Al Bartlett, who repeated lecture on population growth 1,742 times, has died

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Bill the Galactic Hero's picture
Bill the Galact...
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Posts: 5
Al Bartlett, who repeated lecture on population growth 1,742 times, has died

Quote from The Denver Post:

University of Colorado Prof. Al Bartlett, who delivered a lecture on world population growth at least 1,742 times during his lifetime, died Saturday in Boulder. He was 90.

The entire story is available on the Post website:

RIP Dr. Bartlett, let's hope people eventually pay attention to your lecture.

cmartenson's picture
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Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5971
Al Bartlett Passes On

Dr. Bartlett was hugely inspirational to me, to the exponential portions of the Crash Course, and to millions of others.

This is sad news to me.

Al Bartlett Dies At 90

Sept 9, 2013

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Albert Allen Bartlett, a physics professor who warned of the consequences of population growth and its impact on energy consumption, has died.

The University of Colorado, Boulder, said Monday that Bartlett died Saturday. He was 90.

Bartlett taught at CU-Boulder from 1950 to 1988 and he became a well-known for his lecture titled “Arithmetic, Population and Energy.” Since first delivering the lecture to a group of students in 1969, Bartlett has delivered the lecture more than 1,700 times.

He was famous for saying that the greatest shortcoming of the human race was the inability to understand the exponential function, and he was right. Because we lack this crucial understanding, we are going to consume our way right into a rather large mess, from which it will be extraordinarily difficult to fashion any sort of reasonable escape,.

I first met him in Boulder, Colorado when he came to a lecture I was offering to the public. Perhaps 300 were in attendance that day, but knowing that Al Bartlett was right there...well, it was like talking about Catholicism with the pope in the audience. Nervewracking, to say the least.

Afterwards he was very kind to whatever liberties and looseness I may have brought to the specific terms involved, and how I talked about exponential functions, and one of my treasured photos was taken with him.

He was a great man, and an excellent communicator and lifted and pulled and strained against that human shortcoming his whole career, tirelessly educating his local community, students, and the world about the negative aspects that can accompany growth, but especially exponential growth.

We'll miss you Dr. Bartlett, and do our best to carry your work on to more people.

FreeNL's picture
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Joined: Mar 27 2013
Posts: 112
Sadly his observations are

Sadly his observations are nothing more than common sense and simple math. What does that say about the rest of us who needed his light to see these simple relationships, including myself?

Great men and women see the world for what it is and try to enlighten us all.  I believe him to be one of the greats in this regard.



LesPhelps's picture
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Joined: Apr 30 2009
Posts: 811
He will be missed

His voice will be missed.  I had his quote hanging in my office for years, followed by 2x2x2x2 = 16; 4x4x4x4 = 256. Not once did anyone comment.  Over population is the forbidden topic.

Yet, as chance would have it, I only read his Boulder speech this morning.  His on top levity made the speech riviting.  It is extremely easy to tune out when confronted with dry material on the problems we face.  Al Bartlett was able to keep me rivited like an excellent novel.  That, rather than the details of his message, is what I will miss.


Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
A Life Not Wasted.

But the youtube lives on.

nigel's picture
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Joined: Apr 15 2009
Posts: 148
My tribute

My tribute is to tell just two other people about his teaching and introduce them to his videos on youtube. If I can tell two and each on of them can each tell two more, well I think he would approve were he still with us.

It's sad that he isn't with us, but at the same time his work lives on with everyone who appreciates it. Thank you Chris for introducing it to me.



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