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Interview of Thomas Malone by Ron Doel on 1995 January 4,Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,College Park, MD USA,www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/31418
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In this interview, Thomas Malone discusses his career in meteorology and geophysics. Topics discussed include: South Dakota School of Mines; weather forecasting; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Bernhard Haurwitz; Jim Austin; Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory; Charlie Brooks; Athelstan Spilhaus; George Wadsworth; Henry Houghton; World War II; Harry Wexler; Ken Spengler; Carl Rossby; John von Neumann; Compendium of Meteorology (1951); Bob Shrock; Cecil Green; Maria Telkes; Jule Charney; Taffy Bowen; Ragnar Fjørtoft; Dave Fultz; Victor Starr; Bob White; MIT Whirlwind computer; Norm Phillips; Lloyd Berkner; Harrison Brown; Walter Munk; Roger Revelle; Fred Whipple; Office of Naval Research; Earl Droessler; Alan Waterman; Jim McDonald; Travelers Insurance Companies; American Meteorological Society; Hurd Willett; Bob Miller; Walter Orr Roberts; Edward Teller; International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU); Will Kellogg; Sydney Chapman; climate change; Paul Klopsteg; Gilbert Plass; National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) "Blue Book".
...make clear that we're recording properly. I want to make sure of the volume level for you.
Well, the typical trial words are "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aide of their country."
Yes. And it is picking up just fine. [Tape off then on] Let me begin by saying that this is Ron Doel and this is an interview with Thomas F. Malone. Today is January 4, 1995, and we're making this recording in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. And I know that you were born on May 3, 1917 in Sioux City, Iowa, and that your parents are John Malone and Mary Horrigan [?] Malone — if I'm pronouncing that right correctly?
Yes. That's correct. Yes.
I wanted to learn more about your parents. I know that your father was a rancher by the time that you moved to South Dakota, but how did that move come about? How was it that the family was living in Iowa at the time of your birth?
All four grandparents were in Iowa. My paternal grandfather ran a fancy grocery store in Iowa. And my maternal grandfather was a boiler maker.
Railroad for the thing in the — back in the latter part of the 19th century. And my paternal grandmother had come from Ireland, and my maternal grandfather also came from Ireland.
So the roots are very clear.
And they settled in Iowa. And as a ex-patriot of Ireland, my maternal grandmother was very conscience of land, and when they opened up South Dakota — Western South Dakota for homesteading, she sent all her youngsters up there to file on the 160 acres, which was the way to do. And that was a popular thing to do in Iowa in those days. And my mother also went up to — quite independently, my father and her brother went up and piled on land, and proved-up [?] — they call it proved-up when you acquired the property rights.
And it was up in South Dakota that my father and mother really met. My father called on my mother up there while she was homesteading. And he courted her in South Dakota, and she happened to be back visiting her parents, were back in Sioux City when I was born. So our roots are deep in Iowa.
Yes. Yes. When you think about your early home life, do you recall a lot of reading in science as you were growing up? Was that something that was discussed often in your family?
Not a great deal. In fact, I read, but I read more than I knew. And I came across the word scientist, and I called it skintist. And I came across the word chemist, and I pronounced it shemist, and that indicates that there was not a lot of science talk in our home.
But my father was very interested in the weather because in those days there was no radio and no TV, no weather channel, and he had cattle, and he had to protect them for storms. Blizzards, which were not uncommon. And he had a little aneroid barometer and a very experienced eye for the sky so that he had an uncanny sense of impending bad weather. And so that stimulated my interest in weather. He also, incidentally, set up the first telephone line in Western South Dakota.
Oh is that right?
Barbed wire connecting his home with his cousin's home, about five miles away. It was in Western South Dakota, it was an innovation.
They used barbed wire, and they came to a gate, they had to put a little wire ball out so the hay racks could go underneath it. So, my brother went into telephone work, and I went into weather work. Now, his interest in weather was sort of stimulus, but my deep interest was the result of the impact of the drought, heat, per crops in our family life in the 1930s.
Mm-Hum. Right, you would have been a teenager during much of the Great Depression.
That's right. That's right. And a very powerful influence was the opportunity to observe the transition from horse drawn plows and binders and hand labor and hand shoveling to highly mechanical. During the time I was growing up, the country side changed from ranching to labor intensive agriculture, to machine.
And I watched four horses pull a binder — they called them, that bound the wheat up to — actually, I operated a combine, that did all that in one —
So that I became aware of the potential impact of what we now call economic productivity. And that first hand contact with the impact of economic productivity, as well as the impact of environment on — which the production of goods and services, really the farm produce.
Were really the roots of my current interest in economic development and environmental quality.
Mm-Hum. Right. I think we'll see that those interests develop over the course of your long career. I'm wondering, you've mentioned the development of mechanical tools and combines and so on, did you have a real interest in how things worked as you were growing up in the mechanical world.
Was that something that your father and your brother, you mentioned, shared?
Yes. You see, we were 40 miles from the nearest rail road and supplies, and if something went wrong, you had to fix it yourself. And so one became familiar. My brother and I took our old Dodge apart, and borrowed a magneto from the combine, and made it run again, and we understood what went on underneath the hood of an engine.
You had to, because if something went wrong, you had to fix it.
Yeah. How many brothers and sisters did you have?
I had two brothers. One died when he was only three, when I was less than a year old. And the other brother is still alive. One brother surviving, and one sister. There were three of us in growing up, because the other brother died at a very early age.
Mm-Hum. Yes. Yes. Was there religious training in your family? A strong religious commitment as you were growing up?
Yes, we were Catholic, as you might expect from Ireland origins, and Sunday Mass was regular thing, and eating a can of salmon on Friday instead of meat. And things like that, were just a part of our life.
Right. What kind of a house was it that you grew up in? I assume — but this was one that your parents built?
Yes. By the standards in those days, it was a quite a comfortable house. My father built it when they were married, and it had two bedrooms upstairs, and dining room, living room, kitchen, parlor downstairs. No plumbing.
No electricity. We started out with kerosene lamps, and finally got to the Coleman type of mantel light, which was a gigantic jump. And I watched the wind charged generators — batteries — come into the country. And after I left, the Rural Electrification System brought power, but there was power while I was growing up. That came after I left.
Right. Right. You mentioned in one of your writings that you'd been in a one roomed school house during the very early part of your training. Do you recall anything particularly from those year? Say, your recollections of what science was taught, before you entered high school?
Well, I had a remarkable teacher in the first and second grade. She read to us, and she was a cultured woman herself, in that part of the world. And I remember she gave me Peter the Rabbit. You know Peter the Rabbit?
Before I even went to school. And she also made me keep a daily climatological record. We had to draw a little sun or rain or whatever it was, so I happened to make a climatological record in first grade.
Was that you alone, or was the whole class doing that?
I was alone in that. There were my sister and I and two neighbor girls, and then there were never more than seven or eight in that little one room classroom.
And you listened to the other classes perform, and we all were in the same room, and when you were in the first grade, you heard the sixth and seventh graders going through their routine.
It was — I was very fortunate to have some excellent teachers in those early years.
None of your schooling, though, was done at home. All of it was —
The main part done in the —
We had traveling libraries. The state had an extension library. You could order a box full of books in the fall, and we had a — my father had a set of Dickens, so that I went through Dickens in the primary grades. Which is quite an interesting experience.
I can imagine. Were there other books that you can remember reading from those —
Oh yes, I read Ivan Ho, and The Deer Slayer, and all those books were — very little science in those days.
Classics of American and British Literature.
You were certainly familiar with. That's very interesting. When you got to high school, what do you recall of the things that you were taught? Was science then, more part of the curriculum?
No. Science was no part of my high school at all. I had a little algebra, of course, and geometry, and then I had to stay out of school two years, because we were in hard times in South Dakota in the '30s.
The price of crops had tumbled to less than one-fifth of what it had been in the late '20s. And there were no crops. One year we mowed down several hundred acres of the hated, but hearty Russian Thistles, so called, and mixed them with cotton seed cake, to keep the cattle alive. That's all we had. So, I had to stay out of school.
To help work on the farm?
Yea, well, we had no money. Not even a few dollars to pay board and room.
Okay. Because high school was in the —
High school was a way, yes. You had to go and board. And then your tuition was paid by the school district, but you had to provide your own room and board. And that was a — I went to Eastern South Dakota for my first two years, and I stayed out for two years. And then my mother was a very determined woman, and she knew that I had an interest in my surrounding environment. And so she insisted I go back and build up the knowledge base that I was scoping for.
And my most important activity in high school is debate. And those were the years we worked under the National Fransic [?] League, that Carl Munt [?] was the president though he was a professor at South Dakota at one of the colleges. A former senator.
Late senator. And we debated federal aid to education and socialized medicine and it elevated your concern to national topics, and everyone read the Literary Digest in those days. And I think that my most important invaluable high school experience was debate. We were fortunate, having good debate teams. And, as a matter of fact, I was not blessed with a good mathematics teacher, and I dropped the math course in high school, because I was afraid that I'd get a C in it, and I was frightened of mathematics. But I was very much interested in the weather, for the reason I've just described.
It's an enormous impact on our daily life. And so when I was ready to graduate from high school, I went up to the Black Hills, talked to the Weather Bureau man, Harley [?] Johnson.
And he said, "If you're really interested in this, forget about meteorology, but — for the moment — and get a good background in math and physics." And there's a good technical school there in the Black Hills.
The South Dakota State School of Mines.
Study math and physics and then take seriously to study of the atmosphere.
Which was good advice, and I did.
Did you have any other science in high school at all? Were there any physics or archeology?
No physics, no chemistry, no biology at all. No.
Was the library good in the school? Do you remember reading on any of those subjects on your own?
No, no. Not very little — my — when I entered school, I was behind most of my classmates, who'd had —
Speaking of the South Dakota, the School of Mines.
Yes. Because my classmates from Rapid City, or Sioux Falls, had all had math, and physics, and a smattering of chemistry.
So that if it hadn't been for this advice to study math and physics, I — in fact, I was dithering between law — among law and journalism and meteorology. And my future brother-in-law was studying engineering there, and it was a natural to go and room with him.
In Rapid City. But the most unlikely fit in my background in the technical school was a mismatch.
I imaging it must have been a bit of a culture shock going into the School of Mines for you.
Yes. Mm-Hum. They had courses, for example, in physics for preparatory courses, and mathematics preparatory make up courses. You know, to bring you up to speed.
I was fortunate encountering a very gifted math teacher who dispelled my apprehension about mathematics. Made it interesting, and logical.
Was this Guy Mines that you're referring too?
No. It was — oh his name escapes me.
Or Howard McLaury [?]?.
No. He was very important. Yes. He was chairman of the department. Roy Cook.
Roy Cook was the — I did study under both March and McLaury, but it was Roy Cook who introduced me to mathematics, and made it interesting and intelligible. And if I hadn't run into him, I would have flunked out the first year.
Yeah. What level of math were you — did you have when you were under Roy Cook?
That was just introductory algebra.
Just sort of the very fundamentals of mathematics.
What do you recall about his pedagogical style that you found to be — that engaged you at the time?
Well, he removed the mystery of mathematics, and made it appear a logical inquiry, and he led you along in a very reason fashion. Rather than saying "Here is the way it is." And developed things in first principles. And he was just — He later came back and was the Chairman of the Physics Department. So that he was more than just a mathematician.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. One question I had meant to ask you a moment ago, did you have a sense of meteorology as a career?
When you were making the choice? It was already —
That's why I went to the School of Mines, because I wanted to get into meteorology. But my advice was to set that aside until I'd acquired efficiency in mathematics and physics.
Right. Right. Quite often for people of that generation, it took some time for people to really understand that what was available as career options for people.
No, I was quite aware, but I'd read in the Reader's D — I mean the Literary Digest, which was the thing those days.
About the Weather Bureau, and I actually wrote a letter my Freshman year to D. M. Little, who was a Deputy Chief at the Weather Bureau in Washington.
And it was fortunate that I did, because he responded, but nothing happened. But after my first year I had an opportunity to work in a hospital, as a sort of an orderly for a dollar a day, and board and room — or room — I mean board. So the first week I was there, I went down to call on Mr. Johnson, at the Weather Bureau, and he said, "I'm glad you dropped in, I've been looking for you. Trying to get in touch with you." He said, "Mr. Little sent me a telegram and said you needed an emergency assistant out there to fill in, and this young man Malone had written to me, and why don't you look him up and see if you can get him interested?" So I — just a chance in congress, so I was — gave up my job of a dollar of day, and for the principal sum of four dollars a day or something like that. Quadrupled my income in one fell swoop. So it's because I had just written to someone in Washington whose name I had picked up in the Literary Digest.
Mm-Hum. That's interesting. Do you remember what you wrote to him about, in particular?
No, it was a — he was describing opportunities in meteorology.
And, so I wrote to him and said, "Hey, this is what I'd like to get into." And the amazing thing was he remembered and when an opportunity for taking on an emergency system came up, he recalled our correspondence, and —
That's very interesting. Yeah.
It's had a very profound effect, because I worked my way through college as an emergency assistant in the Rapid City Weather Bureau every summer. And when I finished college, I spent a summer in Bismarck, North Dakota, again as an emergency assistant, before going back to MIT.
Right. Right. And that was what helped pay the tuition that you had.
Yes. Yes, yes.
We had NYA — National Youth Administration, in those days. And I worked as an assistant in the Physics Department in my last two years. And I did janitor work and everything.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Any — many of that generation certainly had to cover the basis in that way. When you were the emergency weather assistant, what were the activities? What was the daily routine like for you, when you did that work?
