Hansen’s Doctoral Dissertation : Aerosols Make Venus Hot

Aerosols cool Earth and heat Venus.

Hot Venus: Hansen was not always a greenhouse cultivator. In 1965, he was casting about for a dissertation for his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Iowa. His mentor, James Van Allen (discoverer of the radiation belts that girdle Earth), suggested that Hansen tackle the question of why the surface of Venus is hot enough to melt lead. The catch was that the explanation had to be wholly original. The best theory for Venus’s heat–that it was the victim of a runaway greenhouse effect-had already been claimed by some young Harvard professor named Carl Sagan, Hansen wasn’t deterred. “I decided to say that Venus was so hot because a dusty atmosphere was trapping internal heat,” he recalls. That was good enough for the doctoral committee (even though it turns out that Sagan was right about Venus).


A three ring circus of scientific and media buffoons. You might as well get your scientific information from the Weekly World News.


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14 Responses to Hansen’s Doctoral Dissertation : Aerosols Make Venus Hot

  1. suyts says:

    Do you think Hansen smoked as much dope as Sagan?

    I’m sure Hansen misquoted himself. He’ll issue a correction in about 20 years or so. 🙂

  2. Edward says:

    I am going to write a new thesis, positing, that Venusian industrial pollution was the cause of runaway warming and that they had help from Sagan and Hansen [both Space cadets] – in developing Venusian carbon sources……………… or summat – and it’s nearer +/- 40 million K nearer to sun [than the Earth] – innit.

  3. Brian G Valentine says:

    Unfortunately, Hansen didn’t seem to know much chemistry, and he Sagan and Pierrehumbert seem to have missed the obvious presence of sulfuric acid clouds in the Venusian atmosphere

    The clouds are likely formed from sulfur trioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere, which condense and dissociate from Venusian volcanic heat. The recombination of sulfur trioxide (actually the dioxide oxidized to the trioxide) thus provides a method to move volcanic heat permanently to the atmosphere.

    The heat of reaction of the trioxide and water vapor is so high that the only way that this mechanism could NOT explain Venusian atmospheric heat, is if the clouds are unchanging in the atmosphere (like a rock formation or something); this is impossible

    • Brian G Valentine says:

      Don’t ‘cha think, Ill Wind and David Appell?

      How can we have a world without Venus as Poster Child for What Happens with Global Warming

      • Paul H says:

        Have you noticed how Appell never responds when he gets asked an awkward question.

        I have even done that a couple of times on his own blog without a reply.

  4. gator69 says:

    Actually it is the atmospheric pressure and proximity to the Sun that causes Venus to be so hot. I know because the head of the climatology department at my state’s premier university tried to pull the ‘runaway greenhouse’ nonsense with me a couple of years ago. He later admitted I was right and he was wrong, after he realized I was no rube and had actually studied climatology in college.

  5. Justa Joe says:

    The science is… err was settled.

  6. gator69 says:

    “Do you think Hansen smoked as much dope as Sagan?”

    “In January, family friend John C. Warnecke went public with his account of what he says was the vice president’s far more substantial drug habit during the five years between Gore’s 1971 return from Vietnam and his decision to enter politics in 1976:

    “Al Gore and I smoked regularly, as buddies,” Warnecke told DRCnet’s The Week Online. “Marijuana, hash. I was his regular supplier. I didn’t deal dope, I just gave it to him.”

    Warnecke says they got high together regularly during the years when Gore’s poor academic performance turned him into a dropout:

    “We smoked more than once, more than a few times, we smoked a lot. We smoked in his car, in his house, we smoked in his parents’ house, in my house … we smoked on weekends. We smoked a lot.”

    “In 1971, Gore enrolled in Vanderbilt Divinity School where, according to Bill Turque, author of ‘Inventing Al Gore,’ he received F’s in five of the eight classes he took over the course of three semesters.”

    • Brian G Valentine says:

      The Road to Success:

      College bottom-ender -> hop-head -> college flunk-out -> “environmentalist” -> global warming expert -> high-paid greenie lobbyist and consultant.

      A lot of people have taken this route to a success, which they would never have been afforded in any other areas

  7. PhilJourdan says:

    I thought you had to ADD to the body of knowledge to get your Doctorate. Hansen seems to have SUBTRACTED from it. What better person for a government job.

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