Robert Kemp Adair — a personal remembrance

Robert K. Adair, Member of the National Academy of Sciences and Yale University Sterling Professor Emeritus of Physics died in Hamden on September 28, 2020 aged 96. — New Haven Register, October 3, 2020.

I first met Bob Adair in 2003, when, at the suggestion of a colleague,¹ I wrote to him regarding the biophysics of human exposure to “extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields,” or ELF-EMF, or simply EMF. Ever since a study had appeared in 1979 suggesting that children in homes located in proximity to power lines had increased rates of cancer, the question of a pervasive threat from EMF had grown into a major concern among certain scientists and the public at large. I had always been skeptical about the plausibility of a causal association because the fields emanating from power lines and other sources were extremely weak and fell off as the square of the distance from them. But few in the epidemiology community appeared to have any interest in what a different discipline, namely physics, had to say on the topic.

In October 2003 I drove up to visit Bob and his wife Eleanor in their home in Hamden, Connecticut, just north of New Haven. Bob was eighty and was emeritus professor of physics at Yale, where he had devoted a thirty-year career to research in elementary particle physics. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and held the title of Sterling professor of physics. On that first visit, I interviewed him for several hours sitting in the spacious, book-lined living-room of their house, which had been built by Thornton Wilder in the late 1920s with money he made from the sale of The Bridge of St. Luis Rey.

Bob told me that, as he approached retirement age, he had looked around for a problem he could work on without having to run a large laboratory typical of research in high-energy physics.

Through his wife Ellie, an environmental biologist and authority on microwave radiation,² he attended several meetings on the biological effects of EMF and got to know many of the key figures in that area. Bob saw that there was “a bit of a gap” in the physics of biological interactions of low-frequency EMF, which he wanted to understand better. In 1991 he published a major paper in the journal Physical Review in which he used fundamental physical principles to call into question the possibility of health hazards from ambient exposure to power-frequency EMF. Titled “Constraints on biological effects of weak very-low-frequency electromagnetic fields,” the paper started out from the position that, due to the low energy of such fields, any contribution to cancer or leukemia incidence could not be due to the breaking of bonds in DNA. Rather, it would have to involve “less catastrophic effects” that are not well characterized or understood.

Bob defined weak fields as electric fields below 300 volts/meter in air (the mean electric field at the earth’s surface is 100 V/m) and magnetic fields no greater than 50 microTesla (or 500 milligauss), the strength of the earth’s magnetic field. In order for an externally generated electric or magnetic field to have an effect on cellular physiology, the fields would have to exceed the level of endogenous “thermal noise.” As he put it to me, all the molecules in our body are “jiggling around at a temperature of 36.7o C.” This normal level of thermal noise is referred to as kT, that is, a constant times temperature in degrees Kelvin. If the mean energy of the cells in one’s body is altered by as little as 3 percent, “then you’re going to be dead.”

In his 1991 paper Bob demonstrated that, due to the resistivity of tissues and cell membranes, fields actually penetrating the body are, in fact, far weaker than the thermal noise effects — by many orders of magnitude — and, therefore, cannot be expected to have any significant effect on the biological activities of cells.

Having described the properties of thermal noise within tissues and cell membranes, Bob proceeded to consider different aspects of EMF — electric fields, static and changing magnetic fields, pulsed magnetic fields, and different types of resonance — demonstrating for each scenario that the fields produced are below the level of thermal noise. In each case, he invoked the principles of classical physics to bring clarity to the discussion of specific mechanisms by which EMF could affect biology. He concluded that “there are good reasons to believe that weak ELF fields can have no significant biological effect at the cell level — and no strong reason to believe otherwise.”

Characteristically, in spite of the paper’s thoroughness and provocative conclusion, Bob wasn’t certain that he was right. As he put it to me in an e-mail in 2004,

“Negative arguments, such as those that say that weak fields cannot affect biology are always suspect as being possibly incomplete. I was not completely converted myself for a long time. When I published the 1991 paper, I rather suspected that someone would come up with an angle that I had missed. Indeed, it was much later, after I had considered matters at greater length — and published perhaps ten more papers on the subject — that I became a complete convert myself to the view that environmental fields of 10 milligauss indicted in the epidemiology cannot possibly affect biology. By that time, no one had found any convincing theoretical process — or convincing experimental data — that would allow power-line frequency fields of less than 500 milligauss to affect biology. Since any effects near threshold must increase with the square of the magnetic field (for AC fields, the average field strength is always zero) or the energy density, the safety factor is not 500/10, or 50, but 2500.”