To get up about five o'clock and go down to the weather bureau, and go up on the roof and read the temperature, and the wet bulb and dry bulb thermometer, and look at what they called the triple registry, which recorded the wind and the direction and speed and the rainfall, if any. And read the barometer, and code that in a word code and run down to the Western Union office and file that, which was sent to Washington then.
And then a couple of hours later, those same messages from all around the country came back and you had to decode those and plot them on a weather map. And then the meteorologist came in and studied those and made his forecast.
And so it was record keep — observing, and record keeping, and preparing charts. Oh, the record keeping was meticulous. You had to be absolutely right, they checked everything. And answering queries and telephone calls, and things of that kind.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. So was that — it sounds like it was a long day, then. From five in the morning until the afternoon?
And sometimes when they always took observations about 11:30 in the evening, and on more than one occasion, I would go back and take that late evening observation.
It was very interesting. You had time off in the afternoon. A few hours. So, it wasn't from 5:30 to 11:30 every day. It was not hard work.
Right. Once the data came in, from the other stations and your own station, how, then, did the station display this data? How were the forecasts made from it? Were you using the notation of weather fronts?
And what the (???) school and others had developed?
That's right. You would plot — it was called plotting — you'd enter on a map the weather measurements all around the country, and connect them by isobars. There wasn't much frontal analysis in those days, they were just beginning in the '30s.
The air mass and frontal analysis for the Norwegian School was just beginning to come.
It was Carl Rosby [?] who brought that into the Weather Bureau in the '30s.
And it hadn't infiltrated into Rapid City when I was there, but you drew the highs and the lows, and followed them, and looked at the rain fall patterns.
Right. Right. I figured that probably had not reached South Dakota.
But I was just curious how much information — what kinds of —
I wrote about fronts at MIT, not South Dakota.
Right. Okay. Okay. Good. Were there any other things that were particularly memorable to you when you were at the other School of Mines? I'm curious about the general curriculum that you went through. How much exposure you had to meteorology as part of the curriculum, physics, and —
No. No. There was a — I took a degree in general engineering, with emphasis on math and physics. And I took more courses in mathematics and physics than the regular engineer with — it was a general course.
And I — one time was enrolled in metallurgical engineering, as distinguished from meteorology. But I didn't like advanced chemistry, and so I shifted to general engineering, and besides, that was where I was aiming to go.
Right. Do you recall — I'm sorry, go ahead.
I'm curious, when you were taught physics, then, do you recall hearing anything of the quantum revolution? Which had, by then, occurred about ten years earlier.
Was that anything at all that had reached the undergraduate curriculum?
No. We were just getting into atomic theory, and I can remember my department head, Carl Watson, saying someone had been in and talked about getting energy out of atoms. And Watson understood that, in a way in which a physicist would. He was actually a Ph.D. in physics. Of course, physics was different in the '30s than it is today.
Certainly. He would have been in the classical physics of the time very much then.
Yeah. So he understood about the energy in an atom. And, of course, it was a mystery how you'd get that out, but he was aware of all these things. So I had just a glimmer of that.
But no quantum mechanics at all.
Right. Was there much experimentation in the — was there a physics laboratory where experiments were done?
Yes, there was a physics laboratory. In fact, I was an assistant. I learned more setting up experiments for students than I ever learned taking those — running those experiments. I mean, as a student, I learned more as a lab instructor, than I ever did as a student in physics.
It was a marvelous experience. I spent two years as an assistant in laboratory, where the students did their experiments. All classical physics.
Right. Right. And did you have much geology, at the time?
Yes. It was — geology was a very prominent subject in the Black Hills.
For an engineering school. And so, yes, geology was very interesting. My biggest disappointment was the biology program. Biology consisted, as I took an introductory course, and my first big quiz all they did was to ask you to list the parts of a grasshopper. And it struck me as being such a descriptive course, there's no challenge, no science to it.
So it was very much roach memorization of structure. Yeah.
And I look back, it would have been very interesting to have had some contact with biology, that field has exploded even more profoundly than geophysics, I would say, in the last 40 years.
Yeah. Was there geophysics of any sort, taught at South Dakota at the time?
No. By that name, it was not taught.
It was geology.
Yeah. I was just wondering if you've had any exposure to, say, seismic methods, or geophysical prospecting?
That wasn't part of the curriculum at all, during that time?
Okay. And I suspect I know the answer to this one, too, but was there any — in any of the geology class did Vaginares [?] ideas ever come up? Were you exposed at all to Continental Drift, or any grand —
It was much concentrated on local geology as opposed to any of the broader scheme.
A lot on palio-biology.
Because the bad lands were nearby, and it was a treasure troll of —
Right. You had such a good exposures right there.
Did you have geology camp? Was that part of the experience?
Yes. That's right. Every summer. Or not, everyone went through a geology camp.
Made a trip to the bad lands.
Right. How long did that last? When you did that?
About a week.
I'm just curious how that worked. Were you exposed to a fresh area and then asked over the course of that week to develop an interpretation of its geological history?
No. No, it was more hunting for fossils.
Is that right?
Okay. Because I'd heard from late King Hubbard and a few others about how Brits operated the course at Lake Baraboo [?] in Wisconsin, which was apparently a rather different experience.
It was much later before I met King Hubbard.
And learned all of those things.
Right. Okay. I'm curious —
Excuse me. I'm going to get some cough drops, if you don't mind.
Please. Let me pause this here.
Okay. I think we were — a moment ago before we paused, you were mentioning at the end of your time at the School of Mines, clearly then, you faced the question of where to go for you graduate study. Were there any other choices that stood for a while in your mind, besides MIT?
Yes. I was interested in philosophy, and my options were a fellowship at Catholic University in Washington, DC.
Since I had joined the Knights of Columbus as a Catholic, and they offered an attractive graduate fellowship. And I took an exam, and got as far as an alternate to a fellowship at CU, but my department head, said, "You're interested in Meteorology? There are two schools. One's is Caltech, and one's MIT."
And for reasons I still don't understand, he said, "You pick one, and I will support you and probably get you in, but we're not going to do both."
And one of my mother's old friends was a very wise and world traveled woman, Orfa [?] Hasbies [?]. We had dinner, and my mother was up visiting me, and she said, "Oh, you're thinking about MIT?" Boston Tech, she called it. "You can go to Boston Tech, and that's the place to go." She knew Boston Tech, she didn't know Caltech.
And I was impressed with her sadasity [?], and so I went back and told Professor Watson it was MIT. So, I applied there. And they gave me a fellowship, not an alternate.
For $300.00. And I wrote back and said I can't come on that, I need $600.00. And they said, "Okay, $600.00." So, the choice was philosophy. Graduate work and philosophy, which I had no preparation for, really.
I was wondering about how many — did you have any classes in philosophy at the school?
No, no, none.
So this was your own independent reading, then.
Do you recall what you were reading, which philosophers at the time?
No. I didn't know Immanuel Kant existed, for example.
But I thought that it was a — I did a lot of debate work in college too.
And published (???) Original Oratory, they called it. And so — and I did take more than the ordinary number of courses in the social sciences and humanities. Although the humanities was very, very meager. There were economics and sociology, and things of that kind.
But as an engineering school, I missed a bunch of the liberal arts education I wish I had, had.
But I had a feel for the — that was important.
And since I couldn't get up there, I thought, "Well, why not plunge in, and try and do it at a place?"
And since Knights of Columbus had this fellowship thing, I applied to that.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Okay. That's interesting. That's very interesting. You realize there really are forks in the road that we face.
Did — when you were — on the other hand, when you were thinking of Caltech and MIT, did you have any other access to information about either school? Were there any types of publications that you were able to see? Did you know, for example, which people were at the different schools? Or was that entirely something that came later?
No. No, it was Orfa Hasbies.
Just her suggestion was —
Saying, Tom, if you can go to Boston Tech, go.
And she probably had no awareness of Caltech, and its immanence.
As a matter of fact, there were two schools which offered, and in retrospect, was all due difference to Caltech's immanence. The meteorology program is much sounder at MIT, where Carl Rosby had founded.
And the program out at Caltech was under the ages of a man named Irving P. Crick.
Who was a great entrepreneur. More of an entrepreneur than a scholar.
Rosby, on the other hand, was a world leader, and when I went there he'd been succeeded by Spera [?] Peterson, who was also a very distinguished and internationally recognized meteorologist, so that — and people like Herb Willet [?] and so that it was really solid at MIT. And I thought denigrating the program Caltech, Orfa Hasbies' advice was wiser than even she realized.
Yes, yes. I think that's quite true. And you had arrived at MIT virtually on the verge of the start of World War II, American involvement.
What were your first impressions of both MIT and the department, once you made that [???].
Well, I was kind of apprehensive, because I was in a class. There were people there from Tufts [?] and Harvard and Williams, and all those Ivy League Schools.
And even my first year there was a large contingent of Air Force Cadets were taking — they were signed up. So, I ran into some pretty high powered youngsters, and I was apprehensive whether I could hold my own with my little South Dakota School of Mines background. But I found out that they pulled their pants on one leg at a time, and in spite of their high powered background, that it was — the background in South Dakota was better — stood up better than I had anticipated.
Your experience in the physics and the mathematics, and the fundamentals?
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
That you needed for the course work at MIT. Do you remember what the curriculum was that you had in the first year or two at MIT?
Yes. There was a course in descriptive meteorology, which Herb Willet taught.
And there was a course in physical meteorology that Henry Houghten [?] taught.
Right. Was he then chair of the department?
Or did that come later?
Spera Peterson —
Was then still chairman.
Yes. And he taught a course in weather forecasting. He'd written a book — a famous book.
He taught a course in that and Delbur Kylie taught a course in instrumentation. And while I was there, Bernard Horrowitz came, and taught the course in mathematical physics. Dynamics In Meteorology, they called it.
And then there was the laboratory, of course. And we spent all afternoon doing what I'd done at the weather bureau, plotting maps, and drawing isobars, and drawing fronts.
Doing air mass and frontal analysis.
Right. I'm curious, when you had — say the course with Bernard Horrowitz, he was interested — becoming interested at that time, with the heating from above problem in atmosphere.
Were you exposed to the research problems very directly in those early graduate —
We were so involved in those years with training people to be weather forecasters.
Right. Of course MIT and Chicago were among the big places in training.
Yeah. MIT, Chicago, UCLA, NYU, were the — were pressed into preparation of Air Force Officers and Navy — Air Force Cadets and Navy Officers, so that the emphasis was on training weather forecasters and not on research.
I was impressed into taken the second section of Bernard Horrowitz's dynamic meteorology. And it was an awesome experience to get up there in front of 400 students and 10250 was the big classroom at MIT.
And realize that every minute you wasted up there was multiplied several hundred times. But I learned more in having to teach, and I can remember on day I went and started to the classroom and I couldn't complete the derivation of a formula. And I didn't know what I was going to do, but I ran into Bernard on the way, and I said, "Bernard, I've got a problem. I can't make this step." And he showed me how to do it, and I went ahead, and it was a hairbreadth escape. You know, classroom disaster. But, well, I learned a lot.
I'm sure. Did you have much after hour socializing with the faculty during those years? Or was it — had it gotten so hectic with the war-time schedules that that didn't often happen?
Yes, there was a reasonable amount. I got — and not a lot of it, but it was — I would say there was more interaction between the faculty and students in those days than there is now.
Jim Austin, who came from New Zealand, and was one of the young stars there, he was very warm, very friendly, and talked to me and helped me over some of the bumps in the road. Learning how to analyze maps and make forecasts.
We had to make forecasts every day.
Analyzed the maps, do the fronts, and then prepare the 12, 24, 36 hour forecasts.
And it was kind of a mystery to me, but Jim made it — Jim as a Roy Cook in Mathematics, helped me over the hurdle of feeling comfortable about how you go about making them.
It was all subjective forecasts, in those days.
Yeah. Exactly. Was there much discussion about the [???] — how one did the forecasts, of that sort?
I'm curious what you recall from how the debates seemed to be at that time.
Well, it was a qualitative reasoning.
And you would spend all two hours analyzing the map, half hour of making the forecast, and then there would be — every day they had what they call a map discussion. And that's the instructor described what he saw as a — from a qualitative understanding of the physics thing, and the concepts of air mass analysis of fronts, and what we call psychogenesis, that was the — what we used for instabilities.
So that you went through the whole thing, putting the date on the chart, preparing the forecast, and then there'd be a group discussion led by the instructor, and that was every day.
Mm-Hum. And it seems that a major component of that kind of qualitative forecasting was part remembering how early your patterns had developed. It was that it was drawing on one's experienced recollections of similarities in [???]
In fact, Rick [?] at Caltech, had analog forecasting.
He had a certain number of types. And that's really what it is, is how can you draw upon the sequence of events giving some kind of initial state to —
How did it work out in the past? That was — experience was the prime tool of weather forecasters in those days. What you could carry around in your head.
I wonder what your impressions were of the personalities of people like Herb Willet, who, of course, was one of the leaders of that type of forecasting.
Well, we viewed them with a great deal of respect. It was an excellent — the faculty commanded real respect, and there was no question we sort of revered them.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Right. Of course, at that time, there existed a separate department of meteorology at MIT. How much —
No. It was —
Was it still a division?
— a division of the [???] of Engineering.
I see. Okay. That's right, that's right. How much exposure did you have to other areas of MIT at the time? For example, the physics.
Very little. Very little. We were so preoccupied. As soon as I finished a year, they made me an instructor, to train these large numbers. So our focus was just sharply on preparing weather forecasters.
So we had very little interaction.
So that also affected your own graduate training, then, clearly.
Going as far as having a chance to —
I have an oral part of my doctoral program. I went over and I did my minor in mathematics, took veteran analysis, and advanced calculus.
