Frederick Seitz (July 4, 1911 - March 2, 2008) was an American physicist. Seitz studied under Eugene Wigner at Princeton University, graduating in 1934. He was co-inventor of the Wigner-Seitz unit cell, which is an important concept in solid state physics.

Seitz once commented on the role of curiosity in the process of scientific discovery:

"Over a long time, things that people learn purely out of curiosity can have a revolutionary effect on human affairs.[1]


In 1940, Seitz published a prominent physics textbook, The Modern Theory of Solids.

In 1946, he was the head of the physics department at Carnegie Tech[2]. From 1949-1968, he served as a professor of physics at the University of Illinois. The Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the university is named after him.

He served as the president of the National Academy of Sciences from 1962 until 1969. From 1968 through 1978, he was president of Rockefeller University.

Shortly before his retirement from Rockefeller University in 1979, Seitz began working as a paid permanent consultant for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, advising their research program [3].

In 1994, Seitz authored a report published by the George C. Marshall Institute, of which he was a founder and chairman of the board, titled "Global warming and ozone hole controversies. A challenge to scientific judgment." In a broader discussion of environmental toxins, he concluded "there is no good scientific evidence that passive inhalation is truly dangerous under normal circumstances."[4]

Seitz also questioned whether global warming is anthropogenic [6]. He supported the position of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) on global warming and in an open letter invited scientists to sign the OISM's global warming petition. Seitz also signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration.

Seitz questioned the view that CFCs "are the greatest threat to the ozone layer".[5]

Seitz died March 2, 2008 in New York.[6][7]

Positions held

* Past President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.

* President Emeritus, Rockefeller University

* Past President, Richard Lounsbery Foundation

* Chair of Fred Singer's Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP).


* Frederick Seitz On the Frontier, My Life in Science (American Institute of Physics, 1994)

* Nikolaus Riehl and Frederick Seitz Stalin’s Captive: Nikolaus Riehl and the Soviet Race for the Bomb (American Chemical Society and the Chemical Heritage Foundations, 1996) ISBN 0-8412-3310-1. This book is a translation of Nikolaus Riehl’s book Zehn Jahre im goldenen Käfig (Ten Years in a Golden Cage) (Riederer-Verlag, 1988); Seitz wrote a lengthy introduction to the book. This book is a treasure trove with its 58 photographs.

See also

* List of scientists opposing global warming consensus


  1. ^ [1] A Conversation with Dr. Frederick Seitz
  2. ^ [2] "In 1946, Fred Seitz, then head of the physics department at Carnegie Tech"
  3. ^ [3] Tobacco Documents
  4. ^ [4] Tobacco Control - Sign In Page
  5. ^ [5] A Conversation with Dr. Frederick Seitz
  6. ^ Report #2 from the Global Warming Conference in New York City - by Joseph L. Bast - The Heartland Institute
  7. ^ Dennis Hevesi, "Frederick Seitz, 96, Dies; Physicist Who Led Skeptics of Global Warming," The New York Times, March 6, 2008, p. C12.


  • Obituary in The Times, 11 March 2008
  • President Emeritus Frederick Seitz dies at 96 (Rockefeller University Newswire)
  • Official Rockefeller University scientific biography (1985)
  • The George C. Marshall Institute: A Conversation with Dr. Frederick Seitz - September 3, 1997
  • Another biography from PBS
  • SourceWatch article
  • Do people cause global warming?
  • Vanity Fair article discussing Seitz's advocacy for tobacco and oil industries
  • Vanity Scare (TCS Daily, April 14, 2006): rebuttal to Seitz article in Vanity Fair

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