In an article written for the layman in the late 1990s and titled “The fear of weak electromagnetic fields,” Bob was both more outspoken and more accessible. He likened concern over weak EMF from power lines to the fear that leaves falling from trees could fracture a person’s scull. “Electric fields alleged to be carcinogenic and generated by the 60 Hz, 5 milligauss magnetic fields from an electric power distribution system will be only about ten millionths of a volt per meter (V/m) and cannot induce an energy transfer to biologically significant molecules of greater than one-millionth kT.” “Direct magnetic effects are also possible… but at 60 reversals per second, the magnetic forces cancel out and the energies transmitted to magnetic elements in animals by 60 Hz, 5 milligauss fields can be expected to be less than 1/10,000 kT. Neither birds, bees, fishes, nor humans can even detect such weak 60 Hz fields, let alone be harmed by them.”

How then was one to account for the numerous experimental studies purporting to show effects of exposure to EMF? Bob pointed out that, after more than twenty years of research, there were no reproducible, agreed upon effects, and he attributed most findings to experimental error. He contended that much of the research in this area, fed by public concern and the availability of funding was published and accepted uncritically by many who had a stake in there being health effects of ambient EMF. As an experimentalist in high-energy physics, Bob judged the vast majority of experimental work on this question to be of extremely poor quality. The reporting of an exciting new finding was typically followed by the failure of other researchers to be able to reproduce it.³

When Bob became aware of the highly-cited paper by the epidemiologist John Ioannidis “Why most published research findings are false,” the biases described in that paper struck him as crucial to accounting for the mass of suggestive but irreproducible findings regarding the biological effects of EMF.

The cogent case made by Bob, together with those of his Yale colleague William Bennett and others, for the consideration of fundamental biophysical properties in evaluating the health effects of EMF were instrumental in persuading the American Physical Society and the National Academy of Sciences to undertake independent reviews of what was known about the health effects of EMF. The American Physical Society’s report was published in 1995 and the National Research Council report in 1997. Both documents came to the overall conclusion that there was no compelling evidence of adverse health effects on humans. In addition, a large study of childhood leukemia by the National Cancer Institute came out in 1997 showing no evidence of an association. Bob’s lucid, tightly-argued writings contributed to largely putting the long-standing concern over EMF to rest.

Bob continued to write about EMF and later, when radiofrequency energy from cell phones and base stations became a concern, supplanting EMF as “the risk du jour,” in 2003 he wrote a superb article bringing the principles of physics to bear on that question. In the article, he pointed out that there were no reproducible effects on biology of exposure to radiofrequency (RF) or microwave fields below the level at which heating occurs. After considering a complete set of possible biological interactions involving possible athermal effects of low-intensity RF and microwave electromagnetic fields on human physiology, he concluded that it was “quite unlikely” that any mechanism could transfer enough energy exceeding the normal thermal noise of the human body. Hence, he concluded that it is “most unlikely that RF or microwave fields of an intensity less than 10 milliwatts per centimeter squared incident on humans can affect physiology significantly.”⁴

But Bob went a step further. Referring to the eighteenth-century English mathematician Thomas Bayes, he argued that, when gauging the probability of an effect, one needs to take into account prior knowledge bearing on its likelihood. This is a more sophisticated approach than simply examining each new finding in isolation, as if there were no previous relevant knowledge. Pointing to the body of published experimental findings purporting to show physiological effects of low-intensity fields, Bob commented that, given the theoretical implausibility of such effects, the results would have to be “especially definitive,” since “remarkable conclusions — which seem to violate well-considered principles — require remarkably strong evidence.” In his judgment, the existing studies did not meet that standard. Note that Bob was not saying that it is impossible that RF could cause cancer. He was merely saying that, given everything that we know, it is extremely unlikely.

Bob’s explanations were invaluable to me when I was writing a chapter devoted to the question of whether cell phones increase the risk of cancer in my latest book.⁵ By the time I sent him a draft of the chapter on cell phones, I had included a two-panel figure showing on top the dramatic increase in cell phone subscriptions from the mid-1980s to 2012, and below a graph of the age-adjusted incidence of brain cancer for the period 1977 to 2012, which was completely flat for the thirty-year period.