And I tried to get some advanced physics, but that was not for me, the theoretical physics was not my cup of tea, and we were so — so much of our time was spent on teaching, that I tried to take a course in theoretical physics at the same time, and there just weren't enough hours in the day to really master it.
That's what I was thinking as you were saying it. John WP was there at MIT at the time.
Yes. Yes. Yes, John was there.
Right. Did you have much contact with Blue Hill Observatory at Harvard during those years?
Yes. Charlie Brooks from Harvard was in charge of the Blue Hill Observatory, and they had a chapter of the American Meteorological Society, with — oh, I guess it was twice monthly meetings.
And Charlie was the — one of the prime movers in the American Meteorological Society in those days, so that we became quite aware of that. And years later I spent a lot of time up there. I was working on the Compendium [?].
Yes. What were your impressions of the work that Harvard was doing in climatology and meteorology at the time?
I wasn't very aware of it, and in those days I would say that it was not world class.
Brooks himself was a scholar, of course, but he was a scholar in a very primitive stage of meteorology. And there's a — when Richard Goody replaced Charles Brooks as the director of the observatory, the whole tone of atmospheric sciences at Harvard, underwent a pronounced change. Now they have a very distinguished group there, but it paled, compared to MIT, without trying to be superior about it.
Yeah. Yeah. I understand. Was there much contact between Charlie Brooks and those at MIT during those years, in the 1940s?
Not a great deal, no, no. He was a — he had his — he, of course, he'd been teaching it at Harvard.
But in my narrow view, Harvard wasn't really in the main stream at all.
I don't think I would call it a narrow view. I'm wondering, do you also have any contact with Harland True Stetson, who — by the time you were there was at —
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. My best recollections are the several seminars he gave.
He was a very dynamic speaker. Exciting, I thought. A little bit flamboyant.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Did — I'm wondering what you recall about the — what you knew of his research interests, at the time. Clearly he was interested in the broad range of interactions in geophysics.
No. I was — I couldn't even — I can't even remember the details. As much as I remember it, the personality.
But what he was talking about was — did not penetrate very deeply into my consciousness.
Yeah. Okay. And there wasn't any other sustained contact you had with Stetson?
Did you come to know the research that was going on at NYU during your early years at MIT, as a student?
Yes. They had a — Ethel Spillhouse [?] was the chair of their department.
And they also had a large group down there. And I knew the people there quite well, and visited there. And they had a major project down there preparing world weather maps, and some of the people I knew at MIT joined that project, and I interacted with them so that — yes, we had a fair amount of interaction, and Joe Caplan [?], who was in charge of that —
— activity at UCLA. I remember my first contact with Sigma Si [?], Joe was the Sigma Si lecturer.
And he lectured at Harvard.
And the first time I'd ever heard of Sigma Si, and it was a —
And he gave a splendid lecture on Dagaurd [?] Caplan Lines, which was his pride and joy, of course.
Right. Well, he was running the border between astronomy — astrophysics and meteorology in those early years.
Yes. He was basically a physicist.
I'd say. But a very knowledgeable individual. Very charismatic.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. I've heard that from a number of people.
Yeah. A profound effect by later life. A very profound effect.
Okay. I'd like to hear about that, when you feel it's an appropriate time to bring that up.
Just to be sure, when you mentioned the NYU project with Ethel Stanton Spillhouse, that was during the war years that that was going on?
The work there?
There was a major project that was sponsored by the Air Force, Air Weather Service, to prepare a series of maps and it was partly at MIT project. George Wadsworth [?] who was in the mathematics department, and Joe Bryan.
Also in mathematics. And it was a very interesting project. One that I got involved in later they were trying to develop ways of forecasting, and George understood the Chevy [?] Shep [?] Ponomules [?], which you can take a pattern and express it in co-efficiency for these Ponomules.
And they put those on IBM cards and then they were used to forecast long range — that was the intent was to make long range forecasts, and also they were, of course, enormously interested in preparing for the invasion, and they wanted to have the best possible series of maps. So it was a very large, very large project.
It was not a particular interest of Spillhouse's, but Gardener Emmins was the individual.
A very wonderful man.
That's right. That's right.
It came under his ages.
Right. Well, Spillhouse, of course, at the time, had set NYU's program up as meteorology and oceanography, and was of course, much of his work at the time was in oceanography.
Extraordinary broad gaged individual, Ethel was, as you well know.
As a matter of fact, I have a clear recollection when they announced the space program, it was Eisenhower and Spillhouse. I've forgotten who the other person was, but he was involved in it. He had a fantastic reach.
He certainly did. And a very large role in development of oceanography in this country.
And I'm going to be very curious to hear your perceptions as we move into the post war era. At some point during your MIT — your graduate years, you were sent to Cairo, in Egypt?
How did that come about?
Well, I felt a little bit diffident being at MIT, training people and sending them out around the world on the arms forces, and sitting there at MIT.
And I guess Henry Houghten realized my frustration, and, anyway — I don't know how it happened, but I was asked to take an assignment with a civilian consultant to the Air Weather Service. And I was told that I would go to Manila, and participate in the evasion of Japan. So I got all the maps I could find, and studied up the meteorology and the forecasts of the Eastern Asia.
And probably knew as much about that as anyone in the country at the time. And so they sent me down to Ashfield, North Carolina, where the headquarters of the Air Weather Service is.
And when I got down there, someone said, "You know you're going to Cairo, don't you?" So they were — the reason is that they were setting up an alternate supply route across Northern Africa.
And they needed an upper level center in Cairo at John Payne Field. And my task was to get that up and running. And so I flew to Casablanca. Flew across in the old DC3s to C45s, I guess they called them.
To Cairo, and we were just getting it nicely mounted with the Colonel Guy Ghostswitch [?], and I — and they dropped the atomic bomb on everyone. And I had to wait my turn because all the other —
— had priority over me.
When did you get back?
Oh, I got back in August, I guess. Or, I got back at about — before September. I was one of the last ones to leave, I guess, because I was the most recent.
People had been there a long time.
Right. Right. Was Harry Wexler also at MIT during the years that you were there?
No, no, he was not. He had been at MIT, of course.
But he was mainly involved with a program at Snoot Field.
There was in addition to the universities, they had an in-service training program at Snoot Field.
Which was a big Air Force Base. And I guess he did lecture at the University of Chicago, too. But Snoot Field was the one that I identified the most closely. Identify Snoot Field with Harry Wexler.
He was in charge of that program out there. He later became the assistance chief for research at the Weather Bureau.
Under [???], yes.
I wanted to ask your impressions of how the Weather Service developed in the post war years. I'm curious, were there any other graduate students with you that were particularly memorable for your own career?
Ed Brooks, Charlie's son.
Took his doctoral exam at the same time I did, and we were very good friends. And I got well acquainted with Ken Spangler, who is now the Executive Director of Americas, I guess. The American Meteorological Society.
And Ed Rains, was in one of my classes, and formed a very good friends with Ed, he was a wonderful, wonderful individual. And Ken was the top forecaster in our class. He just had a knack for this. He was an intuitive forecaster.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Rosby already — by the time you were in graduate school — was emphasizing the importance of the link between meteorology and oceanography. Do you recall much discussion of that at MIT?
No. No. No.
Or how others reacted to —
[laughs] My strongest impression of Rosby was watching him draw maps.
Which seemed out of character for a man of his particular interests, but he felt he should know about how you did this.
And at that time, MIT had an experimental unit in the extended — what they call extended range forecasting.
And it was set up under Rosby's edges, and —
Jerry Namius was the individual in charge of it.
And they operated — actually made forecasts at MIT, and then eventually it was moved on to Washington, but I think it was Rosby's perception of what could be done, and Jerry Namius' skill in putting it all together, that made that a very interesting project.
Which was a research undertaking that was so close to forecasting, which was our just overwhelming —
Interest and great occupation is a good word for it. I'm wondering if during — again thinking particularly of the period before you got your science doctorate in 1946, was there much discussion about the fundamental basis of meteorology, that the role that physics had and would play in the discipline, compared to the more synoptic approaches —
— between —
Yes. That's what physical meteorology was about that, and dynamic meteorology.
Exactly. I'm wondering what interaction there was that you recall among the students and faculty on that issue? Was that something that you had time — given the other demands on your time, to debate amongst yourselves or was it an issue?
No. No, it was not.
How did you come to your research problem for your thesis?
Well, I did my thesis under — I started a thesis under Peterson, and he left to go —
— to England.
Let me just —
— Alan Richardson's basic notion of using the non [???] equations to —
At that time —
And we being Peterson, you mean. You at [???] generally.
In general at the department. And at that time we were dealing with those non [???]by protobation [?] methods.
And there was no high speed computers to permit you to do integration by finite difference methods.
That was Von Noyman and Rosby's contribution. But we were aware of what Richardson had tried and during World War I [???] the ambulance drivers.
And so that, yes, it was quite clear, I mean, that there was a science underlying this. There were certainly physical laws that governed the behavior of the atmosphere, and we were aware that they were being pecked away at in bits and pieces and I guess there was a — oh, I probably really didn't have the grand vision at all, that we were groping in that direction.
People like Rosby and Von Noyman were just people that really — Peterson was not did not have a bent like that. His kinematics was his forte rather than the dynamics.
Right. Right. Mm-Hum.
Horwasetters [?] to but —
But that wasn't quite his bent either.
The field wasn't ready for it. I mean, Richardson had tried it.
Didn't work. [laughs]
You were saying about your own piece of research for your dissertation.
Oh, it was suggested by Bernard Horrowitz, this study of the inter darnel pressure variations in the atmosphere.
I got reams of data from Lynn Brier in the US Weather Bureau. And punched a martian calculator for months, and months, and months, too. It wasn't — I don't think in retrospect it was very inspiring.
You didn't feel it so even at the time that you were involved?
No, it was interesting, and —
But I didn't have a great sense of a break through that would have been nice.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Yeah. The solid contribution.
One of the interesting things about your career at MIT is the degree to which your interests were already broad in the years that you were on the faculty through 1955. You've listed at one point that you were interested in the relation of climate to building construction, of course the main research the development of statistical methods, and also industrial meteorology. And I wanted — I'm curious first, how to take each development in turn. How you developed your contact with Don Freedman, I believe it was? On meteorology and building instruction. How did that come about?
Well, he was a student at UCLA, as I recall, and we had a summer program on applied climatology.
And we had people like Helmet Lansburg —
— come up. And Woody Jacobs came up. They were people in the — doing some creative thinking on how you relate to environmental knowledge in industry and business.
Mm-Hum. This is after World War II?
Yes. That's right. And that's how that, that, they got started.
That's very interesting.
Don came back and he was one of my students, and I liked him and he was interested in what I was doing, and so he decided he wanted to stay and get his doctorate there.
So he became one of your doctoral students at MIT.
Yes, yes, that's right.
That's all very interesting. How did those sessions — the summer sessions, get organized? Who had — who was principally responsible for all that?
That particular one, I was the primary organizer of it. Got the people like Helmet Lansburg and [???] in [???].
And there was a great deal at interest in — and I would say that Rosby stimulated this. The problem was that there had been a large cadre of very bright young people entered the field of meteorology during the war as weather forecasters.
And there was the re-training, what are they going to do when they get out? And Rosby felt that, well, of course there is research, but there was so many of them that he felt that there was — there were avenues linking weather with the business and industry. This, obviously, is affected by them.
Mm-Hum. Indeed. Yeah.
And this was very close to my heart, because, as we've described my contact with the impact of weather —
— agriculture was a lasting impression, so that this is something that I thought very interesting.
Do you recall any particular discussions with Rosby on that issue?
No. No. My cont — my discussion with Rosby came much later. I don't know how Rosby's interest in this was communicated to me, it comes somehow. And it wasn't Rosby alone it was in the air.
I think Rosby was the most farsighted of the people but —
That's very interesting. Who else was sympathetic at MIT with this emphasis?
Henry Houghten was, but he was — you know, he was an engineering and physicist, basically. So he was not really interested in — I guess of the MIT people, I guess I was probably the most interested in this of anyone in the faculty.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. One question I meant to ask you a moment ago, too. Did you consider any other career options besides staying at MIT?
That once you were offered the assistance professorship that seemed very much what you wanted to do.
Yes. And then I got a tenure.
And, you know, that's —
Which came very quickly, too.
Well, tenure at MIT is, you know —
It's a good place to — yeah. No. I meant right after the war when —
When you were still getting your doctorate and —
I became very much interested in the application to building, housing, and construction. And that's where Don and I did our — we got involved with a couple of brilliant Hungarian architects. Twin brothers. The Olgar brothers. And we had a project with the School of Architecture in [???], it was Architecture City Planning, is what it was, and we were studying the impact of solar radiation on the livability of a building, and wind an all those things. And it was my guess mart really post war contact with research, it was very much applied research —
— rather than fundamental research.
I had — later I got into it a little more, and I had some contact with Norwood [?] Wiener [?].
That came a little later.
In the 1950s, do you mean, or even later?
Yeah. 1950s, yeah.
Okay. Good. That's — I find that very interesting. Were people — were — say the Hungarian brothers, that you mentioned, and others, also part of the summer program that you had organized, or was that much more —
No, no, no, no. That was an MIT project that went on. Following that summer, as a matter of fact.
Yeah. Okay. And at the summer symposia, the summer sessions it was mostly meteorologists who were involved in it? Or was it a mix of people.
A mix. A mix. A mix of people.
Or, I would say, more meteorologists, because one of our objectives was to broaden their purviews so that they would have some feel for the kind of applications which we felt had a potential for employment prospects.
Mm-Hum. Yes. Yes. The main line of research, clearly that you were — that — I shouldn't say the only, because you were working on quite of few at the time, but statistical methods of weather forecasting became one of the main research areas.
