In nature's infinite book of secrecy a little I can read.
-- William Antony Shakespeare and Cleopatra
The buzzing on the convention center floor grew louder as the long-anticipated moment drew near. For many assembled in Atlanta on this January night in 1990, it would be their one and only chance to see a true scientific hero in action. There was a momentary hush when the slender, some thought gaunt, figure entered the large room, escorted by officers of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Then the audience burst into spontaneous applause and was rewarded by the familiar smile they had often seen on the Tonight show with Johnny Carson. It really was Carl Sagan, and he had come to receive the Oersted Medal, the association's highest honor.
Having shouldered the burden of publicly facing down the peddlers of pseudoscience and superstition, the irrepressible warrior chose the controversial topic of global warming for his acceptance speech. But first he reminded the assembly, composed largely of high school teachers, that the phrase "greenhouse effect" is a misnomer. Greenhouses work by preventing convective cooling, the same principle that applies to the interior of an automobile when heated by sunlight on a summer's day. Yet he was forced to admit that the "phrase is so widespread in atmospheric physics that we are stuck with it."