Bob wrote back, “I have just finished reading your Chapter 4 for the second time. I expect to reread it again, and again. I enjoyed it very much and I learned a lot. Although I append a short list of unimportant comments, my only serious suggestion is to add emphasis to the remarkable Figure 1. I had not seen that data before and I found it to be a simple, stunning affirmation of the conclusion that cell phones are harmless, a conclusion we had reached through scientific reasoning — albeit reasoning disputed by biased incompetents. That figure will impress everyone and convince even skeptics that cell phones are not very dangerous.”

I continued to stay in touch with Bob, speaking to him by phone every couple of weeks and exchanging papers we wrote. When I would reach him and ask how he was, he always answered in an upbeat, faintly sing-song voice, with a laugh, “Oh, pretty good, pretty good!” His demeanor was unassuming and down-to-earth, and I chalked this up to his roots in the mid-West. He was amused by human foibles, which he observed in himself as well as in others. Often, he would bring his critical faculties to bear on topics that he felt were being distorted by scientists, journalists and activists and even regulatory agencies that didn’t bother to consider the fundamental properties of the phenomenon they were considering.

As Bob’s daughter Margaret Quinn wrote to me in an email exchange following Bob’s death, “Bob’s bête noire in his later life was the bad science he saw everywhere. He rightly mourned the rigor of the scientists of his salad days, and he recognized how the scramble for funding in every scientific field forced bias even on good practitioners. I think he felt physics was immune for a long time, but it saddens me that he was sure he had stopped doing physics at the right time, because he wanted to compete for knowledge and discovery, not for funding. While he knew he was fallible and had made mistakes in his work, he never ever felt that he had compromised his honesty or his integrity.”

From our very different backgrounds this was terrain we shared. He was always glad to talk and we never had trouble finding a topic of current interest to talk about. Often, in these conversations, I would grab a pen to make a note of an anecdote or something pithy he said.

I want to record here a few of Bob’s views on various topics and anecdotes that reflect his curiosity about the world and his drive to figure out how it works — whether the topic was the casualties in war, the genetics of height, the physics of baseball, climate change, or the learning style of a future Secretary of Defense.

In 2012 I sent Bob a copy of a paper I had published on height and cancer in a cohort of Canadian women, in which we showed a positive association of attained height with increased risk of a number of cancers. Bob, who had a strong interest in the genetics of IQ, questioned whether the association we observed was universal, applying to humans generally or just to Canadian women. In an email he wrote, “From your data, one can see that it is likely that there is a nearly equal association of cancer incidence with education and, thus, with IQ, and, thus with family income — a class difference. Along with a class difference — hence between diets, medical care, infant treatments — there are surely ethnic differences and thus different life-styles. In particular, humans with different ethnic ancestries have different mean heights. Could then the different cancer incidence derive from different heredities? Today, the French are shorter than the Scandinavians and, also, the Scots. As late as 1950, the lower class in England was significantly shorter than the upper class. Today there is still a class difference in height, albeit smaller. And the Welsh are shorter than the English — and the Scots taller. Does the lower class in England — and the Welsh — have lower cancer rates? The Scots higher?”

“I present the Tay-Sachs relations to illustrate my concerns with ethnic effects on general conclusions. As you know, the Tay-Sachs syndrome is found only in Ashkenazi Jews, French-Canadians, and Louisiana Cajuns (the Quebec and Cajun forms may be slightly different from the Jewish forms, but that need not concern us). Hence, in the United States, the disease is found almost wholely in Jews. American Jews have a mean IQ of about 115 — much higher than any other simply defined ethnic group. Hence, ignoring ethnic identification, there is a high correlation between high intelligence and the Tay-Sachs disease in the U.S. However, the correlation is specious, inasmuch as the non-Jewish high intelligence population does not suffer from the disease and there is no special correlation between the significant disease incidence and high IQ in the populations of southern Quebec and southeastern Louisiana.”

“In summary, I question the universal character of the association you show between height and certain cancers in the Canadian populations. But I would hold this relation more likely to be universal if the Quebec population and the Anglo population considered separately showed similar correlations.”

Prompted by Bob’s question, I did further analyses, examining the incidence of all cancer and postmenopausal breast cancer (the most common cancer) in women from Quebec and women from all other provinces. The association with height was of similar magnitude and statistically significant in both Quebecoise and non-Quebecoise for both outcomes.

