Physicist Al Bartlett is dead at 90 - well known population lecturer - video tribute

Professor Emeritus Al Bartlett (1923-2013) died on September 7, 2013 at age 90. 

Prof. Bartlett said that: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

Turning his words into action, he became rather famous for educating others about the consequences of runaway population growth. He gave his celebrated lecture, Arithmetic, Population and Energy 1,742 times since September 1969 (average of once every 8.5 days)1

Al had the uncanny ability to present mathematical concepts in a manner that was not only understandable, but interesting to the lay person.

In the late 1950s Professor Bartlett was an initiator of a citizens' effort to preserve open space in Boulder, Colorado, which ultimately led to the formation of The City of Boulder's Open Space Program. By 1999, the Program has purchased over 26,000 acres of land for preservation as public open space. Professor Bartlett is a founding member of PLAN-Boulder County, a City and County environmental group. Professor Bartlett was also an initiator of the "Blue Line" amendment that kept houses from being built info Boulder's foothills by restricting city water supply to a maximum elevation. 

Prof. Bartlett received a BA degree from Colgate University and MA and PhD degrees in Nuclear Physics from Harvard University in 1948 and 1951, respectively. He was a faculty member at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 1950. He was President of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1978. In 1981 he received the Association's Robert A. Millikan Award for his outstanding scholarly contributions to physics education. 

Beginning in 1944, Al Bartlett worked for 25 months in Los Alamos. Here is more information about Al Bartlett at Los Alamos, with photos. The Fall, 1995 interview of Al Bartlett covers Al's earlier years.

Al Bartlett was a kind, personable, and wise man. I knew him; I did his website I will miss him, as will many. Yet his legacy lives on.

Watch Al Bartlett's lecture Arithmetic, Population and Energy.

The following video tribute to professor Al Bartlett was produced by Fred Elbel to honor Prof. Bartlett's lifetime of work to educate the public on the consequences of exponential growth, population growth, and sustainability.