Michael H. Hart
Michael H. Hart (born April 28, 1932 in New York City) is an astrophysicist who has also written three books on history and controversial articles on a variety of subjects.
Hart, a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science who enlisted in the U.S. army during the Korean war, received his undergraduate degree at Cornell in mathematics and later earned a PhD in astrophysics at Princeton. He also holds graduates degrees in physics, astronomy, and computer science, as well as a law degree. He was a research scientist at NASA before leaving to be a professor of physics at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He has also taught both astronomy and history of science at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. His published work in peer-reviewed scientific journals includes several detailed computer simulations of atmospheric evolution.
His first book was The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, which has sold more than 500,000 copies and been translated into 15 foreign languages. His second book, A View from the Year 3000, published in 1999, is a history of the future which includes both technological advances and political developments.
His most recent book, Understanding Human History, (Washington Summit Publishers: 2007) is a history of humanity, beginning about 100,000 years ago and going through the 20th century. It includes discussions of developments in every major area of the world. Unlike other books on world history, Hart's work explicitly discusses group differences in intelligence, and explains how, why, and when they arose. The book also discusses the many consequences that those differences have had on human events, starting in prehistoric times and continuing to the present. The book includes an abundance of data and tables, together with sixteen maps, three tables, an extensive bibliography, and a thorough index.
Hart describes himself as a Jeffersonian liberal, while his critics call him a conservative and a racial separatist. At a 2006 conference, Hart had a public confrontation with David Duke, the former Gran Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and one-time Louisiana politician, over Duke's anti-Semitic remarks.
Among Hart's controversial articles was one, published in 1975, that gave strong scientific support for the conclusion that the only intelligent life in the Milky Way Galaxy resides on the planet Earth.
Another article disputed the authorship of the literary works of Shakespeare, asserting that the famous plays and poems were in fact written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford rather than the man from Stratford-on-Avon who is credited with them.
Also controversial was his paper that suggested that a future of Yugoslavia-type ethnic conflict in the United States could be avoided by a voluntary partition of the country into four states: an integrated mixed-race state, a white state, a black state, and a Hispanic state.
- The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, 1978 (Revised Edition, 1992)
- Extra-Terrestrials, Where Are They? (co-edited with Ben Zuckerman), 1982
- A View from the Year 3000 (Poseidon Press, 1999)
- Understanding Human History (Washington Summit Publishers, 2007).