May 4, 2007
Colloquium Speaker: S. Fred Singer
S. Fred Singer is internationally known for his work on energy and environmental issues. A pioneer in the development of rocket and satellite technology, he devised the basic instrument for measuring stratospheric ozone and was principal investigator on a satellite experiment retrieved by the space shuttle in 1990. He was the first scientist to predict that population growth would increase atmospheric methane--an important greenhouse gas. Now President of The Science & Environmental Policy Project, a non-profit policy research group he founded in 1990, Singer is also Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University and professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. His previous government and academic positions include Chief Scientist, U.S. Department of Transportation (1987- 89); Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1970-71); Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water Quality and Research, U.S. Department of the Interior (1967- 70); founding Dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences, University of Miami (1964-67); first Director of the National Weather Satellite Service (1962-64); and Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Maryland (1953-62); Research Physicist, Upper Atmosphere Rocket Program, JHU/APL (1946-50). Singer has received numerous awards for his research, including a Special Commendation from the White House for achievements in artificial earth satellites, a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for the development and management of the U.S. weather satellite program, and the first Science Medal from the British Interplanetary Society. He has served on state and federal advisory panels, including five years as vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmospheres. He frequently testifies before Congress. Singer did his undergraduate work in electrical engineering at Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books and monographs, including Is There an Optimum Level of Population? (McGraw-Hill, 1971), Free Market Energy (Universe Books, 1984), and Global Climate Change (Paragon House, 1989). Singer has also published more than 400 technical papers in scientific, economic, and public policy journals, as well as numerous editorial essays and articles in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Republic, Newsweek, Journal of Commerce, Washington Times, Washington Post, and other publications. His latest book, Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming's Unfinished Debate, was published in late 1997 through the Independent Institute.
A physically intuitive modification of tidal theory removes the major obstacle raised to lunar origin by capture. We also discuss various ways to achieve a bound orbit from an unbound one, and thus effect capture. We point to problems with the currently popular "impact theory" of lunar origin.