Bob responded, “Very interesting! To me, that result almost eliminates the likelihood that ethnicity effects are dominant. It would be fun to look at Southern U.S. blacks for both weight and height effects (Southern blacks have little white admixture) though I suppose the data doesn’t exist. Thanks again — great fun, as well as useful.”

Once, in discussing the questionable claims about EMF, Bob said, “I got into nuclear physics when it was at its height. If you did an experiment, you knew that other groups were going to repeat it. And if you made a mistake, you were going to be exposed as a fool. If you made two mistakes, you’d better look for a job as a professor of English.” Bob was referring to the very different culture in epidemiology, where he said “there’s no cost for being wrong.”

On another occasion, I mentioned that I had come across a quote from Richard Feynman to the effect that you have to follow the data in your interpretations. This prompted Bob to tell the following story:

“When he was at Brookhaven in the 1960s, Feynman came to give a lecture on superconductivity. Edward Teller, the inventor of the hydrogen bomb, was in the audience. Bob said that Feynman’s lecture was way over his head. At the end of the lecture, Teller raised his hand and said that Feynman hadn’t proved his theory of superconductivity and went on to give specific reasons. Bob said he couldn’t follow Teller’s argument either. Feynman was silent for a full sixty seconds, and Bob said you could see the wheels turning as he was working through the math. Then he said, “You’re absolutely right.”

Looking back on his career in high-energy physics, Bob said that he felt that at several junctures he had made the wrong choice — he went in one direction, but had he gone in the other direction he would have won a Nobel Prize. In an unpublished memoir, he wrote, “I did well in my scientific research, where I made a few modest contributions to human knowledge. I have sometimes joked that most of my friends have won the Nobel Prize. While I was a step behind these men — some of the ablest scientists of my generation — I am proud to have walked in their ranks.”⁶ Speaking to me, he said, we all make mistakes. Still, looking back on his life, he felt that he had had a very good life.

Another time, Bob talked about his father who worked in the hosiery business, making women’s stockings in Milwaukee. He was a member of the local AFL-CIO, whose leadership was communist and Jewish. When Bob was about twelve years old, he asked his father why the leadership of the local were Jews and communists, when none of the rank-and-file were Jewish or communist. His father said that it was very simple — “they are the only ones who don’t sell us out.” Bob commented that they were idealists. They weren’t after power or money.

In a conversation in May 2017, I mentioned to Bob that I had seen Noam Chomsky talking up the impending catastrophe from climate change. There are many recent videos of talks he has given. I said that I always admired Chomsky and had gone to sit-ins in Cambridge in the 60s and had read his books, and that it struck me how someone as hard-nosed and critical as Chomsky could be carrying on like a doomsday prophet. Bob said that he too was aware of Chomsky’s views on climate change. But he said he was not surprised because he had never agreed with Chomsky’s views on politics. He said that Chomsky’s father was a much more solid scholar, who disagreed with his son on most issues.

Talking with Bob in 2015, I must have mentioned that the incoming Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, was a theoretical physicist, and Bob laughed and said he’s not a theoretical physicist. Then he told me the following story. Bob took over an undergraduate physics course at Yale. A good friend of his had taught it, and for a period Bob took it over. He used his predecessor’s notes and exams to teach the course. It was called “introductory physics,” but it was really not elementary. It presupposed quite a bit of physics. Ash Carter, who was a sophomore history major and needed to fulfill his science requirement, came to him and said he would like to take the course, which he understood to be the best beginning science course at Yale. Adair tried to dissuade him, but when Carter persisted, he said okay. On the first exam, Carter did okay — a good chunk of the class failed. But by the end of the semester, he was close to the top of the class. “Ash wrote an almost perfect paper — the best in the class.” Then he went off to Scotland to study medieval history at Edinburgh University. He said that in Scotland the academics didn’t think very highly of the U.S., and they claimed that the medieval history program was full up and they refused Carter. So, he looked at the physics offerings, and they tried to dissuade him there too. But he said, look, I’m hanging around here, you have room and you lose nothing by letting me take the course. So, they let him in. After his semester in Scotland, Ash came back to Yale, and with his considerable work now in physics, asked to be considered a joint history and physics major. While we had no doubt about Ash’s ability, we wrote, conventionally, requesting an assessment of Ash’s work. The British — and Scotch — tend to write reserved credential statements. But the statements on Ash’s work were far from reserved. One respondent said that Ash was the best student they had ever had! When he came back to Yale, he took quantum mechanics with Bob and, again, was one of the top students in the class. And, for two summers, he worked with Bob on a high-energy physics experiment at Fermilab outside of Chicago. They had the night shift and for most of the time they just had to be there to make sure nothing went wrong with the equipment. But they spent a lot of time together and became quite close. Bob said that Carter would take out his books and read medieval Latin through the night.