That you were involved with at MIT. You mentioned that some of this was coming out of the early war effort and that George Wadsworth had already been involved during the —
Yes. That's right.
Who else within the department became particularly interested in this type of work? I'm wondering in general how receptive and interested the department — the other members of the department were to this line of research?
I don't —
Did any —
I don't think terribly interested. I had more interaction with George Wadsworth and Joe Bryan.
And not a lot with Norwood Wiener, but this was at a very issue of time series, you know, when he was working with the stationary time series?
He was [???] stationary time series.
So that this was post Compendium.
Oh. Okay. So after '51.
That much of that work was in. I noticed a number of your articles from even 1950 were considering this issue.
Oh yes, yes. Yeah.
Beginning to talk about those statistical applications.
That's the thing I got into after the Compendium era.
Right. Okay. And I'm just curious in a general way, during that part of your career, how much contact you had with other people at MIT like Raymond Hyde? Was he someone that you had —
Not very much contact, no.
In fact, I don't know that Raymond Hyde was there in those days. I don't think he —
I'll have to double check. I thought he was.
I think he came later.
Perhaps it was.
Perhaps it was. Did you have much contact with the people who were there in geology, what became the more solid earth part of the Earth Sciences at MIT?
Bob Shrock was — we were in the same building [sound of tearing paper, hard to hear what's being said [???] Radiation Lab we —
When they established a separate department, we left the aeronautical building 32 and moved over to the old radiation lab.
And Bob Shrock and I remember [???] some of the geologists.
Patrick Hurly[?], I think was the [???]
Yes. Yes. Yes. Patrick Hurly. Yes. Yes. Yes.
And there's an Englishman. What was his name? We lived in the Bexley Hall. And there's a national community there.
And so, yes, there was quite a bit of interaction. As you know, ultimately, geology and geophysics —
— all became combined.
Once the green bequest was given to —
Right. Yeah. Mm-Hum. In fact, the green bequest — as I'm sure you know — is Arthur Shock's. He is the one who listened patiently to Cecil Green and talked with him and stimulated his interest in that.
Mm-Hum. Yes. Yes. Cecil Green refers to him as one of my most expensive friends.
[laughs] I can believe that. One of my nicest moments when I was board secretary was to give the citation Shepherd to Cecil Green and his wife, who got joint.
Ida, yeah, yeah. The public Welfare Medal.
That was a very — they are very — they were just a wonderful couple. I think he's just a prince of a man.
I agree. I agree.
It's tragic that she had that accident. I did some work with Hoyte [?] Hottle [?], chemistry.
He's a very, very well-known chemist. He was interested in solar houses. His interest so much went out and bought it at first class chemist. And we used to have a very nice relationship.
He was particularly interested in photovoltaic [?] processes, do you mean?
What was it then?
No, it was the storage of solar heat.
This woman, Maria Telcus [?], was a little bit unusual type, and she had designed a house down in — I think it was Datum [?], or someplace like that. A solar house. And they used Deglauber [?] salt as to store the solar energy. In other words, they brought the solar energy down and solar energy was transferred into the vault where the Deglauber salt —
— you went through a phase change, so that you could put a lot of heat into it. And then you drew it out at night.
It was supposed to be operated on the phase change, but they put some — it wasn't working out, so they just put a lot of Deglauber salt in there. You got it out by specific heat, rather than by phase change.
And Hoyte was a brilliant individual. Very nice guy. I'd kind of contact him by phone, very stimulating.
He still — he still does. I see him up at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. I guess when National Academy has their meetings over there. He must be in his 90s, but I think he's still alive. The last time I was up there he was.
And he — we always greet each other very warmly. A brilliant man.
He really was — he was really taking a scientific look at the kind of thing that Maria Telcus was trying to do.
He was approaching it much more scientific, she was going to do something to get this house going. Demonstrate it.
And he was interested in the physics and chemistry of the energy processes.
Back in those days at MIT, did you find it relatively easy to cross over the disciplinary lines, to do this sort of work?
I felt it was. We lived in Bexley Hall, which was a lot of different people in there.
And the personal interactions were relatively easy, and natural. And so I never felt that MIT was so rigidly compartmentalized, just a usual image of a university cursive departmentalization.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Yeah. I want to talk about the Compendium in just a moment, but I'm just curious before we turn to that, did you have any involvement at all in the thunderstorm project that came through Chicago?
You were aware that it was going on, of course?
Oh, yes. Yes. Yes. That was [???] Byers [?] and Lou Baton [?], and Roscoe Bram [?]. Roscoe's down here in North Carolina now.
Oh, I didn't know that.
Yeah. And Byers is still alive.
Is that right?
He had cancer.
That was one the big ones, early.
Yeah. How aware were you, too, of the Von Noyman project? The Computation Project, as it began to develop in the late '40s?
Well, when I finished the Compendium, I did some consulting with the geophysics branch of the Office of Naval Research.
And they were — I think they were one of the sponsors in that project, so that —
— I became aware that Von Noyman visioned a whole building full of computers, you know. And so I knew that it was going on. I was not a part of the Von Noyman Project.
In fact, there was a little competition there between statistical techniques and dynamic —
I was going to ask that, right.
— and I remember someone staged a debate in Washington between Phil Thompson and, and Phil Thompson was one of the —
— brilliant mathematical physicists and I was supposed to be spokesman for statistical methods and —
Tell me about that, I'm — when did that debate occur?
Oh, I would guess — well, I was still at MIT, so probably '52 or '53, something like that.
So just past the Compendium and —
And as a matter of fact, I also had some kind of encounter with Jewel [?] Charney [?] out of Seattle.
Along the same lines, and Jewel and I became very close. In fact, Phil and I are — have always been good friends, and it was, you know, it was just an intellectual debate.
And in the end, I would say that the things that we were working with did not catch hold as well as the [???] methods. You know the physics.
I think that with Ed Aranses' [?] development of the Chaos Theory, that I always have the feeling that if I hadn't gotten involved in other things that there was some real oar in all that crud that could have been mined.
And someone will mine it yet, but anyway, the logic of taking the governing equations and manipulating them is unsalable.
Logical way to go.
Yeah, yeah. But as you say, the statistical method is quite powerful and that this is an enormous amount of —
Yes, I can remember taking a presentation down in New York at an American Meteorological Society meeting of our maps of actual predictions, and they worked probably better than the primitive dynamical numerical predictions.
[???] at time, and what you had published in '55, if I'm recalling in the proceedings of the NAS —
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Yeah. Mm-Hum.
— demonstrated that, I thought, visually, quite well.
Was there — I'm just curious how members of the department in the late '40s — if they were indeed aware by then, that the Von Noyman project at the institute was beginning — how they perceived whether they thought that this was a very promising development, or one —
Yes. As a matter of fact, [???] Killing [?] was interested in attracting Noyman at MIT, and Henry Houghten called us together and said, "Look, this something that is being thought about." There were two people that Killing was interested in, one was Taffy Bowen.
Who was [???] individual came to the radiation lab with the plans for the radar —
And the radiation lab's got two or three years work when they got it, and they say, "Hey, that looks something like what Taffy Bowen brought over in a briefcase." And they pulled them out, and [laughs]. Anyway, Taffy got interested in weather modification.
He was a bright guy. Well, that's another story. Anyway, yes. And as you know, in fact, I understand that Von Noyman was headed toward MIT — you know, if he had lived, he would have come to MIT, and of course, what happened is Sharn [?] and Phillips did come to MIT.
Yes, indeed. Indeed. But as you say, he was already becoming ill by the mid-fifties.
This is probably a very good time to begin talking about the Compendium. How long had you been thinking about synthesizing that kind of material? I remember reading particular ways in which the Compendium came about, but —
Well, I wish that I could say that it was the fulfillment of a dream, it wasn't, it happened. [laughs] I do owe sort of a sad amount to a wonderful post doc experience.
I was tapped to do the thing.
And Henry Houghten was chairing a committee and I guess someone leaned on him and, anyway, he released me to that task. And I did not have the vision of making a grand synthesis of all that was known, and pointing out the [tearing paper again] [???] research. It was Howard Orville, only he was the president of The American Meteorological Society that he'd been involved in weather modification, as you perhaps know. He headed — he was convinced there was something there. Anyway, he decided that an assessment of the present knowledge should be carried out, and he appointed a committee of Henry Houghten chaired it. They said, "Let's do this," and at that time, the geophysics research director in Cambridge, was one of the patrons of the meteorological research.
And they were interested in having that kind of thing done, and so, they decided to go ahead with the project and they drew up a sort of a rough plan for it, and they needed someone to edit the thing, and put together it.
When you say drew up a rough plan, I gather this didn't include potential names of contributors —
— or did it already have these —
Yes, yes, they had actually had got to identify some names, including Rosby, who never did produce.
I flew all the way to Chicago and had a delightful evening with him, it never produced a manuscript.
How close did that draft resemble what — and I've got it in front of me right here — the Table of Contents from the Compendium — how much modification happened between the time that you've got that initial list, and what became the final?
It's hard for me to recall. I can't claim being the architect of this, it was — it was pretty well in mind, when they said, "Here's something we ought to do, here's some people we ought to get together. Now who's going to redo all of this?"
Someone's got to do it.
Right. So you were certainly in the role of facilitator, and —
Yes. Yeah. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
— and patient parent, and producing employs of the articles out from people.
That's right. And editing them.
And checking their references.
You must have learned an enormous amount. It's somewhat similar to teaching in terms of pulling together a volume of this sort.
Oh yes. It's absolutely invaluable experience. Absolutely invaluable.
Yeah, yeah. Now, you mentioned that it was the Air Force Cambridge Research Center that was the principal patron for that.
Who over there was helping — I'm wondering which individuals were — as you recall — were the principal people responsible for helping to push this along?
I don't think — I don't think Helen Landry [?] was there yet.
I'm not sure.
Chan [?] Tuart [?] was very interested in this.
I'm not sure whether Lansburg was in the Research and Development Board's efforts already, but I think he was —
He was in Washington at that time.
I think he was.
And he came to — I think, in fact, I think he sat on the committee, the Compendium Committee, as I recall.
It was Chan Tuart that was the — I don't remember who the project officer was.
It was geophysics research director at the Air Force Cambridge Service.
Right. Right. Right. Were there any — I'm just — you're welcome to take a lick at it here. Were there any points on which it became a matter of discussion about whether to include a particular interpretation for development, or not, or was it under the advisors fairly easy to come to decisions about what ought to be included in the Compendium?
Well, I remember that Furtoff's [?] article was pushed very hard by Jewel Charney.
It was not included in the original plan at all, and I got well acquainted with Charney, and Charney was quite insistent that this work of Furtoff's was, you know, fundamentally important, and so it was Charney who got that one in there, for example.
See here's when I really got interested in the statistics, this article of George Wadsworth that I really sort of —
Mm-Hum. Had you known of Wadsworth's work already from your graduate days?
No, we had very little contact with it.
Ken Spangler was the Air Force — or Air Weather Service officer who was responsible for this, and he and George were very, very, close, close friends. And that continued on. In fact, they were going to set up an industrial meteorological consulting firm.
Then Ken got sidetracked into the American Meteorological Society. See, here's where I also got interested in the Helmet Lansburg and Woody Jacobson [?], got them up to MIT for that summer program that —
— Don Freeman came back. Wendell Houston was also at MIT. He was down at the Brown Hill Laboratory.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. That was for Atmospheric Pollution.
Yes. Yes. Mm-Hum. He was one of the early people.
Do you recall much debate over solar constant research at the time?
No. It was well recognized, not a really constant, but —
Mm-Hum. I'm just wondering how you thought of the work that was being done, say at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Abbots and Helm Claytons —
Well, it was a monumental work, of course. And it was not a controversial topic.
Roughly how much of your time was spent in putting together the Compendium, as it finally emerged? How did you — what amount of time did you still have for research?
I didn't. This was a full — all engrossing. I was not a skilled editor. I had no editorial background, so I had to come in and pick up University of Chicago style manual and learn all about it. [laughs]
Learn as you go.
Learn as you go. And I had a bright young English Major from Harvard, and a wonderful mature lady who is a nit-picker, you know, and just. And then I had Larry Gates who was a student.
And he'd also come to MIT from UCLA, as I recall, and Larry and I used to proofread these things. He worked up at the Louisville Observatory.
And so we used to take our page proofs up there, and read them, and you know, go through them, far into the night. But it was about a year and a half of all — of basically full time work.
No time for anything else.
Yeah. Of course, it was an enormously influential by the time — when it came out.
And was so for — easily for two decades.
Yes, yes. It was — they've talked about trying to do it again, it'd be almost impossible, the field has grown so much.
It's interesting to observe that this sort of activity was occurring across the disciplines, in part because of the effect that the war had in energizing research and leading to new developments.
But certainly there was a major compendiums area in astronomy that began at almost the same time.
Mm-Hum. Well, this is part of the Nero-Bush, you know, science in this frontier.
The sort of social contact between the [???] and the government was outlined in that report.
And so this was developed in the mill [?] you [?] that lasted. In fact, as you well know, it's now being renegotiated.
I'm not quite clear just how it's all going to turn up. We're having a big thing here in March on Vanager [?] Bush II, there's one at Columbia, and there's one at AAAS, and — well, there's several.
Fiftieth anniversary is the logical time.
Oh, more than just the logical time, the ferment field of the George Brown paper, you know.
Report on the state of the research triggered off a lot of soul searching. And, well, that's another story.
Another but very vital story in —
Very vital. Very vital.
And it's going to be the next generation of historians who clearly will be tackling that.
One thing I'm curious about, from the same period, your impressions of the work that Dave Faults [?] was doing in Chicago with the rotating pan experiments. How did you regard Faults' work? How well aware were you?
