Concept

Willie Soon

Summary
Willie Wei-Hock Soon (born September 30, 1965) is a Malaysian astrophysicist and aerospace engineer who was long employed as a part-time externally funded researcher at the Solar and Stellar Physics (SSP) Division of the Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian. Soon is a anthropogenic climate change denier, disputing the scientific understanding of climate change, and contends that most global warming is caused by solar variation rather than by human activity. He co-wrote a paper whose methodology was widely criticised by the scientific community. Climate scientists such as Gavin Schmidt of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies have refuted Soon's arguments, and the Smithsonian does not support his conclusions. He is nonetheless frequently cited by politicians opposed to climate-change legislation. Soon co-authored The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun–Earth Connection with Steven H. Yaskell. The book treats historical and proxy records of climate change coinciding with the Maunder Minimum, a period from 1645 to about 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare. From 2005 to 2015, Soon had received over $1.2 million from the fossil fuel industry, while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his work. Of this industry funding, over half went on the Smithsonian's facility operating costs, with the remainder going to Soon as his salary. Willie Soon was born in Kangar, Malaysia, in 1966. He attended Khoon Aik Primary School in Kangar, Perlis, then Sekolah Menengah Syed Sirajudin Secondary School in Jejawi, Perlis, and Sekolah Menengah Dato Sheikh Ahmad Secondary School in Arau, Perlis. To further his education he emigrated to the United States in 1980 and attended the University of Southern California, receiving a B.Sc. in 1985, followed by a M.Sc. in 1987 and then a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering [with distinction] in 1991. His doctoral thesis was titled Non-equilibrium kinetics in high-temperature gases.
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