did offer a mechanism for balancing the effect of increased greenhouse gases. However, the data supporting this hypothesis is weak, and even Lindzen has stopped presenting it as an alternative to the conventional model of climate change."[3]


  • Robert Jastrow, Until the Sun Dies, W. W. Norton & Company; 1st ed edition August 1977, ISBN-10 0393064158 and ISBN-13 978-0393064155
  • Robert Jastrow, The Enchanted Loom: Mind in the Universe, Simon & Schuster, November 20, 1981, ISBN 0671433083
  • Robert Jastrow, Journey to the Stars, Bantam; Reprint edition July 1990. ISBN-10 0553349090 and ISBN-13 978-0553349092
  • Robert Jastrow, Red Giants and White Dwarfs, # W. W. Norton & Company, 3rd edition June 1990. ISBN-10 0393850048 and ISBN-13 978-0393850048
  • Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, W.W. Norton & Company, 1992, ISBN 0393850056

Articles and Resources


  1. John Schwartz, "Robert Jastrow, Who Made Space Understandable, Dies at 82", New York Times, February 12, 2008.
  2. Andrew C. Revkin, "Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate", New York Times, April 23, 2009.
  3. Global Climate Coalition, "Primer on Climate Change Science· Final Draft", January 18, 1996, pages 16-17.

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