Oh, I was quite aware of it. It was — I thought it was great.
Rosby had seemed to see it more as a matter of demonstration principle, but Faults seemed to —
— think of it much more as this —
And I think that was the influence of Victor Star on Faults that — I think that as — you know, Victor was one of the giants looking at momentum transport and that sort of thing. And he had a very powerful influence on Bob White.
Who was well-known. And so that I think that it was the Victor Star influence that prompted Dave to explore dimensions which went beyond what Rosby — I don't know how far Rosby's vision went, I never — he supported Dave, of course.
Mm-Hum. Much of Faults' work was done, I think, after Rosby had already left the United States, I guess.
That's right, that's right, that's right. Yeah. Mm-Hum.
Yeah. How important was the visualization element in Faults' work? Was also somewhat novel in meteorology up to that point. The degree to which the rotating pan led to directly visualizable data.
Well, you see, that was in the days before computers — they were just coming online at that time.
The whirlwind was just in the process of being developed.
The MIT Whirlwind convest [?] of the Anyack [?] under the Von Noyman was — Von Noyman demonstrated this was feasible on the Anyack.
And then Norm Phillips — in fact that, is one of the key paper. I remember being in New York when Norm presented that paper in 1956. And after he got through, it was published in the Recording Journal, in fact, he got the Sernavior [?] Shaw Prize for that work.
And Harry Wexler stood up and said, "This is a momentous occasion." And it was. And I've —
Wexler had said that right at the time?
Right at the time. Wexler had a very keen appreciation of what this really meant.
And the idea of taking atmosphere at rest and turning on the sun and then seeing what happened, and coming up with something which looks like the general circulation, not in detail, but in general it was magnificent accomplishment.
Now, of course, Norm stood on the shoulders of Rosby and Von Noyman and Sharn Hillary, he was creative in his own right —
— but he was the one who put it together.
So, what I'm saying is that it was a sort of an intermediate stage between describing this and terms of fronts and air masses, and the real numerical treatment of the governing equations. In other words, you could, you could, you can visualize this.
I have always felt that what he was able to differ about the physics of the circulation was more important than the visualization. And I credit Dave with being more profound than a gadgeteer who devised every way to —
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Yeah. That's interesting.
And again, I would say that it was Victor Star's influence that led him down that road. He could have been quite content to demonstrate a gadget.
More profound than that.
Indeed. Indeed. I want to turn back to statistical meteorology in just a moment, and clearly that becomes very important when you go to the Travelers —
— and that part of your career. But I'm curious too, if you had any involvement at all in the National Academy Panel on Oceanography, in 1949? Was that something that stretched to include meteorology and join interactions?
No. As you know, there were two committees. The Committee of Meteorology that Lloyd Berkner chaired.
Yes. And that was a bit later in the 1950s.
That was a little later. Yeah.
And then Harrison Brown took over, I guess from Spillhouse, I don't know.
And I'll never forget, someone said, "We ought to talk to each other," so someone got us together in the Board Room — no, no, the Members Room of the National Academy. And it was so interesting to watch these two groups sort of strickerning [?] each other, a little bit suspiciously. It was just absolutely fascinating.
They didn't interact. As a matter of fact, Walter Munk was the only genuine oceanographer who published in the Compendium. And I guess he was viewed as a maverick by some of his colleagues in — I'm sure he's in here.
I'm virtually sure he's in there, too. Because Girard [?] Kipler [?] later mentions that he doesn't want to put oceanography in his Compendium of the Earth, because it had already appeared yours.
[laughs] Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, Serta [?] — Serta had [???].
But [???] had them on his own.
That's real interesting. So that it was still oil and water at that point.
That's right, that's right. They were just suspicious of — And Harrison Brown, of course, was a very broad gazed individual, as you — I'm sure you know, there was a Columbus Islam [?] at Woods Hole with Roger Ravel [?] at Scripps, and so Harrison Brown was not an oceanographer.
But a marvelous chair. They were all quite happy to work. I guess they didn't want to give the chairmanship to either Columbus or Roger.
Or choose between Columbus and Roger, and Harrison was the individual who brought them altogether and harmonized them. Two powerful intellects.
Right. And an institutionally geographically, he could also be a neutral, or at least more neutral party.
That's right. That's Right. Yeah.
And I think Spillhouse was thinking that this might be a critical reason for having someone like —
— Harrison Brown be in that sort of role.
Well, I had no contact with the [???] were started. Not until [???].
Did you have any contact at all with Munk and — at that time in doing the —
In this? Oh yes, yes. I got acquainted with Walter [???]
Right. Right. What were your — I'm — What kind of interaction was it, though, was it fairly brief, or did it become substantial on, on —
It was fairly brief. Yes. It was not two years later that — [laughs] One incident on the Compendium I remember to this day, we had an article by — from Harvard — and in editing, I changed my [laughs] formulas.
Is that right?
Ripple [?], Ripple. Fred Ripple.
I was just going to ask you about Fred Ripple. Yeah.
We became very good friends later on, but I got a real stiff letter from him. I thought he had made a mistake, and I changed it without even asking him. But he noticed it. I was chagrin.
Ripple is quite particular on those sorts of things.
A wonderful guy though.
Yeah. Did —
And rightfully indigent. Some pipsqueak of an editor was just — and doing it wrong. If I had corrected a mistake, that was one thing, but I introduced a mistake. My most embarrassing moment.
One — of course Ripple was at Harvard during this —
— period. And after the war began developing much more broadly, his study of the upper atmosphere using meteors as the tool. Did you have a lot of discussion with him over the upper atmosphere? Was that something —
— that —
— brought you at all together?
No. I never really got well acquainted with Fred Ripple 'til we both served on a [???] advisory committee for the House Committee of Science Nationality, or something, and we used to meet once a year for two or three days in Washington, and we'd all make speeches to each other, and I got real well acquainted with Fred in those days. That was during the '60s.
So it was much later.
Right. During that time though, outside of the occasional contact that you've already mentioned with Blue Hill, there wasn't really much contact then between Harvard and MIT —
In the meteorological sciences?
No, no, no, no.
Okay. I'm wondering too, if you had any recollections that you recall about Spillhouse's Weather is the Nation's Business? Which I think was published in 1953?
Was it Spillhouse? Or was that —
He was involved with it.
Or was that Shorty Orville?
It might have been Orville.
No, I haven't thought about that for years. Forgotten about it.
I'll check. And for any names that don't come to mind, we call always make the correction on the transcript.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I'll reflect now, that must have been stimulus to my own interest.
I haven't even thought about it for years, and years, and years.
Yeah. Is that one of the — of course, it raised the issue of climatology, and the development of particular programs. Recommendation of a National Climatological Laboratory, it was part of the —
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
— recommendations in that report. But you hadn't been involved in that in any substantive category?
No, no, no, no. I was a reader, rather than a technician on that report.
Okay. Good, good. One of the things that we've been mentioning indirectly is the military’s role as a patron, for meteorology after World War II. And clearly agencies like ONR contributed substantially to development of meteorology.
Oh. Very profound impact, yes.
Yeah. And what I wanted to ask you particularly, you mentioned that between — I think it was 1950 and 1953 that you were an advisor to ONR?
How did that work? Was it panelled meetings?
No. I actually —
Or was it more active an involvement?
I actually came down, and I was a consultant.
I came down and stayed in Washington, and would spend time at the geophysics branch, I guess they called it.
Of ONR. Earl Drisler [?] —
— was involved in that. And Gordon Lil [?] was involved in that, if you know —
I've lost track of Gordon. And there was a physicist in charge of the whole thing, and Jim Hughes. Jim Hughes and Earl Drisler, and Gordon Lil. Gordon Lil was more oceanography. Of course he came under the edges of Al Waterman —
— up high, but there were several layers in between. I've got one quick telephone call at 20 minutes to 12 and —
Sure. [tape off, then back on]
I'm glad you're interested in all these little things. [laughs]
Well, I don't think they're little things. These are all big issues, as far as how the Earth Sciences were forged in this country. And I think it's a good topic to be thinking about. We were talking about a moment ago about military patronage.
Oh yes. Yes. Yes.
And your consulting work.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
For ONR. You were just beginning to explain how often you were called upon to advise them on work.
Well, periodically I went down — oh, I don't remember how many times a month, I'd go down and spend two or three days.
Every month or so. It was a regular. They had a thing about my advice on. I was viewed as having a more prospective on the field of meteorology than I really had, by virtue of that Compendium.
But I felt that it was interesting, and I felt that I'd helped them out a little bit.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Were you in the company of other meteorologist, and geophysicists at these meetings? Or was it individually that you aided them?
Primarily with the staff. With Earl Drisler and Jim Hughes, and Gordon Lil. And I can't remember the physicist who ran that geophysics branch. It was called a geophysics branch at the Office of Naval Research.
Yeah. Yeah, we can add that name later on.
Yeah. What were your impressions of Gordon Lil, and Earl Drisler?
I liked them. I thought that they were — as you know, I'm sure, the ONR was sort of a model of supportive research.
And I guess it was Allan Waterman's influence. Anyway, it was the Tiffany of the research supporting apparatus' in the military, in my opinion.
And, in fact — well, as I'm sure you know, it was really the model for NSF.
The operational part from [???] Bush's [???]
And it's because they bought Waterman over to run it.
Over — Right. Right.
And he came with him the philosophy. He brought Orville Drisler over from [???] to that branch, to run the atmospheric sciences, and he told Earl that "You're gonna have to stretch your mind. This is bigger than you will ever realize."
That's interesting. So that Waterman in this instance was very direct in extended his philosophy down through the ranks of those that he brought in.
Right. Right. Mm-Hum.
Okay. I'm wondering how — thinking comparatively how's support from ONR compared to, say, Cambridge Research Center, or some of the other military patrons of geophysics?
Well, they were all important. And they all contributed. I — without intending to be critical, and I don't intend to be critical of Air Force Cambridge, this is a must be criticized.
I just think that the ONR was in class by itself.
It was the blue ribbon, supporting agency in the military.
Right. In part because its mandate was broader and that — and was it also in the way in which how the contracts how the contracts were set up?
No, I would say that it was more that they had an appreciation for basic research, without demeaning applied research.
Whether you found the —
— there was a philosophy there that if you build a solid knowledge base, good will come from that.
Mm-Hum. Yes. Yeah. And you found that what Cambridge was willing to fund was more of an applied nature at that period of time?
That probably is not a — well, let's turn around. Cambridge is less committed to the principle of basic research which good soil [?] than ONR.
Mm-Hum. Yeah. Yeah.
That's a very subtle difference.
I don't mean to say that Cambridge looked for applications and figured out what they had to do.
But there was just a difference in the philosophy.
And contractually, I don't know that the [???].
It's in the — yeah, yeah, yeah.
— the mechanics of the situation.
Right. No, I certainly take your point that all of the different agencies are contributing in different ways to advancing research.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
And it is interesting to see the differences and how they begin to effect the subsequent development of the sciences. One thing that I was curious about, clearly the military also had an interest in things like Von Noyman's project. Some on the military saw weather modification as potentially a tool in the operations theater in years ahead. And certainly, by the 1950s some oceanographers began to be concerned about the classification of basic data for the ocean floor. Was there a parallel case in meteorology, where leaders in the field, others were concerned about classification, or the usage?
Much less. Much less. I think that the sensitivity in the oceanographic area was because of the anti-submarine.
ASW, I guess they call it.
So I — No, it was not a major factor. I'll put it this way. Well, it was not a major factor —
— and certainly less than in oceanography.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. And ONR was also one of your sponsors, or the principal sponsor —
— for the synoptic climatology.
That's right. That's Right. Yes. That's right. That's Right. Mm-Hum.
How much did that — did the grants from ONR support? How big was the operation that you directed in synoptic climatology?
Not large. Three or four people. Bob Miller.
Right. He was one of your graduate students, as I recall?
And he actually got his doctorate at Harvard. It was interesting, but that was after he went down to Travelers, but he gave a leave of absence, he went up there and rented a room, and he got his doctorate in one year, which is — of course he had his Master's before that.
But he worked under — oh, the statistician at Harvard, great man.
I know who you mean; we'll add that on there later.
W.A. Sellers was also a co-author on of the —
Yes. Bill Sellers. That's right. Yes. Mm-Hum.
Bill Sellers. Was he a graduate student of yours as well?
Yes. I don't know whether I — I think that he probably finished his thesis under Ed Rains.
You see, my great contribution to MIT was to leave a tenured position for Ed Rains to move into. [laughter] He brought more fame to MIT than [laughter] —
Interesting way to put it. [laughter] I wonder, were there any other graduate students that you wanted to talk about from the years that you were at MIT?
Jim McDonald was really one of the — I thought one of the really bright young men. He got his doctorate, I think, at Iowa State. But I ranked him as one of the students that I stand out in my mind that I can still see his eager face, that time I was lecturing advance calculus, or something like that, for some students.
But Jim sit there with an eager face and he had the best questions and he was so responsive when you did something that he'd know good, and he was just terribly perceptive, and that was a tragedy what happened to him. He went to the University of Arizona at Tucson, and he was interested in Cloud Physics.
Then he had a thing on UFOs which — but was very bright, he was very analytical and he was coping with the SST issue.
Hadn't quite got to where Johnson got with the nitrogen, you know and the —
But he was getting close, but then he had some personal problems.
Family problems and he did himself in with them. [???].
I'm sorry to hear that.
Personal losses also. Lost field.
Yeah. Do any other students come to mind that you wanted to mention here?
Well, I don't recall Bob Miller a student, but he's [???] of some kind of [???] to him. Don Freedman. I don't really claim to be a teacher to Ed Rains, but he — I was an instructor there when he was one of the Air Force Cadets.
