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August 9, 2012 | Warren Washington has been interviewed countless times in his 49-year career as an NCAR climate modeler and expert on U.S. science policy, but a particular interview this summer stands out. On June 11, Warren sat down with former NCAR colleague Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, onstage at the newly renovated NAS auditorium. The result was a videotaped interview entitled “A Night with Warren Washington."
“It was a major production, with cameras all over the place,” says Warren.
The wide-ranging discussion was conducted as part of The HistoryMakers, a major oral history project focusing on African Americans. To date, more than 2,000 HistoryMakers interviews have been conducted, including more than 70 with scientists.
Warren’s segment is among a select few to be videotaped in the format dubbed “An Evening with . . .” These conversational, 90-minute programs are similar to those in the series “Inside the Actors Studio.” In the last few years, 19 “Evening with . . .” segments have aired nationally on PBS, spotlighting Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, Russell Simmons, and Colin Powell, among others.
Two “Evening with . . .” segments focusing on scientists—Warren and astronaut Bernard Harris—were produced for broadcast in the Washington area on PBS affiliate WHUT-TV. Warren’s interview is not slated for national broadcast, so a screening will take place at NCAR later this year; watch Staff Notes Daily for details.
The host committee for the event included former UCAR president Rick Anthes and former NCAR director Eric Barron. The festivities also involved Warren’s longtime NCAR colleague Jerry Meehl. “I was invited to provide a short introduction to Warren and his work as part of the ‘pre-show’ for the live audience, defined as what happened before the cameras started rolling for the PBS production,” says Jerry. “I likened myself to the role of Ed McMahon for [former "Tonight Show" host] Johnny Carson—I was there to warm up the audience before the main event.”
“I think young people need to realize that when they have to make career choices . . . science is still a very good option,” says Warren in the WJLA report.
In an introductory interview posted on the HistoryMakers site, Warren weighs in on climate change: “We’re going to have to face up to something that’s going to affect our children and grandchildren. I think what really wins out over time is that the science will speak for itself.”