Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes

Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science
Naomi Oreskes

Areas of Research: History of Environmental Sciences, Science Policy, Philosophy of Science, Science and Religion, STS, Technology and Society, Women and Gender Studies

Naomi Oreskes is Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. A world-renowned earth scientist, historian and public speaker, she is the author of the best-selling book, Merchants of Doubt (2010) and a leading voice on the role of science in society, the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and the role of disinformation in blocking climate action.

Oreskes is author or co-author of 9 books, and over 150 articles, essays and opinion pieces, including Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury, 2010), The Collapse of Western Civilization (Columbia University Press, 2014), Discerning Experts (University Chicago Press, 2019), Why Trust Science? (Princeton University Press, 2019), and Science on a Mission: American Oceanography from the Cold War to Climate Change, (University of Chicago Press, 2021). Merchants of Doubt, co-authored with Erik Conway, was the subject of a documentary film of the same name produced by participant Media and distributed by SONY Pictures Classics, and has been translated into nine languages. A new edition of Merchants of Doubt, with an introduction by Al Gore, was published in 2020.

Oreskes wrote the Introduction to the Melville House edition of the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, Laudato Si, and her essays and opinion pieces on climate change have appeared in leading newspapers around the globe, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, the Times (London), and Frankfurter Allegemeine. Her numerous awards and prizes include the 2019 Geological Society of American Mary C. Rabbitt Award, the British Academy Medal 2019, the 2016 Stephen Schneider Award for outstanding Climate Science Communication, the 2015 Public Service Award of the Geological Society of America, the 2015 Herbert Feis Prize of the American Historical Association for her contributions to public history, and the 2014 American Geophysical Union Presidential Citation for Science and Society. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

In 2018 she was named a Guggenheim Fellow for a new book project with Erik Conway, The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loath Government and Love the Free Market, which will be published by Bloomsbury Press in February 2023.  

Curriculum Vitae

This composition by composer Yvette Jackson was inspired by Dr. Naomi Oreskes’ work, and will be featured in Climate Change, Art & Activism event in Glasgow, Scotland, November 2021.

Select Publications

In the Media

Science Isn't Always Perfect - But We Should Still Trust It, TIME, October 2019
Climate Change Will Cost Us Even More Than We Think, New York Times, October 2019
Escaping Extinction, World Economic Forum, January 2019
Yes, ExxonMobil Misled the Public, LA Times, September 2017
What Exxon Mobil Didn't Say About Climate Change, The New York Times, August 2017
Assessing ExxonMobil's Climate Change Communications (177-2014), Environment Research Letters, August 2017
Scientists Dive Into the Political Fray, PBS Newshour, April 2017
How to Break the Climate Deadlock, Scientific American, November 2015
What Did Exxon Know?, On The Media, November 2015
The Pope and the Planet, The Open Mind, November 2015
Exxon's Climate Concealment, New York Times, October 2015
Naomi Oreskes, a Lightning Rod in a Changing Climate, New York Times, June 2015
A Chronicler of Warnings Denied, New York Times, October 2014
Merchants of Doubt, Documentary from Sony Pictures Classics, 2014
"Why We Should Trust Scientists," TED Talk, June 2014

The 2014 Vatican Environmental Summit:

Prof. Oreskes discusses her book, "The Collapse of Western Civilization..."

Edited Volumes

  • Oreskes, Naomi, ed., with Homer E. Le Grand, 2001.  Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth (Boulder: Westview Press), paperback edition February 2003.

Edited Journal Volumes

  • Oreskes, Naomi and James R. Fleming, eds. 2000.  “Perspectives on Geophysics,” Special Issue of   Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 31B, September 2000.

Photo Credit: Kayana Szymczak


Alexander KaurovAlexander A Kaurov
Research Associate 

Alexander "Sasha" Kaurov's research investigates the public's trust in science through data-driven methods.
Kaurov has served as a post-doctoral fellow on a project, awarded to Naomi Oreskes through the Dean's competitive fund for promising scholarship, to pursue digital approaches to understanding public trust and distrust in science. Previously, he received his PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Chicago and was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.


Sasha is also an affiliate research scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, where he leads the Earthlings Hub initiative that provides educational support to refugees, and a visitor in the IAS's Program for Interdisciplinary Studies, where he experiments with innovative science communication methods.



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