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American actor Humphrey Bogart and Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman on the set of Casablanca
© Sunset Boulevard/Corbis
16 October 2015 11:07

Carbon Briefly: Michael E Mann

Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

16.10.2015 | 11:07am
InterviewsCarbon Briefly: Michael E Mann

People working on climate or energy give Carbon Brief a sense of their lives beyond the nine-to-five…

Michael E Mann is distinguished professor of meteorology at Penn State University in the US. He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Centre. His books include Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (2008) and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (2012).

Michael E Mann

Michael E Mann. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.


The Demon-Haunted World, by Carl Sagan. This book explores the true meaning of skepticism, and it’s importance in science, debunking pseudo-skepticism and science denialism along the way. When it comes to fiction, Fitzgerald is a favourite. The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. There is something ethereal and haunting about these tales when it comes to the matter of the inexorable passage of time and how we struggle to deal with it.


An islet in the Connecticut River, between Amherst and Northampton. It is where I proposed to my wife.


Casablanca; The Shawshank Redemption; Field of Dreams. These movies touch one’s soul, each in its own way.


Playing piano; going on hikes and bike rides with my family. I have, sadly, little free time. I like to spend what little I do have with my family, doing mundane things. It doesn’t matter. It’s just about being with them.


Pretty much anything by Jackson Browne, Steely Dan, the Eagles, U2, the Police, Nick Drake, Billie Holiday.  But Mozart, Gershwin, and Copland aren’t bad. And it doesn’t get much better than a Bach cello suite, in my book. My tastes, needless to say, are somewhat eclectic.


Ginger scallion Dungeness crab, any of several restaurants in Chinatown, San Francisco. It may be the most sublime dish on the face of the planet.


Well, so far, the new Stephen Colbert show is way up there. But I grew up on The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, and the Waltons. My sensibilities are a product of that era.

Role model

Carl Sagan. Sagan proved that you can be a great scientist and a great science communicator. You don’t have to choose between the two.


A hot fudge sundae at Ghirardelli’s in San Francisco, followed by a stroll along the bay, with Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, boats and passing cable cars looming in the background. It just doesn’t get much better than that.


My “precious” (iPhone).

Main image: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman on the set of Casablanca. © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis.
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