And I like to say that he was a student of mine, but — and then, of course, Bob White was a — when Bob White was there, some of the boys were having trouble with their dynamic meteorology, so I used to take them over in 6120, which was a smaller classroom, to give special tutorial sessions.
And those were the times when they'd have blackouts, you know when the lights would all go out. [laughs] But Bob White was outstanding. And, of course, Doug Brooks was a star.
And he ran the research center at Harvard after Bob White went down to Washington, and — in fact, I saw him just last week. He has multiple scleroses but his mind was as sharp as ever.
His health problems marred a — short circuited a career which never had a chance to really be fulfilled.
MS is rather cruel in that way.
Yeah. Okay. Is there anything else that we haven't covered from your MIT period that you wanted to mention before we talk about your transfer to Travelers —
I do want to cover more of synoptic climatology and statistical work when you get —
When we start to talk about that. How much contact did you have with Lawrence [???] during your years at MIT?
Well, he came back and he had to decide whether to go to Harvard and get his degree in mathematics or go back to MIT and get it in meteorology. And he decided to go back to MIT in meteorology. We were close friends, and when I was — or we both had young families.
And we got together with Jane and Ed and Nancy and our Mary Ellen, and our boys. So that we had a social as well as professional interactions. So we were quite close to Jim and Edna.
Yeah. Did you also have that kind of after-hours socializing with other members of the MIT faculty during the early 1950s? Was that common?
Yes. We used to get with Jack Johnson, who was there. We'd interact socially with the Austins, Allan Beamus.
Bill Kyley and — I can't remember his wife name now, a very charming person. Not a lot of interaction with Henry and Dorothy, but you know, we knew them socially and interacted with them. It was a —
It was a — it was a warm department.
I wouldn't say it was in a high degree of social activity, but it — interaction was always —
There was a clear social adhesiveness among the members of the —
Oh yeah. That's right. That's Right. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
Yeah. Yeah. Finally, on MIT. What were the courses that you ended up teaching most frequently during your tenured time at MIT? You mentioned already a number of the tutorials, I gather those were —
Dynamic meteorology. I probably taught more students than — though I don't class myself as dynamic meteorology, but that's it.
And then I taught undergraduate course in general meteorology.
It was available to other students. All courses in applied meteorology. And of course a lot of weather forecasting and analysis laboratory courses.
Right. How many people would be in, say, the laboratory course at MIT?
Oh, two dozen.
Mm-Hum. And there was a pretty consistent number through the —
Yes. Yeah. And of course we went from several hundred —
— during the wartime training years, now.
But traditionally you'd be on the order of tens, not hundreds, not ones.
Yeah. Was it a similar number for industrial meteorology?
Smaller. Smaller. I'd say where you might have 20 in a laboratory, you might have five in industrial meteorology.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Okay. And this actually, I think, may lead into your time at Travelers. How — when you began to develop industrial meteorology at MIT, what kinds of contacts did you have with industry, other forms of business? During that period.
Well, I worked with one of the consulting firms in Boston at Mary Anne Hogan, who was a student of mine.
And they cliental all over New England.
And I moonlighted with —
Right. That was when you were preparing the forecasts?
My most memorable experience was — we also took care of North East Airlines, which was North East Airlines in those days.
And I sent a pilot up to Portland with the assurance that when he got there that the ceiling, which was about 200 feet would be above limits. Which was about 400 feet. And about three hours later, he came storming into the office saying [???] [laughs] that four engine plane all the way from Portland.
The ceiling stayed low, I guess.
The ceiling stayed low, and boy was he mad.
Were there other major clients that you recall, thinking back on it now, was it just one airline? Or did you have another one —
Oh, no, these were not of [???] for the snow situation.
We'd try, but never quite got it off, this famous bakery — what's that bakery that — Pepperidge Farms.
We did analysis of their sales in terms of the weather.
But we never quite consummated a productive interaction of them. But that's the kind thing we looked into.
That's interesting. That's interesting. Okay. Now, had that been on going at MIT before your arrival there, or do you feel that that was your initiative?
I think that I was probably the leading [???] of it, yes.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Certainly, in the 1920s and 1930s it was almost expected of MIT faculty that they would earn part of their salaries —
— through outside consulting work. By the 1940s and the post-World War II period, was that still the case within meteorology?
Yes. Yes. Well, less so than some of the engineering departments.
But my moonlighting with Mary Hogan was an example of it.
And of course, I also did some weather — some broadcasting.
And that's how I happened to get down to Travelers.
You were on one of their flagship stations? Or the one that certainly had a pretty broadcast area, as I recall.
Well, I was on the little station in Quincy.
Oh, were you?
Yeah. I was the Don Dixon of the Boston Area.
And my weather observatory in my basement and back yard and every morning I would go on the air with and that's when the Travelers wanted to do something about the Weather Bureau they moved out of the city out to the airport. And they decided they would just do something with their fifty-thousand watt station, and they went out to Boston and talked to Ken Spangler who was the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society.
And he said, "Could you recommend someone?" And he recommended me. And so they came up and [???] taped my broadcast one morning.
On the Quincy station?
Yeah, yeah. And they thought maybe that might work out, so they [???] and talked to me, and I was not interested in being a broadcast meteorologist all my life.
And I said, [inaudible]
I want to return to that literally in just a moment, but I'm just curious, how much time per portion of time, did you spend, say, at MIT in the mid - early mid-1950s on consulting versus your own research and teaching at the institute?
Oh, I don't know what I could hardly qualify as half a day a week or something like that.
Something like that?
Yeah. Yeah. Which would have been pretty standard, I think among —
One day a week is — one day a week is —
— quite acceptable. I was probably a little less than that.
Right. Now, I would imagine that someone like Herb Willet, with his interest, might have done consulting work of some kind.
Yes. Oh yes. Yes. Yes.
Were there others in the department that were also doing it, as you recall?
I think probably Herb did the most sophisticated consulting of anyone in the department. Jim Austin did a little bit.
I don't think Henry Houghten did very much.
Okay. And people like Bernard Horrowitz, did he have —
— any consulting [???] that he would do?
Not to my knowledge. No.
He was a pure academic type.
Right. So, the negotiations with Travelers, who were they with when you would — negotiating this who in the company, or what group of individuals, did you begin negotiating what became your position at Travelers?
Well, they owned the radio station.
And Tom Eaton who was their news director, and he was one person.
And Harry Bursody, who ran their public information operation, was another one.
Well, they brought me down and got a bunch of their vice presidents together and talked to them. The one I really negotiated with was Vernon Dow, who was the — oh, he was not called executive vice president, but that's what he was, and he's the one who really negotiated things.
Had the power to make decisions.
And add a — MITs infected by an Adoly [?] Wit [?], who was the president but it was Vern Dow.
They didn't call them senior vice president in those days, but that's what he was.
Basically he was executive vice president.
Yeah. As this negotiation started to unfold, did you have a clear sense in the beginning of what you wanted to do at Travelers? Or was this something that evolved as you —
— as you all began to talk about?
When you stop and think about it, that multiple line company has outreach into every spasit [?] of business industry.
And I'd been making speeches about how we ought to have more business and industry involvement.
And, well, I had an attractive opportunity to do something about it. And it was a pretty powerful pull.
So beyond that, I didn't have an [???] can do this, and this, and this. We had to set up a weather forecasting operation on the radio station and TV and I recruited the staff for that.
But that was separate and in some ways independent from the research that you began to do at Travelers.
Yes. Yes. That's right. That's Right. Yeah. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
I'm just trying to understand better, what you requested as a basis for leaving a tenured position at MIT to go to Travelers? What kind of research budget for example, and freedom of research, did you hope to have? Rather —
Well I wanted to have underwritten by the company about the size of research program as the ONR was underwriting. That was — [???] Don Freedman, and Bob Miller. And then Bernie Shore, down there, in this kind of work.
And then as it got involved in business and all that, I got an economist and things like that.
Right. Right. Which was into the 19 — late — early 1960s —
That's right. That's Right. Yeah. Mm-Hum. That's right.
— which suspect was about when the economy started entering in. How many people then, did you have roughly, by the, say, the late '50s on your Travelers staff.
Okay. And how was that group related to other areas of research within Travelers? Or was this one of the first main research operations that they'd done?
We were the first. And when they decided they ought to have more research, they looked down the list, and they saw a weather research center, and well, research, hey, so let's get — let's deal right on that. So they said, "We'd like to create a research department."
And they had a man who worked on the — oh the insurance aspects of nuclear power, [???] Stratton [?], and they said that that should be [???]. We wanted to do some economics research and wanted some — well I don't think they called it operation research, but —
Essentially it was OR —
Yeah, it was OR.
Yeah. Okay. Thinking back into negotiating, did you feel that you — or did you say that you wanted freedom of publication, for example, as a condition of —
Did you ask for anything of that sort?
No, no, no, no. It just came. No.
You had no trouble though, with Travelers, as far as —
No, no, no, no.
— proprietary information —
— or anything of that sort?
Still wasn't sophisticated enough, I don't think, to worry about those things.
It still — I would think — must have been difficult to leave a tenured position at MIT for a business opportunity.
Even a lucrative one and —
That's right. That's right. If I wanted to be in meteorology, I was in meteorology, I was in a prime institution, tenured spot. I guess I'm not hung up on this notion of tenure. That's — it means more to some people than it does to me, and they just — I don't mean to be cavalier about it –
— but, you know? It's not a security blanket for me.
Mm-Hum. Right. Right. I just wonder, were there dissatisfactions with your being at MIT at that period of time, say, given the direction of research and others in the department compared to the synoptic climatology.
No, no, no, no. Not at all, no. Not at all. Not at all.
In those days, I had five kids, and the difference in income was not — let's see, one reason I was doing this Quincy broadcasting was it helped me on my income.
Those were the days when the faculty salaries were really quite modest, and when you had five youngsters, you know —
Mm-Hum. It made a difference.
So, when — did you feel that initially the main branch of work that you would do at Travelers was the synoptic climatology and the statistical —?
No. No, I wanted that option.
But I expected fully, and was interested in actually getting into things that related to the company’s business, and bringing my —
And that's what got me into geophysics, because —
Yeah. Geophysics in a broad definition.
A broad sense because they were interested in more than the weather. They were interested in earthquakes, for example and —
Yes. Their investment department had substantial farm mortgage loans in the Texas Panhandle.
Which had a value — the land had a value because of the Ogalola [?] Aquifer.
Long staple cotton.
And that was going —
— down. We did analysis, and said, "Out here the value of that property is going to go down." That's not meteorology at all.
Right. Right. Right. How did — I'm just curious, how you came to educate yourself in these others fields as you began to expand your work into other parts of geophysics?
Well, it occurred to me that Travelers was of company that didn't really have a good executive development program and so Sterling Tooker [?] was the head of personnel in those days and so we dreamed up a program and then we had to get some people to, you know, to teach that.
And so Sterling and I went up to MIT and talked with Elisha [?] Peril [?], who was the Associate Dean of the Business School, and engaged him as a consultant to bring an economics point of view to our promising young executives.
And went down to Columbia and they got Ed Rap — no not — no, at Harvard Ed Rap, and down at Columbia they got Charlie Summers. Well, about that time, I was asked to write a monthly business assessment analysis for the Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce.
And I had an economist working for, me and my staff, a Yale trained economist. And so he helped me, and then I must confess that I took advantage of Elisha Peril's associated company, and almost had a crash course in economics. So, I began to understand what GNP was all about.
And then I saw that that was related to the insurance companies business, you know? And that if you were interested in the potential market down there, you'd have to run your GNP out and figure out how the elements in the GNP rated to the lines of insurance.
And that fitted with my monthly analysis of the economy of the greater Hartford area, and every year at Christmas time we'd get 500 executives together and have an outlook.
And I was the moderator of that and so I that I was the economist for the greater Hartford community. Strange, but I enjoyed it. And it was a bridge between my meteorology and my concern over basic environmental issues and the intrinsic lick we're getting down ahead of ourselves here, but between environment and development.
Which is one of the crucial problems of the next 50 years.
But without that forced feeding of some — maybe a sufficient analysis would be dangerous, but anyway I understood what the national counts were, and I had to understand it. Not in a professional way, but a —
— Able to use it, and relay to other things. So, I found it very interesting. I'd enjoyed economics in college, but it was a much different kind. Fairchild, Furnace, and Buck economic test is so different from MITs — what's his name, the economist up there that's written all the books?
Oh. Galbreath? No. No.
I know who mean. I know who you mean. And I'll — and we'll get the —
He was a dean up there for —
Yes, indeed. Indeed.
Anyway, I found it very interesting.
So it was a broad — you really felt it to be a broad challenge, that it was deepening your —
Yes. That's right.
— general interests by taking on the —
I wasn't just trying to deepen my interest, just —
It was there. I found it interesting and along the way I broadened out.
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Now, how much time, roughly, were you spending, and the categories may be artificial, but I'm thinking just in terms of that part of time that you were putting into research, and that part that was involved in administration when you were at Travelers?
It gradually shifted so that I was doing less and less research.
How much was it, say, in the beginning, when you first go there?
Oh, maybe twenty-percent, no more than that.
Okay. Okay. There's one thing I noticed in —
I actually, when I left MIT in effect — as far as creative research was concerned — it decade, the time.
I could find.
Mm-Hum. Yes. As I remember that a number of the papers that you published around that time, those that may have been written a little bit before 1955 and then began appearing in literature were very much concerned with using statistical methods —
That's right. That's Right. Yeah.
