News & Events

Monday Noon Seminar - CANCELLED

Monday, February 16, 2015, 12:00PM - 1:00PM


Lawrence Hamilton

Carsey School of Public Policy and Department of Sociology, University of New Hampshire


ARC room 620


Weather has shut down thousands of flights from the East Coast, and Lawrence is unable to get to Colorado.  We'll try to have him speak another time.


Polar facts in the age of polarization


A series of recent surveys have tested general-public knowledge and perceptions about the polar regions. Basic geographical knowledge is not high, but many people perceive physical realities that line up with their political beliefs. For example, less than half the respondents know that the North Pole is characterized by thin ice over a deep ocean, or the South Pole by deep ice over land. The great majority nevertheless express opinions about whether latesummer Arctic sea ice area has declined compared with 30 years ago, and whether future Arctic changes will affect the weather where they live. Response to such questions form time series that reveal strong political patterns, including interaction effects among politics and self-assessed understanding. Political orientation gives no clue regarding some factual questions, however, so these show distinctly different response pattern. These results highlight the difficulties facing science communication in a polarized age.


Lawrence Hamilton is a Senior Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy, and Professor of Sociology, at the University of New Hampshire. His research concerns human–environment interactions, and what the general-public knows or believes about science—often taking an Arctic or bipolar focus. This work has appeared in interdisciplinary journals ranging from Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research to Geophysical Research Letters and the International Journal of Climatology, where Dr. Hamilton’s coauthors include climatologists, sea ice researchers and oceanographers along with diverse social scientists. He also has written about statistical methods for integrating social and natural science data in the popular Statistics with Stata series.


Free and open to the public.