William H. Calvin
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 98195-1800 USA
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William H. Calvin
and The Atlantic Monthly
"The Great Climate Flip-flop" is the cover story for the January 1998 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. If you're not fortunate enough to have your very own hard copy, you can find the full text in three different virtual places:
I've now posted my replies to the various letters to the editor.
WHOI's up-to-date Abrupt Climate Change references.
My new book on paleoanthropology, paleoclimate, and considerations from neurobiology and evolutionary biology is:
BRAIN FOR ALL SEASONS
which will be out in Spring 2002 from the University of Chicago Press. It is already posted full-text on the web and also in Palm download format, for reading on the commute. It's about what sudden climate flips did to human evolution over the last 2.5 million years. It includes the climate history and flip mechanisms that I described in The Atlantic Monthly cover story, "The Great Climate Flip-flop" and covers the paleoanthropology as well.
"77 NORTH WASHINGTON STREET"
ALTHOUGH William H. Calvin, the author of this month's cover
story, "The Great Climate Flip-flop," says that he is "not primarily an author,"
readers would be forgiven for assuming that he does nothing but write. A theoretical
neurophysiologist at the University of Washington at Seattle, Calvin has written nine
books, including five in the past seven years and two (How Brains Think and The
Cerebral Code) just last year. But he also maintains a punishingly busy schedule as a
researcher, investigating how brains work and evolve, and travels extensively on the
lecture circuit. Readers would therefore also be forgiven for wondering why Calvin
devotes so much of his precious time to following the study of climate change.
we have the most abrupt cross-cuts and transitions from one idea to another, the most rarefied abstractions and discriminations, the most unheardof combinations ... we seem suddenly introduced into a seething caldron of ideas, where everything is fizzling and bobbing about in a state of bewildering activity.Creative thinking is now more important than ever. A central point in "The Great Climate Flip-flop" is that the greenhouse gases we pump daily into the atmosphere may well trigger an abrupt global cooling. But if we have helped to bring on such a problem, we are also the only creatures on the planet with brains highly enough evolved to solve it -- and solve it we must, even if, as Calvin points out, it won't make our brains any larger. -THE EDITORS
William H. Calvin ("The Great Climate Flip-flop") is a theoretical neurophysiologist at the University of Washington at Seattle.