Later Bob’s daughter Margaret told me, “Bob said often that, while he had met a lot of very, very smart people in his life, Ash was probably the smartest.”

In August 1943, just before his nineteenth birthday, Bob had enlisted in the army and served as an infantry rifleman in combat in France and then in Germany. His platoon landed in Normandy in September 1944 and fought all the way to the banks of the Rhine, where he was badly wounded on the second-to-last day of fighting, after 180 days in combat. He was hit three separate times by machine gun fire in a fifteen-minute interval, and lay for hours with wounds to his arm and head, pretending to be dead and listening to the Germans, who were thirty yards away. When medics finally arrived to collect him, they told him that he had seven bullet holes in his helmet. He received the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In 1995, he compiled the letters he had written home to his parents (“Letters Home from the Second Platoon”), and they make gripping reading. Bob gives acute descriptions of his training, his fellow soldiers, whom he admired, with some exceptions, and the experience of the frontline infantry, whose view of the battlefield was limited to fifty yards. He already thought like a physicist, quantifying every aspect of soldiering and warfare — whether assessing the firearms used by the Americans, Germans, and Japanese; improving on the regulation way to throw a hand grenade (in a football spiral); or calculating to the casualty and replacement rates among the U.S forces in the drive to beat back the Germans. In the letters and the accompanying commentary he wrote fifty years later, he is constantly surveying the terrain and calculating probabilities and trajectories.

Bob Adair in Brittany, 1944

In 2011, Bob sent me an unpublished essay he wrote “Infantry rifle-platoon casualty rates in World War II,” which was prompted by Stephen Ambrose’s contention in his 1997 book Citizen Soldiers that the U.S. high command had badly mismanaged the replacement of soldiers taken out of combat in the drive against the Wehrmacht. Bob felt that Ambrose’s conclusion was based on anecdotal evidence, and he used tables taken from Ambrose’s book to compute casualty rates and replacement rates among U.S. infantry divisions in France and Germany during the war. This led him to conclude that no feasible change in the replacement policy could have overcome the brute reality of the very high casualty rates among the frontline troops, and, particularly, the rifle companies, which he had observed up close. He calculated that the rifleman’s odds of being a casualty was 3.5 times that of the average soldier in the division and that the per-person casualty rate in the rifle companies was almost 6.8 times the mean rate in the rest of the division. The probability of becoming a combat casualty in an infantry rifle company was at least ten times greater than for the 50% of the troops who formed the rear echelons of an infantry division. Adair noted that, “Thus, during the 10 months of combat from D-day to VE-day, the rifle platoons in the most heavily engaged divisions were replaced about six times!” And, further he commented, “I believe that the biggest problem was the unprecedented casualty rate in cutting edge troops — higher even than in WWI! A system that would have worked reasonably well if the mean survival time of a rifleman were 180 days, broke down when that ‘mean life’ was 30 days or less, which was the case for some periods in the European war.”

Stephen Ambrose responded to Bob’s essay, saying that he had convinced him and that he was now in agreement.

For the past fifteen years Bob was deeply preoccupied with the question of climate change, and he spent time closely examining the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The reports were the product of the work of hundreds of climate scientists all over the world, and he considered them to be an impressive piece of work. On the other hand, the “Summary for Policymakers” was more of a political document, and this was all that most people read. This had the effect of creating an orthodoxy regarding what is a dauntingly complex issue, and skeptics who attempted to raise valid questions or pointed to missing pieces of the puzzle could be brutally maligned. The issue would often come up in our phone conversations.

