Jack Eddy – discoverer of the Maunder Minimum and LIA, 1931-2009

Jack_eddy_photo

Jack Eddy, undated photo, "He liked words"

…it is with great sadness that I report that Jack Eddy passed away yesterday.

– Dr. Leif Svalgaard in comments today

“My reasons for taking this less-traveled road were many. One is the inevitable thrill of discovery when you wander into new areas. More importantly, you also avoid the danger of being too comfortable in too narrow a niche. I truly believe the sayings that there is no hope for the satisfied man and that without fear there is no learning. Entering a new field with a degree in another is not unlike Lewis and Clark walking into the camp of the Mandans. You are not one of them. They distrust you. Your degree means nothing and your name is not recognized. You have to learn it all from scratch, earn their respect, and learn a lot on your own. But I also think that many of the most significant discmaunder_minimumoveries in science will be found not in but between the rigid boundaries of the disciplines: the terra incognita where much remains to be learned. It’s not a place that’s hidebound by practice and ritual. I have always tried to keep moving between fields of study.” — Jack Eddy, 1999. Click here to view full text of Eddy interview

I didn’t know Jack Eddy personally, I knew of his work (the Maunder Minimum ) in 1978 before I knew he was the man behind it.

I think I speak for the entire WUWT community when I say that we have lost a man whom was true to his craft,  careful in his outlook, and courageous in his challenge of the solar consensus of the 1970’s. The WUWT community, offers our sincerest condolences to the Eddy family and to his friend, Dr. Leif Svalgaard.  – Anthony

Tributes can be left in comments.

UPDATE:

An online petition has been started to name the next solar minimum per Leif’s suggestion in comments:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/13/online-petition-the-next-solar-minimum-should-be-called-the-eddy-minimum/

Nearly 200 signatures so far.

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Ian Cooper

We are indebted to Jack Eddy’s attitude. More power to people like him.
Many of us had no chance to know you Jack, but from the few words shown here it must have been a privilege for those who did. The rest of us are just grateful that his work was so enlightening.

pkatt

Just exactly the reason that if this current min sun activity turns out to be a true minimum.. it should be the Eddy Minimum. Gore should be forgotten.

Pamela Gray

In that interview, he seemed to be a man still humbled and in awe of the first step in the scientific process. Observation. It is a rare scientist, one with books and papers listed in a pages long bibliography, who still believes that there is more to discover. No wonder Leif liked him.

Bob Wood

A man who is willing and able to look beyond and above the herd mentality is indeed a gift to humanity. He will be greatly missed.

Jack Eddy, unpresumptuous genius.

Pat

Sad to hear of this loss. I wonder who will now be able to stop Al Gore and the IPCC from inconveniently erasing the Maunder Minimum and the LIA from the climate record (As one postie stated, Leif Svalgaard matybe, nothing much changes unless someone dies)?

I repeat and endorse Ian Cooper’s words: Many of us had no chance to know you Jack, but from the few words shown here it must have been a privilege for those who did.
Further… those few words Anthony quotes from Jack Eddy are both inspiring and humbling. May history make note of this man’s contribution to knowledge, and place on record his wisdom.

Fluffy Clouds (Tim L)

sorry Leif.
Tim

David Corcoran

A true scientist has passed on. The world should mourn. I do.

Jimmy Haigh

RIP.
I shall raise a glass in tribute.

Steptoe Fan

That excerpt is spot on, in my opinion ! This man understood fundamentals that few too scientists ever stop to even ponder.
Condolences to the Eddy family and his close associates !

pkatt (21:11:22) :
it should be the Eddy Minimum.
At the Solar Physics Division [of the American Astronomical Society] next week in Boulder, CO, I’ll formally request that if a significant solar minimum materializes that it be called the ‘Eddy Minimum’.

Keith Minto

This humble man of science and astute observer of mankind will be missed. From the interview……..
” I still believe that to some extent, for there is a hypnotism about cycles that seems to attract people. It draws all kinds of creatures out of the woodwork. “

rbateman

I never got to meet Eddy, but I have met you, Leif, and an honor it was.
Count me in for the “Eddy Minimum” too.
It’s a great way to honor your good friend, Jack Eddy.

astronmr20

A man of Truth.
Rest in peace.

