I’m spending a couple of weeks in Vienna while attending a workshop on planet formation. Spent yesterday doing a bike tour, and wine tasting, in the Wachau Valley, and then spent today visiting some of the attractions in Vienna. The picture on the right is the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace. We also walked around Belvedere Palace and then visited the Art History Museum.
It’s been very hot, although not as hot as parts of France. Out apartment doesn’t have airconditioning and, for a few days, I didn’t even have a fan. It was remarkably uncomfortable and I found it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. A fan certainly helps, but it’s still uncomfortably warm at night.
Something that has struck me while attending this workshop is that even though it is reasonably focussed (planet formation) there are still aspects of this topic that I’m not familiar with (and the same, as far as I can see, is true for the other attendees). I think many areas of science have become sufficiently complex that it’s not easy to stay in touch with all of what is going on, even for those in that research area. This probably has implications for how we might define relevant expertise. It might also suggest that those who think they can see obvious problems in complex research areas may simply not understand the issues quite as well as they think they do.
I’ll finish by highlighting Michael Tobis’s Realclimate post about Absence and Evidence. It discusses the recent article by Ross McKitrick that highlights the work of Roger Pielke Jr. It caused a bit of a Twitter furore in which Roger seemed incapable of distinguishing between a criticism of what Ross McKitrick implied in his article, and an attack on himself. To be fair, this was not a surprising outcome.
It seems pretty clear that Ross McKitrick used Roger’s work to imply that Climate Change is not impacting extreme weather events. This seems clearly not true, and yet Roger seems quite comfortable with Ross McKitrick’s article. The link between climate change and extreme weather events is complicated, and some do indeed make claims about climate change and extreme weather events that are indeed too strong. Implying no connection between climate change and extreme events is, however, not a suitable response to such claims. Treating a criticism of such an article as an attack on one’s work is bizarre. Maybe Roger needs to remind himself of the Mertonian Norms.