The Faces of Modern Meteorology

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Photos of the Month - February 2019

Audrey Lengel, Photo Archivist

Those of us in the northern hemisphere are in the throes of winter now, which means that many of us are bracing for snow storms and blasts of cold temperatures. One of my most visited websites around this time of the year is the National Weather Service, I start paying more attention to my favorite local meteorologists on twitter, and I can’t help perking up when the weather segment of my morning radio show comes on.

We have a host of meteorologists, both past and present, to thank for our ability to predict the weather and overall climate patterns. This month, we’re looking back at some photos of meteorologists from our Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, including Joanne Simpson, the first woman to earn a PhD in meteorology in the United States, Warren Washington, the first African American president of the American Meteorological Society, and Jerome Namias, who served as the Chief of the Extended Forecast Division of the US Weather Bureau for 30 years (1941-1971).

February is also Black History Month in the United States. Spend a little time learning about the Tuskegee Weathermen, meteorologists who supported the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, by browsing our teaching guide. We’ll also be featuring resources and information throughout the month on the contributions of African Americans to the physical sciences on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow along!

Syukuro Manabe, meteorologist who worked to develop global climate models, in his office at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab, at Princeton University, circa late 1970s.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Warren Washington, meteorologist, who is known for his work developing computer-generated climate models, also served as the first African American president of the American Meteorological Society.

Credit line: American Geophysical Union (AGU), courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Joanne Simpson, the first woman to earn a PhD in meteorology in the United States, in flight, performing a meteorological study, circa 1960.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Meteorologist Norman Phillips and computer scientist and mathematician Herman Goldstine in Princeton, NJ, working in front of the Institute for Advanced Study Computer, a precursor to the MANIAC, a computer used to build mathematical atmospheric models which led to more accurate weather predictions.

Credit line: Collier Magazine, courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Jerome Namias, Chief of the US Weather Bureau’s Extended Forecast Section in Washington, D.C. working out a long-wave wind problem on a glass map.

Credit line: Collier Magazine, courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Jule Charney, Norman Phillips, Glenn Lewis, N. Gilbarg, and George Platzman. The Institute for Advanced Study Computer is visible in the background.

Credit line: Photograph by Joseph Smagorinsky, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, gift of John M. Lewis