Bill P

“Jack Eddy, unpresumptuous genius.” I completely agree, Nassif.
Thank you for this recognition of Eddy, including the wonderful quote about moving between disciplines. I’ve never seen anything else about him, so Spencer Weart deserves our gratitude for a collegial insight into Eddy. He seems both warm and candid with his former student. That’s a trick in itself. I hope other aspects of his life, perhaps from readers here, become public in addition to this interview.

Jean Meeus

< Just exactly the reason that if this current min sun
< activity turns out to be a true minimum.. it should
< be the Eddy Minimum. Gore should be forgotten.
I completely agree.

Cassandra King

The greatest gift to science are those few extra ordinary people able to look beyond and challenge the comfort zone prejudices that all areas of endevour suffer from.
The boundaries of science are in fact only really moved forward by rebels who rail against the prevailing logic, those few who can see past the widely accepted dogma and have the courage and self belief to explore beyond the confines of widely accepted beliefs.
From plate tectonics to the age of the earth rebels have pushed aside the old theories by sheer determination and force of will, the old does not and never have and never will move willingly aside for the new, it must be bulldozed aside by sheer effort and endevour and that is how it should be, it should be welcomed and helped yet the new is always derided and scoffed at by the old established belief systems and the more powerful the consensus the harder it is to push the old aside yet it does happen often and the new becomes the accepted then turns into the old, its almost as if scientific theories have a human type life span.
The old certainties are so sure they are right, so much time invested in them and the power of those who cling to them ensure that the new always has a difficult time in replacing them and yet pehaps that is how it should be,
like a form of natural selection?

smallz79

Dr. Eddy will be honored with a toast and will always be remembered. My humble condolences to his family, friends and co-workers. I also am in favour of “The Eddy Minimum”.

Bill P

BTW, anywone visiting Boulder in June should definitely take raingear and explore one of the open – space trails above the Chatauqua Auditorium. Take an alpine flower book.

tallbloke

Condolences to his family and friends.
A true man of science and humanity. RIP Jack Eddy.

Mike Bryant

As I read the rest of the interview I came to see in Eddy a very polite and humble man with a towering integrity. This type of integrity should absolutely be celebrated. Condolences to all who called this man a friend or a loved one. Your loss is also the world’s loss.
The Eddy Minimum is an appropriate memorial to the man and his work.

Konrad

I heard about the Maunder Minimum long before I heard anything about AGW, so I have been a skeptic for quite some time. For this I owe thanks to Jack Eddy. It is sad he is not with us so see the full development of cycle 24 and it’s implications for solar science.

In reading the transcript of Spencer Weart’s article with his old professor, I am rather struck that, though a “hard scientist”, Jack Eddy represented the essence of what we mean by “liberal arts”: a recognition that knowledge doesn’t end at the borders of our discipline. We are the richer for it.
By all means, Leif, the Eddy Minimum.

par5

A very generous man, and loved by all. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Thank you Dr. Svalgaard for requesting to name this current minimum after Jack.

Timebandit

Thank you for showing us the past.
Rest in Peace.

Leon Brozyna

Condolences to family and colleagues.
I read that fascinating interview as well as an essay at:
http://engr-sci.org/history/climate/solar.htm#eddy
His seems to have been an interdisciplinary approach that challenged a consensus and we are the richer for it.

Paul Vaughan

At a time when I was encountering heavy administrative opposition, I was deeply inspired by the story told by Jack Eddy in the following interview:
“Interview with Jack Eddy, April 21, 1999
In Michigan by phone, conducted by Spencer Weart”
http://www.aip.org/history/climate/eddy_int.htm

This was a man who patiently endured that which opposed.

Purakanui

I’m sure I speak for all of the Kiwis on this site, when I express our sorrow at hearing this news. I can only echo Mike Bryant’s words:
As I read the rest of the interview I came to see in Eddy a very polite and humble man with a towering integrity. This type of integrity should absolutely be celebrated. Condolences to all who called this man a friend or a loved one. Your loss is also the world’s loss.
The Eddy Minimum is an appropriate memorial to the man and his work.
I support the Eddy Minimum; I never agreed with attaching Gore’s worthless name to it.
Haere ra, Jack.

Stephen Skinner

Let’s stand on his shoulders.

