I don't know anything about this, but just looking around the Web at some of his (alleged) stuff, I can see why they might not have wanted him around. Science is an enterprise, a global community, a way of being, and even though you may think someone's ideas completely wrong, and battle them intellectually with all that you have, you show basic respect for your peers and they show basic respect for you. This guy obviously lacked that, from what I see.
This 2009 commentary by Drapela is so cloying -- so, well, immature -- that it's difficult to believe that attitude didn't bleed into his department presence and work there. But even if it didn't, the commentary itself is enough.
It starts out:
My dear colleague Professor Hansen, I believe, has finally gone off the deep end.And this person wanted to be taken seriously at a university?? Come on. You can disagree with a colleague without being cloyingly disagreeable, but just this beginning shows someone who would rather wallow in the muck of the denialsphere than participate in the enterprise of science. (And remember, this is a director at NASA he's writing about.)
He goes on, with bits like these:
The “consensus” card. I feel sorry for this human being....He's worried about Professor Hansen. Sure.
Errant, capricious statements. 99% certainty on global warming? This sounds truly more like a senile senior citizen that a lucid scientist....
Ultimatums. Act now or you die. Right now. This very instant. Don’t think. You have 5 seconds to decide. I ask you, is this science or high-pressure salesmanship? But I cannot go on....
The fact that the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute apparently has the inability to use reason unsettles me. I’m worried about Professor Hansen....
What an ass.
And while it seems he'd rather be a denialist blogger than a member of a university, I can't see him making it even as one of those, given his writing skills.
Nor is his denialism very original -- see this PowerPoint presentation -- but just the standard cherry-picked, rehashed and stale, long-debunked crusty blobs of thought that ooze around and around that world. I'd fire him -- excuse me, decline to renew his contract -- just for that. But first I'd decline on the basis of his being a cloying smart ass, and not only that, but one who doesn't understand the science well enough to even be able to disagree with it intelligently.
He's a scientist. If the science is wrong, then he should write a paper. Or write a dozen of them. Based on what he thinks he knows, it should be like shooting fish in a oil barrel. He'd be famous, known forever more as the scientist who disproved manmade warming. That's how it's done up there.... In science, the only people who get to be unrepentant assholes are the geniuses. (And even then, most of them aren't.)
But I do have to say this: this is Nicholas Drapela's moment. If he plays his cards right he has a bright future, with the potential of gleaming riches ahead.
But it won't be in academia. Nor should it be.