13 June 2009

Occasionally Asked Questions About Roger Pielke, Jr.

Updated February 11, 2015

Q: Who are you?

I am currently a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. At CU, I am also a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and am director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (also from 2001-2007). Before coming to CU in 2001, I spent 8 years as a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in their Environmental and Societal Impacts Group (which no longer exists). I have a B.A. in mathematics, an M.A. in public policy and a Ph.D. in political science, all from the University of Colorado. In 2007 I was on sabbatical at the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization (now called the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society) at Oxford University. 

Q: Who are you not?

I am not Roger Pielke, Sr., who is my father. He is a refreshingly original, consistently brilliant, incredibly productive, and widely respected atmospheric scientist, recognized as one of the ISI most-cited geoscientists, among countless other accolades. He spent 25 years at Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, for a time serving as the Colorado State Climatologist, and he is now retired from the faculty at CSU. To further confuse things, he is now affiliated with the University of Colorado/CIRES where he spends some post-retirement research. His email is pielkesr@cires.colorado.edu.

Q: How do you pronounce your name?

Pell-Key. Though I'll respond to Peel-Key. And if I am in Germany it is Peel-Ka.

Q: What do you know?

I can claim some expertise in the following topics:

*expert advice, evidence-based policy
*science and scientists in policy and politics
*use and misuse of predictions in decision making
*societal impacts of natural hazards, disasters
*adaptation, mitigation and geoengineering policy related to climate change
*technology assessment and innovation policy
*science and technology policy
*United States space policy
*governance of sport (e.g., FIFA, "sex testing," doping, NCAA, etc.)

I know an awful lot less about everything else, but that ignorance didn't stop me from occasionally commenting on this blog.

Q: You often comment on policy issues, so what is your political orientation?

By some combination of nature and nurture I am an unreformed pragmatist, an unabashed policy wonk, and trained as a policy scientist. On issues that I gained some expertise in, I've seen them become far less black-and-white in my own mind than I had once thought they were when I knew less about them. Thus, I am very cautious about issues that I know little about where solutions or positions seem totally obvious. The world is a complicated place. The most ironic thing about learning is the realization of how little you actually know. On the traditional left-right spectrum of American politics my views are probably most consonant with those of the “Blue Dog” Democrats who argue that “the stale extreme left vs. right approach requires a breath of fresh air.” If you want to know what I think about things that I have some expertise in, just have a look at the blog and my publications and you'll get a pretty good sense of my views on particular subjects. If you have questions, just ask me.

Q: Are your peer-reviewed publications online?

Yes. Almost all of my peer reviewed publications can be found online here. If you are looking for something and can't find it just send me an email: pielke@colorado.edu.

My H-Index is 48, on February 11, 2015, according to Google Scholar.

Q: Where can I find your opinion pieces?

I have published, sometimes with colleagues, various op-eds and other opinion pieces in the Fiancial Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, The New Republic, the Rocky Mountain News, Issues in Science and Technology, Science and Nature, among other places. These perspectives can be found online here. If you are looking for something and can't find it just send me an email: pielke@colorado.edu. Starting in 2005 I became a regular columnist for Bridges, the quarterly publication of the Office of Science & Technology at the Embassy of Austria in Washington, DC. In 2014, I joined Nate Silver's 538 for about 10 minutes, and then moved on to Sporting Intelligence.

Q: What editorial boards do you serve on?

I am on the editorial boards of: Minerva, Darwin, Environmental Science an Policy, Natural Hazards Review, Policy Sciences and Water Resources Research.

Q: What other professional affiliations do you have?

I have been a Senior Fellow of The Breakthrough Institute since 2008. I also have an appointments as a Research Fellow, Risk Frontiers, Macquarie University, Visiting Senior Fellow, Mackinder Programme, London School of Economics and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University.

Q: Who funds your research?

Since being at CU, I have received research funding from NSF, National Weather Service, and NOAA. If you'd like to sponsor my work (hey, it can't hurt to ask) please contact me (pielke@colorado.edu).

Q: Do you give talks and lectures?

I have given many lectures at many universities around the world. I am also occasionally asked to give lectures to museums, companies, and industry associations.

Q: How can I contact you?

Email is always the easiest way to get in touch with me: rpielkejr@gmail.com. Other contact information is as follows:

Roger Pielke, Jr.
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research
University of Colorado
1333 Grandview Ave, Campus Box 488
Boulder, Colorado 80309-0488
303-735-1576 (fax)

Q: How did you come to be an academic?

My parents, both now retired, were educators, so I guess it is in the genes. I grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia where my dad was on the faculty of the University of Virginia. I remember fondly frequently going to work with him and spending the day on campus. Even after spending my $1 allocation for video games, checking out the murals in Clark Hall, and hoping to catch a glimpse of Ralph Sampson or Jeff Lamp, I found plenty of time to wander around the different departments (astronomy was by far the coolest) and lose myself reading books in Alderman library. Even today I find any university campus a pretty damn cool place to explore.

Growing up I always expected to be a scientist of one sort or another -- astrophysics was a leading candidate for a long time. While an undergraduate I spent several years working at NCAR doing basic FORTRAN programming for their Atmospheric Chemistry Division. This was during the years of the ozone hole negotiations so the science was never far from policy. In 1991 during graduate school, I followed Rad Byerly (a “lapsed physicist, recovering congressional staffer”), who was then at CU directing a space and geosciences policy center, to Washington, DC when he was appointed to be Chief of Staff for the House Science Committee, then under the leadership of Congressman George E. Brown (D-CA). I was an intern for Rad and had a summer that cemented my shift from the pursuit of a science career to one focused on science policy. I returned to Colorado and decided to follow through in my policy studies and earned a doctorate in political science. I immediately thereafter had a chance to work for Mickey Glantz at NCAR as a post-doc, and that position turned into a staff scientist job, and I stayed there until I was recruited to CU in 2001. It all looks straightforward looking backwards; it seemed a lot more uncertain as it was unfolding.

Q: Do you do anything besides work?

Yes, lots. I am married with three children. I am easily entertained by any activity involving a ball of any sort -- playing or watching. In particular I am an avid soccer player and fan. When I was in high school I played for Arsenal. Here is a picture of me back in the day. OK, it was the Fort Collins Arsenal, and that picture is actually somewhat more interpretative than historically accurate.

Q: Where can I find a short bio?

A short bio is online here.

Q: Do you have any photos online?

Here are a few photos we've collected for various professional purposes.

Q: How about a CV?

If you are interested in a complete CV just send me an email: rpielkejr@gmail.com.