Lance

I too learned about the Maunder Minimum( and other minimums) in the 70’s at school, a few years after we were all told (me 6 or 7 at the time) we were causing the NEW ICE AGE with our carbon monoxide and CFC/HFC emissions/aerosols that caused cooling and a ozone hole! OH DEAR!
We tried fixing it through government banning and grants to believers. Nope, we didn’t do squat of a difference. They said in public forms, TV, Radio and print. We’ve got to SAVE THE WORLD from a depletion of ozone that can make the sun more intense, creating more cancers because harmful rays are coming in, OH DEAR! Beware the sun!
But then things started getting warmer and we called our new war on CFC/HFC’s.. WON! Changed over our cheap easily made safe refrigerates out for expensive government mandated corporate makers. And made toxic emissions into life giving co2 for plant/ocean/human food.
Skip forward 30 F-ing years in understanding and now “the sun has nothing to do with the heating in the last 30 yeas , it’s the CO2 in the atmosphere building up and the warming of the air for almost 200 years that is causing this!”
Yep, and here we are today. Still no proof, going full circle and ended up at the next shift in climate like back to the 70’s.
When I think about the minimums, I think back to the time that I read about the Dalton min/Maunder Min. and was exploring my love of earth sciences and palaeontology.
I learned about tens of thousands, if not millions of climate variations from our sun. Extinctions and flourishing, depending the area and time you live in.
The person Jack Eddy I never knew, but his science did reach/touch me and this is why I’m still fighting AGW/C 30 year old garbage. The old real sun science that makes up my thinking today, is still there!
I’ve held the knowledge(his) of the suns minimums and then the understanding of solar variations in a cycle. The powers of the sun and our civilizations survival/adaption.
I too think “The Eddy Minimum” is only logical and right.
RIP

E.M.Smith

For some reason I’m reminded of the Elton John song:
“I would have liked to known you,
but I was just a kid,
your candle burned out long before,
your legend ever did”…

realitycheck

It would seem we have lost a great scientist. May the principles and integrity he stood for prevail.
Condolences to his friends and family.

Alan the Brit

I fully endorse much of what has been said. Condolences to his family & friends for their loss. I sincerely hope his passing was peaceful & with dignity.
However, I believe that whilst his passing is a loss to all in the scientific community, we should celebrate his life & his achievements more than ever. That is the way to silence the LIA deniers, his work should be pushed to the fore as much as possible to bring him into the general public view.
AtB

Bob Kutz

If this link has been posted, my apologies, if you don’t know who Jack Eddy is or what he accomplished this is the quickest read that covers most of it that I found;
http://www.aip.org/history/climate/eddy_int.htm
My sincere condolences to everyone who knew him personally.

John W.

Leif Svalgaard (21:56:56) :
At the Solar Physics Division [of the American Astronomical Society] next week in Boulder, CO, I’ll formally request that if a significant solar minimum materializes that it be called the ‘Eddy Minimum’.

Leif, I suggest you phrase the request as “the next solar minimum.” He deserves the honor, no matter when the event occurs.

Only a few dream and then live the dream. Here is a man who did.

A kind and wise man.
R.I.P.

Don B

Leif, you have my sympathy as well.
A suggestion of raingear for next week’s conference in Boulder was made already. You might consider warm clothes as well if you intend to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. Trail Ridge Road was closed again last night because of snow, the third or fourth closing since it opened for the season just before Memorial Day.

John W. (05:23:48) :
“At the Solar Physics Division [of the American Astronomical Society] next week in Boulder, CO, I’ll formally request that if a significant solar minimum materializes that it be called the ‘Eddy Minimum’.”
Leif, I suggest you phrase the request as “the next solar minimum.” He deserves the honor, no matter when the event occurs.

I’ll formally request that when a significant solar minimum materializes it be called the ‘Eddy Minimum’

Tim Clark

“Entering a new field with a degree in another is not unlike Lewis and Clark walking into the camp of the Mandans. You are not one of them. They distrust you. Your degree means nothing and your name is not recognized. You have to learn it all from scratch, earn their respect, and learn a lot on your own. But I also think that many of the most significant discoveries in science will be found not in, but between the rigid boundaries of the disciplines: the terra incognita where much remains to be learned. It’s not a place that’s hidebound by practice and ritual. I have always tried to keep moving between fields of study.” — Jack Eddy, 1999.
His life and achievements, eloquently stated, are the quintessential rebuttal to “doesn’t have a degree in climatology”.
Eddy minimum indeed.