— for meteorology, and one of the things I was — among the interesting things in your — the paper, your '55 paper in the proceedings of the Academy —
— you had stated that "it requires a certain amount of courage to espouse the application of statistical methods because many synoptic meteorologists today view statistics with the distain that has been reserved for dynamical meteorology in by-gone days."
[laughs] That's right.
It sounds like the conflict was not — [laughter] When you wrote that, were you thinking particularly about developments discussions within — at MIT? Or was it more within the broader community?
[Inaudible — speaking at same time as Doel] Yeah. No. No. No. There was never anything I found unpleasant or distasteful or troublesome at MIT —
— at all.
My memories at MIT are all — all very, very warm.
Right. I'm just thinking in the — within the — clearly meteorology at that period of time, and for years after, was a fairly board church. There were a variety of different of approaches, yet. How — was there a sense of distinct communities that accepted and did not accept statistical meteorology as you were developing it within the country?
Yes. I would say that the — at one stage there was — I wouldn't call it a conflict, but there were two schools of thought.
Dynamic and the statistic. There is a subjective.
There was a dynamic and there was the statistic.
And well, the subjective, clearly was not going to prevail, because we're into a more quantitative era. The observations, the way the handling data going on to going a [???].
When we started the statistical work, we were inverting 30 foreign matrices [?] with a martian calculator.
Suddenly discovered Whirlwind in our back yard.
How much time did you get on Whirlwind for —
Oh, incredible. Bob Bell used to go there and spend hours at night. You know he'd go there and use it at night, it was a research machine.
And they loved to ask someone to — that was willing to come in and do things with it, you know?
Yeah. So it wasn't that hard to get time on Whirlwind for this.
No. No. No. No.
Yeah. It must have been a very pleasant discovery to have — not have to use the martian.
Oh, yes. A far cry from a paying so much — it was a couple of hundred dollars an hour for —
And you can make it down to Hartford — United Aircraft was their pri [?] — what we were getting into the computer business, and that's where the 700 series, which was a descendant of Rowan [?] really.
And they took possession of — I think it was 704 or 702, something beyond the 700 series, and they didn't have anything to run on, so they gave us unlimited time.
Is that right.
Bob Miller chewed up time — if you would have put a price tag on it, it would have been thousands of dollars, because they were given that block of time to experiment with it.
And they didn't have so many programs running. Of course, we had all this fancy stuff so he had a ball.
And you didn't have to do that at night either.
No, that's right. Yeah.
Well, that's interesting. That is real interesting. And you mentioned earlier about George Wadsworth, and his contribution was putting the pressure maps in quantitative form —
— and Cheser [?] —
[???] [???] yeah. Were there limits, though, given the available data, and the distribution of the data that compromised your attempts to further statistical meteorology? What were they — what still remained the difficulties? Instrumentally or otherwise in that program?
No, I think it was just that we didn't pursue telling the field. There were no big obstacles at — the data was adequate.
You certainly continental data.
Yes, we had good continental data. Any meteorologist has an insensationable [?] need for data — more data. Better think that and the competition was — well, you know how the [inaudible].
You know, my own personal interest just moved into other directions —
— and I look back sometimes with regret not having pursued some of the avenues which I dimly saw then, and now I can see what [???] have done.
Hind sight is good for that.
Now, as I recall, Bob White was for a time at Air Force Cambridge Research Center.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
Did you and he talk then — and this was overlapping during the time that you were still at MIT — about how to develop the CRCs research program? Or did he not have that much ability to shape or mold —
No I don't think Bob —
— what Cambridge could do?
No. Oh you mean —
At Cambridge as a patron and as in developing its own capabilities.
Are you talking about his capabilities or Cambridge's capabilities, or Travelers?
Cambridge's. Before he came to —
— to Travelers with you.
Did we talk about directions Cambridge might go?
No. They had their own hierarchy out there. I did not have the kind of interaction with Cambridge that I'd had with ONR.
Yes, we had good relations from the Compendium days on.
But Helmet Lansburg left Cambridge and its changed character. So, no, I had very little impact on them.
Right. Right. And Bob had come very quickly into Travelers after your arrival there, as I — it was by 1959, I think?
Yeah, it was something like that.
That he came in. Okay. I noticed he was also on the IGY meteorology panel? As I recall?
Bob was. Yes, I was not.
Yeah. Do you recall any discussions with him about that? Was that a major part of his time at that — in that enterocele [?] ?
Not to my awareness, no.
One thing that I was particularly interested in reading was your piece in the Saturday Review from 1958.
[laughs] — You really did —.
And that was a very interesting stylistic contribution as well as a very interesting substantial one, in terms of summarizing —
John Lear was a great guy, and Norman Cousins was just a wonderful person in the business sense.
Yeah. I wanted to hear your —
I've traveled with Norman when we were on this dart with kick, you know, there was an exchange with the Soviets?
And I've seen —
Let me pause —
...it's Norman at Kennedy Airport, I guess it was called something else in those days. Ida [?] While [?], I guess it was called.
Dictating editorials over the telephone. [laughs]
Is that right?
He was [???].
Well, that's fascinating.
Years later — and we're jumping ahead — but the measure of Norman — when I was out at Indianapolis — I don't know, maybe I'm imagining, I don't know, anyway, I was connected with an economics club. Which I got a thousand people together for a luncheon meeting every two weeks, or something like that.
And, anyway, we got Norman to come. And he came about the time of the big 500 race, you know?
So, we said, "Hey Norman, why don't you come and stay at our home. You'd have trouble getting hotel." And they were crowded, so he did.
And so I took him down, because I was involved in that thing, and he wanted to get a haircut first. And I said, "Well, if you want, I'll take your paper." No he didn't want to take the papers, so we went and got the haircut, and I said, "You out to [???] your notes? Get ready for thousand people, you know?" And no he didn't think so we got to [???] luncheon and Edward sat down and then they ran it like this. You came in at 12 o'clock, 12:05 you were seated, 12:30 the [???] were cleared. Speaker came out at 12:25, he spoke for not more than 25 minutes, and the discussion period of the written comments at 1:30, he was gone.
He got to give the most entertaining and brilliant speech without a single note. Without even collecting his thoughts. That was the kind of mind he had.
And that was done. Well, I'm sorry I —
No, no, this is wonderful to hear about him. What sort of person was John Lear? Did you get to know him as well as Norm Cousins?
No I didn't. He was a strange person. And I never could really figure him out. I thought he was a very good editor — or science editor for the Saturday Review. And he was very interested in what we were doing, and when I got involved in the scope things [???]. Got our first big meeting was down in Australia.
And he said, "Hey, I'd like to go down and sit in on that." So he did. [laughs] I don't know — I never quite knew what made John tick.
He was not a scientist. Not even trained. I don't know how he — well, you know Wally Solven [?] is a music major.
I didn't know that. That's interesting.
Yeah. And I've heard — you know, he got the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy. They have a do, do it — all of those academy members sitting around at dinner time — or, you know, banquet?
And Walter would get up and give an acceptance speech, but it was sort of an attribute to the physicists, and it was — and in fact, Phil Handler, who was no slouch himself, ways that daughter [?] filling up and just said "Whew." [laughs] And it was that impressive.
All Phil could say was "Whew." [laughter]
I guess that was when Phil was the president of the academy?
It's a very interesting point because these people are responsible for communicating many of the ideas, or shaping how the American public received science in the '50s, '60, and thereafter. And people like John Lear played a major role in those perceptions.
I've lost touch with John. I haven't heard from him for — I don't know anything about him. I don't know if he's still around or not.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Do you recall any reaction, particularly, to your Saturday Review piece, once it appeared?
It was very positive. Surprising enough. [laughs] And Paul Clopstick [?], who was a deputy to Allan Waterman.
Mm-Hum. Yes. Right.
Somehow got a hold of it, and, you know, he went out of his way to express in it, and I was flattered initially because Paul is a very wise guy.
Paul was kind of interested in meteorology.
He served on the —
He was on the committee, the Berkner Committee as well, wasn't he?
As a matter of fact, he was chair somewhere along the way. I don't know whether he was chair right after — maybe he was chair after Berkner. I've forgotten.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Yeah, I want to get to that committee and the many things that began to develop in that period when you were at —
Let me just —
Please, go ahead.
When the Bill Brasher [?] of the National Science Board on whether to go with NCAR or not.
They had a meeting out at Jackson Hole.
And I was not there. But I was told that Paul gave a most moving, almost emotional — well, moving and eloquent, and almost emotional speech about this thing, and it was — you know, it tipped the balance.
That is interesting.
So, we made — not for that reason, but we made Paul honorary member of the committee on atmospheric sciences, which was the successor to the — and for years he was carried in the directory as honorary member, the only honorary member of any National Academy or National Research Council committee.
That's interesting. I have a feeling that he enjoyed that, too.
Yeah. Oh yeah.
I bet he did. One thing I wanted to ask you, and I just had a few general questions of this period before getting to the Berkner Report, and the committee. Did you have any continuing or contacts with Harvard as it began developing geophysics in the 1950s? Much of their strengths seemed to be in the solid earth —
No. No I didn't.
Francis Birch was there, for example.
No. I didn't. I sat on some of the advisory committee of Harvey Brooks and Richard Goody.
Late. Was that in the '60s?
Elden [?] Wineburg [?]. Elden Wineburg chaired a — some kind of visiting committee and I was on a visiting committee — that visiting committee focused on the meteorology thing that Richard Goody.
Right. Right. Right.
I was terribly impressed with Elden Wineburg. He was a very, very wise guy.
And he was influential in letting that committee be influential and turn on Harvard.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
Of course, Harvey's one of my heroes. Harvey Brooks.
Right. Right. He's done an enormous amount. Do you recall any discussions about the blancivitch [?] cycles in the mid -1950s? Was that a topic that had come up at all —
No it was viewed as sort of a —
— in your experience?
Well, it went in and out of favor, you know?
Yeah. It seemed that particularly Americans were disinclined towards the theories.
That's right. That's right.
The Europeans were a bit more favorably.
That's right. That's Right. Yeah.
Do you recall any discussion though?
Was it something that was conscious enough that —
Not in my experience. It was — I was not involved or present any heated discussions of that.
Okay. Another topic right from this period, not long afterwards, of course, you had pretty sustained contact with Walter Roberts as what becomes NCAR developed. But were you involved or aware of the arguments over where to relocate the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory? What ultimately became the Harvard —
No. No. No. No, I was not. I'm not involved in that at all.
Yeah. So a number of meteorologists did in fact contribute to that larger debate over where it would be and what the mission of that would be. What I'm asking in a way is more generally is how acquainted you became during those years with the research that began to develop in Atmospheric Science elsewhere in the country? Of course Scripps was interested in oceanography, but Revel [?] interested in broader atmospheric oceanic exchange at the time UCLA was developing the institute. Did you have any regular sustained contact with any of the people in; say the West Coast centers for atmospheric science, during this period?
Most of my contact was Phil Church at the University of Washington.
Assembling a first class [???].
Of course, I knew Moray [?] Niburger [?] very well, because he'd been an instructor for me at MIT. When I first went there he won the — he and Jim Austin.
And Hombo [?] had left MIT before I came.
And Harvest took his place. And I guess I met Roger during my ONR because he was —
He'd been involved in that geophysics branch —
— at the time. When he was in the Navy. It was not until I got involved in the UCAR/NCAR thing that I reached out to tall those communities.
Okay, that's helpful to know, just how extensive all that had been. Did you — was there any contact, for example, with Revel prior to that time over oceanic atmospheric exchange?
No, not me.
Yeah. Was that being broadly aware of the kind of research that he was publishing on heat flow and oceanic absorption of Co2 and —
I was aware of it, but I didn't interact one on one with Roger until later on.
Right. Okay. Speaking of Von Noyman, of course, in the late '50s, very early 1956, there was the debate ultimately short lived over whether the country should establish an institute for theoretical geophysics. And there was a meeting in Washington over the desirability of that. Do you recall being aware of that at the time?
Was that something that had crossed your horizons?
No, I really entered that — those circles when I was asked to serve on the Committee of Meteorology.
Right. I think that this is probably the appropriate time to talk about it. How did your involvement in that committee come about?
I don't know I was — I guess because I was — well, as you know, it was Wexler and Rikelderfern [?] — and they also, I think [???] on it. He was apprehensive about Orville's preoccupation with weather control.
And thought there should be an objective appraisal of this data knowledge and where it was going. Putting it together. And I presume it was because I'd been involved in the Compendium that when they started looking about people, I was probably the least famous of the people on the committee, because Dept [?] Braunt [?] put Berkner on as chair.
And because Braunt was extraordinarily perceptive about things. He either made Rosby the vice-chair or co-chair, or something like that.
And of course Von Noyman was on the thing too.
And Horace Byers [?] and —
Right. Booker was on —
Henry Booker and Jewel Charney.
No, Jewel came on later.
Oh, was it later that he was on?
Yeah, when Von Noyman died —
That's when you —
It was Von Noyman in charge when he died.
You're quite right. That's when. Yeah. Right.
And Charney was the logical one to —
And it was a tremendous addition.
Yeah. Was Hugh Drydon [?] an original member of the committee, or did he come on?
Yes. No, he was an original member, yes.
Right. And as you mentioned, Paul —
And from Scripps —
That's Carl —
Carl Electric [?].
Right. As you mentioned Paul Clopstick was on it.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
Edward Teller was on it for a time, too, wasn't he?
Yes. As a matter of fact, Edward was very important because when we got the report finished Dept Braunt invited us over to his home at Rockefeller Institute, then was a university later, for dinner, and so we sat or so Berkner has — I'd been involved in editorial work of the report, so Berkner asked me to brief Dept. And he was very interested. See, Dept had lost a boat in — I guess it was a '38 hurricane, or something — anyway, he felt we should [laughs] [???] but he was really a great man. It was deeper than that, of course, but that's the way he explained it. And — but he said, "Well now, I wonder what the universities think about this?" He says, "Get the universities together, before I release this report, I want to have the universities to [???] this thing." So we got the universities involved — 14 of them, including Woods Hole, and Scripps.