In 2008, Bob had published a paper in the journal Physical Review Letters titled “Stochastic contributions to global temperature changes.”⁷ This was his last publication, and the last IPCC report it referred to was from 2001. But he continued to study the later reports (from 2007 and 2013). In December 2014, Bob told me that he was writing yet another iteration of his climate change paper, which I had read at least four drafts of but which I had some difficulty following. I asked him again to give me the main points. And he said that, when you look at temperature records going back a hundred years (such as those taken in Central Park), there is an increasing trend, but there is an enormous amount of noise in the data. Weather is a chaotic phenomenon, and climate is merely weather integrated over time. When he projected the increase in global temperature out to 2100, he came up with an increase of 1.5 degrees Centigrade. This is the case he made in the 2008 paper. Now, Bob pointed out that the IPCC 2007 report, which is one thousand pages long and which he considered to be an impressive piece of work, made no mention of chaotic behavior (no mention of “chaotic” or “chaos” in the index). IPCC 2013 (1500 pages long) has three mentions of chaotic behavior in the index, but when you look them up they do not cite any references addressing the point. (It seems quite incredible that in such a document, which is the work of hundreds of scientists, there is no mention of the fact that we are dealing with a chaotic phenomenon). In any event, the fact that there is so much noise in the temperature data means that predictions for what will happen in the future are basically meaningless. The computer models are just not capable of modeling climate and predicting the future with any degree of accuracy.

Bob read to me from an article about Freeman Dyson. (I hadn’t realized that Dyson had worked on climate change in the 1970s by taking an experimental approach at Oak Ridge). Dyson says that climate has always been changing and that climate is always lousy, and that basically humans have learned to adapt and live with it. He feels that climate scientists rely on their models, which are terrible, but they have an investment in them, and therefore attack anyone who questions them. He makes the point that models do a very poor job of taking into account the effects of clouds.

Bob’s view of climate change is clearly not the dominant view, and in the last few years of his life he no longer felt equipped to keep up with developments. By chance, in 2018 at a celebration commemorating a hundred and twenty-five years of Columbia University Press, I had approached Gavin Schmidt of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies to get his view on climate change. He took out his iPhone and showed me data on temperature trends, making the point that scientists had been able to validate their models by assessing how well they had predicted more recent trends based on earlier data. In any event, we know that there is a degree of “play” among the projections of future temperature rise (and sea level rise) based on different scenarios for the rate of growth or reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and at least one of the IPCC’s scenarios (“RCP 8.5”) appears to have overshot the mark.

The point is that Bob had the independence of mind to try to work through for himself what one can say about the global temperature trends and their causes over the past century in order to think rationally about how to respond. He was not someone who could just accept the consensus view on faith.

In early October of last year, Bob’s daughter Margaret called me to tell me that Bob had died. I looked for an obituary in the New York Times, and was shocked when none appeared, likely due to the increased deaths from the pandemic. When I learned of Bob’s death, I wrote to an epidemiologist colleague and friend, who knew Bob’s work on ELF-EMF and microwave energy and had served on a committee to assess possible health effects of the Pave Paws radar array on Cape Cod.⁸ My friend Bob Tarone wrote back, “Very sad to hear that. Adair was not directly involved in the Pave Paws study, but we relied heavily on his superb published papers on the biological effects of radio-frequency energy in our report. He and his wife were superb scientists. Losing too many who don’t seem to have competent replacements. Too bad honesty and truth are in such short supply in science today.”

Bob concurred that there should have been an obituary in the Times.

Notes:

¹James Enstrom of UCLA.

²A conversation with Eleanor R. Adair : Tuning in to microwave frequency. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/16/health/a-conversation-with-eleanor-r-adair-tuning-in-to-the-microwave-frequency.html

³A fuller account of the EMF story can be found in Chapter 4 of my book Hyping Health Risks: Environmental Hazards in Daily Life and the Science of Epidemiology. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.

⁴Adair RK. Biophysical limits on athermal effects of radiofrequency and microwave radiation. Bioelectromagnetics. 2003 Jan;24(1):39–48.

⁵Getting Risk Right: Understanding the Science of Elusive Health Risks.New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.

⁶Robert K. Adair. Letters Home from the Second Platoon: I Company, 376th Infantry, WWII, Europe (unpublished manuscript).

⁷Adair RK. Stochastic contributions to global temperature changes. Physical Review Letters 2008;100:148501.

⁸Adair RK. Environmental objections to the PAVE PAWS radar system: a scientific review. Radiation Research 2003; 159:128–134.

— —

Geoffrey Kabat is an epidemiologist and author, most recently of Getting Risk Right: Understanding the Science of Elusive Health Risks.

I am an epidemiologist and author, who tries to clarify what science has to say about threats to our health and the environment.