Professor Arthur C. Petersen (1970) is Chief Scientist at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, PBL); Professor of Science and Environmental Public Policy in the IVM Institute for Environmental Studies at the VU University Amsterdam; Visiting Professor in the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); and Research Affiliate in the Political Economy & Technology Policy Program of the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
At IVM, Petersen co-leads the research theme ‘Science and Values for Environmental Governance’ within the Department of Environmental Policy Analysis. This research theme focuses on the role of scientific knowledge and values for addressing complex environmental problems, and specialises in three key areas: communicating scientific uncertainty; values and sustainability transitions; and producing sustainability science.
Over the past years, Petersen’s research has mainly been directed at managing uncertainties related to scientific knowledge. Following his studies in physics and philosophy, he obtained a PhD degree in atmospheric sciences at the Utrecht University in 1999 (download 1st dissertation), and another PhD degree in philosophy of science at the VU University Amsterdam in 2006 (download 2nd dissertation). Currently, his research focuses on methodological questions pertaining to a wide range of models and on political science questions related to dealing with uncertainty in policymaking. Furthermore, over the past decade he has been active within the context of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - both as an expert and as a member of Dutch government delegations to IPCC meetings - to reflect on the assessment of uncertainties in climate science.
Besides his professional jobs, Petersen has been active within Pugwash (or Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs in full), an organisation that brings together, from around the world, influential scholars and public figures concerned with reducing the danger of armed conflict and seeking cooperative solutions for global problems such as those related to poverty alleviation and protection of the environment.
Methodology; political science; philosophy of science; science and technology studies; atmospheric sciences; scientific uncertainty; value-ladenness of assumptions; science–policy interface; sustainability assesment