Albert Bartlett is an emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. Bartlett regards the word combination "sustainable growth" as an oxymoron, since even modest annual percentage population increases will inevitably equate to huge exponential growth over sustained periods of time. He therefore regards human overpopulation as "The Greatest Challenge" facing humanity. He opposes the cornucopian school of thought (as advocated by people such as Julian Lincoln Simon), and refers to it as “The New Flat Earth Society”.

Bartlett has made two notable statements relating to sustainability: "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function," and his Great Challenge, "Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?".

Bartlett earned a BA degree from Colgate University and MA and PhD degrees in Nuclear Physics from Harvard University in 1948 and 1951, respectively.

Dr. Albert A. Bartlett joined the faculty of the University of Colorado, in Boulder, as a Professor of Physics in September, 1950. In 1969 and 1970, he served two terms as the elected Chair of the Faculty Council of all four campuses of the University of Colorado. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In 2001, Dr. Bartlett testified before the US Congress on energy policy. He was awarded one of the first annual M. King Hubbert Awards at the ASPOUSA Denver World Oil Conference in the fall of 2005.

In 2008, Prof. Al Bartlett was one of the winners of the The Population Institute 2008 Global Media Award. Dr. Bartlett has given his celebrated lecture, Arithmetic, Population and Energy over 1,600 times since September 1969 (average of once every 8.5 days).

Reprints of Prof. Bartlett's papers have been published by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in the book, The Essential Exponential! For the Future of Our Planet. The book was compiled by University of Nebraska physicists and features articles from Bartlett and other scholars on the topic of exponential human population growth and the increasing rate of natural resource consumption, which cannot continue unabated.

In the late 1950s, Professor Bartlett was an initiator of a citizens' effort to preserve open space in Boulder, Colorado, which ultimately led to the formation of The City of Boulder's Open Space Program. By 1999, the Program has purchased over 26,000 acres of land for preservation as public open space. Professor Bartlett is a founding member of PLAN-Boulder County, a City and County environmental group.

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