Douglas DC

Lief and others-Yes it should be the “Eddy Minimum” Algore has no right to be honored as such. RIP Mr.Eddy…

The Diatribe Guy

Truly a sad day. I was taken with his early publications on the subject and tracked them down and sumamrized their main points in a couple blog posts:
http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/landscheidt-part-4-eddy-summary/
http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com/2008/06/13/landscheidt-5-review-of-eddys-the-case-of-the-missing-sunspots/
(While under the Lnadscheidt category because of his references to Eddy, the two posts above are almost strictly summaries of the Eddy Papers).
Included at the end of that second post is a quote that jumped out at me, which I will repeat here, from Eddy’s “Case of the Missing Sunspots.”
“It would seem that Maunder and Spoerer were right and that most of the rest of us have been wrong. As is often the case in the onrush of modern science, we had too quickly forgotten the past, forgotten the less-than-perfect pedigree of the sunspot cycle and the fact that it too once came as a surprise. We had adopted a kind of solar uniformitarianism, contending that the modern behavior of the sun represented the normal behavior of the sun over a much longer span of time.”
The “scientific consensus” on climate change jumped out at me when I read this. Keep questioning! The truth will eventually bare itself, whether or not in our lifetimes.
RIP, Mr. Eddy.

hotrod

I can only second all the comments above. A person worthy of being associated with a major scientific event, I also strongly support a request that the next solar minimum be named for Jack Eddy.
Likewise my thoughts are with his friends and family.
Larry

Mr Lynn

Bob Kutz (05:18:01) :
If this link has been posted, my apologies, if you don’t know who Jack Eddy is or what he accomplished this is the quickest read that covers most of it that I found;
http://www.aip.org/history/climate/eddy_int.htm
My sincere condolences to everyone who knew him personally.

It was fascinating to read, in the interview, of Jack Eddy’s navigation through the often wayward and uncertain currents of academic science, and especially about his confirmation of the historical evidence of the Maunder Minimum using contemporary tools—proof positive of the value of interdisciplinary research.
It is a little puzzling to read, at the end of the interview, that he seemed to have espoused the anthropogenic hypothesis of recent global warming:

EDDY: Probably all that fame of sorts and TV shows and stuff, the Today Show and all that kind of stuff, was probably not the best for me, because it made me even more dilettante. But along came Herb Friedman about that time, and asked me if I would want to take part in a thing they were thinking about, really reviving the International Geophysical Year and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. And so in the early ’80s, 1983 I think, I started sticking my toe in that one and became very fascinated by what you could learn about the Earth as a whole if you tied all the sciences together, and if you looked at the cracks between biology and atmospheric science, or between geology and oceanology and stuff, that there was an awful lot to be found there that might be secrets about how the world worked. And in the course of that I became more and more aware of and concerned about global Warming than I had been.
WEART: This was not a concern of yours before that point?
EDDY: It definitely was not, and I must say, the reason I got off on the interdisciplinarity of sciences at that time, in the early ’80s, was not that I was so fascinated by the possibility of greenhouse warming. As it was, I was fascinated by the notion of bringing people together from different disciplines and mixing the chemistry and see what happened. And so I was the first chairman on the Academy Committee on what later became the sort of Global Change Program. I did a lot of work there. I set up a new organization within NCAR, who had decided to hire me back.

Not to introduce a negative note (from the standpoint of this blog). Did Dr. Eddy ever consider that the late 20th-century warming, such as it was, might have been caused by a solar maximum?
/Mr Lynn

Steven Hill

Condolences to his family and friends.
Hope to meet you in heaven!

timetochooseagain

The Eddy Minimum, in honor of a truly great scientist, dedicated to discovery, definitely.

David Ball

My heartfelt condolences to the Eddy family and to you Dr. Svalgaard. The Eddy Minimum has a ring to it. To sleep, perchance to dream, …..

Arthur Glass

“I truly believe the sayings that there is no hope for the satisfied man and that without fear there is no learning.”
Wise words indeed, words to live by.
Here is a poem I often turn to on such occasions.
“I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
What is precious is never to forget
The delight of the blood drawn from ancient springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth;
Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light,
Nor its grave evening demand for love;
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s center.
Born of the sun, they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.”
~ Stephen Spender ~

Ian Middleton

The Maunder Minimum.
Lest we forget.
To Jack Eddy, cheers mate.
May this minimum be a maximum worthy of your name.
RIP.