And Berkner couldn't attend for some reason and asked me to chair the thing.
And so Teller [?] joined us, well that was, you know, in '58 I guess. Yeah it was '58. Of course he was — that was almost the peak of his prominence. And he sat there and didn't say much a word. And big eyebrows, you know. [laughs]
Kind of a bulldog sitting there, passively, blessing the thing, but not saying much. Anyway, I always credit — I have a soft spot in my heart for Edward, because I know that he was a positive contribution to a positive outcome of that meeting. Just by —
By his presents —
By his presents.
— and authority as an individual.
Yeah. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
And that — it — we got a resolution out of them and Braunt was satisfied and let us go ahead and release the report. But that's how thoughtful Dept Braunt was.
Yeah. What were your impressions of Lloyd Berkner and —
Oh, tremendous. He was really a great man in my opinion.
How well did you get to know him during this period?
Quite well. He was, of course, the chairman. And we just seemed to hit it off together, and he kept asking me to do things and he was President of the American Geophysical Union at that time.
And I — he'd been there, of course the guiding spirit of the IGY and he was [???] he was the one who suggested it —
— basically, and —
I think he was also IKSUE [?] President around that same time, wasn't he?
That's right. That's Right. Yeah. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. And he got IKSUE involved in it because he was President of IKSUE. It was a logical thing.
It was a measure of Lloyd's greatness that he sets the need to have a scientific community formally a part of the thing. And have it done under the edges of a scientific organization in contrast to an inter-governmental organization. Not as superior but — in fact, I think it was my whole attitude on things that — it's extremely important to have the freedom and the creativity of a scientific community and the stability of an inter-governmental organization, and that's what made Garp [?] a success was those things.
Right. Right. The synergy of the two —
Yeah. That's right.
— was critical for the success of that.
So, anyway, we went to Halesinky [?] to the meeting of the International Union of [???] and Geophysics and while we were there, Lloyd said that "I'd like to have you serve as vice-president of AGU." Which, in those days, meant you were going to be a president sometime.
Exactly. So it was Lloyd Berkner who had played a very critical role.
How did you feel about that when you were asked for the —
Well, I was — I think already President of the American Meteorological Society, I thought, "My God, how much of a thing can you bare?" But no one ever said no to Lloyd, you know? He was just very persuasive, so, I did, and I was. And Lloyd had the idea that I ought to merge the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union.
And he'd done this with the IEEE, and IRE, or something like that. And so we got the whole gang together down in Florida and we almost did it, but Will Kellogg, I believe it was —
I don't know if he was an officer, and this was after I was — well, I guess I was still president. Anyway, I was involved in AMS but he dug in his heels and so it never came off.
Will Kellogg was in Rand [?] at that time, wasn't he?
Yes. Yes. That's right. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
What were Kellogg's arguments against the consolidating?
I don't — I don't — I never really understood them. I never [???] stood them. Will did some [???] you know, he was one of the people who identified the meteorological satellite.
He had a famous paper that — so that — and he never regained that peak. But that was a very important contribution. Anyway, that's the kind of thing Lloyd did.
Yeah. Now, I was curious about your role as AMS President. Did you feel that there were particular issues that you needed to address during the time of your tenure? This was the late '50s, as I recall.
Yeah. It was — I think I started in something around 1960 or something like that.
Maybe it was that then. Yeah.
There was a year or two overlap between the AMS and AGU.
Yeah. I think you're quite right, AGU you started before — you were president in '61.
Well, I was president in '63 because that's when we hosted the General Assembly of the International [???]
Yeah, that's right. Yes. And I think you started a little bit early than that.
Yeah. So, I think '62 was the year of overlap.
And Lloyd was — you know, the space thing came along then and —
— Lloyd was asked to chair the Space Science —
Space Science Board. SSB.
And also he was heavily involved and I got drafted to fill the shoes of the President of AGU at annual meetings and banquets, and things like that. So, I felt very close to Lloyd. He influenced me in a very profound way. He was very anxious that I take on the directorship of NCAR, and he wrote a letter to Jim Killian [?], and pushed it very hard, but I didn't anyway.
So you were able to say no to Lloyd at one point.
Yes. Yeah, yeah. Mm-Hum. Well, I looked into it, and Dept Braunt urged me and so did Jim Killian. Waterman was — I think that he probably had talked with Walt about that time, and I was into — [interrupted by a woman]
Sure, excuse me. [tape off then on]
As you were saying, Berkner had a major impact on Geophysics.
Oh, an enormous one.
Of course what he had done through the 1950s was to chair many panels —
— that were enormously influential.
That's right. That's Right. That's right. Mm-Hum. One after the other. He went in and did something with a catalyst and made things happen.
Yeah. Many of them were the MIT based studies.
Did he talk to you much about the earlier ones? Of course he was influential particularly in the report to the State Department in the 1950s.
Oh that was a classic, yes.
Yeah. Did he talk to you much about that at the time?
Yes. Lloyd was very vocal, and you know he'd talk with people and this committee work we'd have dinner and sit around the table talking and he was just an absolutely delightful person. Very stimulating to be around.
Stretch your mind. And thinking about. As you know, he was the one who set up this radar fence. What'd they call it? Doline [?]?
Yeah, The Air Defense System.
The Air Defense System?
You know it was — we'll I'm sure Allan's got all the stuff but it was killed, and he picked up those papers and run over and talked to Harry Truman himself, and it happened. [laughter]
Is that right?
Yes, sir. I'm sure Allan dug that up, but [???]
Yeah, yeah. Very interesting.
And he was one who conned Hugh Otoshoy [?] into being the Executive Officer of the whole IGY effort.
And he got Chapman to — he was wise enough to make Chapman the president, or whatever it was of the thing, because, you know?
Sidney Chapman clearly had an enormous effect in that role, and Nicolay [?] was also involved.
Yes, yes. Marcel [?] Nicolay. Yes, yeah.
Yeah. Did you know them pretty well by the end [???]
Oh yes. Chapman wrote an article — Chapman came out it was in a little office in five Joy Street in Boston, working on this thing.
Uh-Huh. The Compendium.
And Chapman came, and of course British he was warm blooded and he took off his coat and his sweater, and he couldn't stand the heat in there, and it was very interesting and we talked about Don Mendzel [?].
And of course, when Sidney came — Don found out he was coming, Don wanted to see him. Well, you know Don was of quite strong self-esteem, let's put it that way. [laughter]
A good way to put it.
And Iky [?] Boyd — and he had to walk all the way up to the fifth floor — there was no elevator, and he came puffing — you know he was a —
Anyway, I got my impression of Allan Mensome [?]. I got one impression of them. And then it turned out that we gave Sidney Chapman an award at the American Meteorological Society for something or other. We gave them the American Geophysical Union, for a couple of years I was getting Sidney Chapman an award, first president of this, and then as a president of that. [laughter] So, yes, I knew Sidney, and Marcel Nicolay, I knew him quite well. I think he — yeah, he was somehow involved in our Garp thing. I forgot just how. Anyway, I've known him for years. [laughter] I don't know, I'm just rambling.
No, I — this is about —
I flew over to Brussels.
For some kind of a IKSUE thing. And so I got there after flying all night, you know, and so we had some kind of symposium that afternoon, and Marcel gave a lecture. Of course, in French, and the King of Belgium was there and his wife. And here I was seated beside the Queen and the King.
And George Scrobin [?], the Chief Scientific Secretary of the Soviet Academy was on my left. And I couldn't keep my eyes open after flying all night, and I don't understand French, so he was going, "God," he's a very good lecturer, you know, so he was — [???] like this. George, "Tom! Wake up!"
That was the Queen's side that you were —
Yeah, so I told my wife that I slept with the Queen of Belgium once upon a time. [laughter]. I don't know whether she appreciates that — well, she understands. My favorite story, sleeping with the Queen — and having a scientific secretary with the academy saying, "Tom, Tom, wake up." And his wife's a delightful person, too. Mrs. Nicolay is.
He was elected the Foreign Associate Academy and treasured that very much.
Yes. Yeah. Well, I very much want to talk to you about Garp when we get a little bit further along in the 1960s.
You weren't that involved though in the American — the US National Committee of the IGY at all, were you?
No, no, no, no.
Yeah. I'm just wondering, in a general way what your impressions were about the actual exchange of data from all of the participating countries? In certain sections I've been reading that some were concerned about how well the data was coming? For example from China and from the Soviet Union? In meteorology do you recall what the situation was?
It was very good. There was a time when we didn't get data in China, but we got it, you know.
Yeah. Malone: [???] somewhere, I don't [???]. That's still a problem; in fact, I'm meeting with a new committee of the National Research Council on the 20th pushing at Data Flow. [laughter]
I thought I saw a smile on your face when I asked that.
Well, since you asked that.
Yeah. Certain problems in science don't end in any one period of time.
But meteorology has actually a great tradition, but it's a problem now, because people are using meteorological data selling services, you know, and it's a real problem. Because one of the strengths of the field has been free exchange —
— free exchange of data. And now some of the European countries are saying, "Hey, why should we provide you data which is commercialized by some of your people over there?"
So it's a problem.
Yeah. But it's privatization more than it is, say the earlier national security —
That's right. That's Right. Yeah. Uh-Huh. Uh-Huh.
— type concerns.
Yeah, it's privatization now.
Yeah. One of the — go ahead.
Well, during the war of course, it was a —
Oh, that's a different matter.
Yeah. The interesting thing is to see how much of the cold — of the World War II concern extended into the early cold war period. That's why I'd asked you the question earlier about whether any of that data that you had was seen as —
No, no major problem —
— in my own experience.
Yeah, yeah. On the — on the committee, on Berkner's committee —
— as debates over critical issues emerge, were issues like global warming and global climate change something that — were they discussed at all, that you recall by that period?
Global warming was not discussed per se. You see, Dave — what's the name? — at Scripps was just getting his —
Keeling [?] just started —
Charles David Keeling.
And we did, we were — in fact, if you read the Berkner Report it says that it would be a gross exaggeration to — you know, we [???] rendered a 1500 percent increase at research support.
To use weather — the ogre [?] of weather control as a basis.
But it goes on to say one should not exclude that entirely. And what happened there is that the shift took place almost unperceptively, but very sharply from the problems of controlling the weather.
Like changing the precipitation or —
— to — as a conscious intervention against a sort of inadvertent intervention.
And that's the big change that their placed in that period. But —
— in the — any —
This is the Berkner Report.
Berkner Report. Any reference to climate change needed to have this understanding. In fact, if you go back and read The Saturday Evening — or The Saturday Review, it's —
— description, understanding, prediction, and control.
And in fact that's what Paul Clopstick was talking about one time.
He said, "When I knew we'd read the — "
You mentioned earlier, when we were recording that he called you up to talk with you about that.
Yeah. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
And it was particularly about the —
Not that thing.
On that issue.
He was fascinated by that sequence, I don't know why, it was so elementary, you know I'm —
— I'm not the first one to think about it.
So, no, global warming was not an issue.
Yeah. Just out of curiosity, were you aware of — and clearly, some of these items were in fairly obscure journals at the time, but Colander's [?] Arguments for the 1930s.
Was that —
And Gilbert Ploss [?]. I don't know whether you followed him or not.
Yeah. And Ploss, yeah.
I was very impressed with his — I think Ploss' role in this has never been properly recognized, myself.
Mm-Hum. There's one interesting article, and I should — let me make a note to send that to you, where that work is discussed, by another historian of science. I've — I was just curious in a general sort of way, how — whether in preparing that report, do you recall whether there was a lot of discussion over how to define those ends that ultimately got into the Berkner Report? Or was there a fairly strong census right from the start, about how to treat issues?
No, we moved toward it, and it was sequential — the final decision was made in Washington. When Berkner saying, "Tom, I want you and Jewel to spend this evening and come back thinking about this and talking about it. And I want you to come back tomorrow morning and say, let's do it, or let's not do it." So Jewel and I were staying at the Roger Smith Hotel, which is — if you know them worth —
I don't know that one.
Well, it was a landmark there in 17 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's been torn down now. And we must have spent six hours not [???] just, you know, in pretty serious discussion and finally decided let's do it. So we went back and said, okay.
So we did it. But that was Lloyd's way of bringing things to a head.
Giving a deadline, putting a few key people together —
Yeah. And he turned to the two people who were probably most directly involved in the meteorological field then, we were card carrying —
Well, Horace was too, but —
— his particular role was the Education of Manpower part of that report. And — well, I remember that night very well.
What were the main issues that you were discussing, you and Jewel, during that period?
Go back to understanding the — [laughs] you know, this little farm boy from South Dakota wanted to understand why.
And unless we expand our knowledge and read my current stuff, you know that's what I'm — kick I'm on now even more.
It's that this — well, I call it the Cascade of Knowledge now.
And this is borrowed directly from Ernie Boyer's The Discovery, Intergradition [?] Simulation, Application of Knowledge, about matter of energy [???] and human behavior.
That's it. Now, we didn't think in just that term.
But we felt that this was absolutely essential, and that this was the best way that we knew to do it.
And the way we had it fashioned was that it would keep the university community, which is a cathodian of knowledge [???] in the picture. And I'm pretty sure that when Rike and Harry Wexler set this up that they had visions of a major governmental research initiative.
Although Rike certainly supported it, and we have a statement in the Blue Book — have you ever seen the Blue Book?
No, I haven't.
Oh you haven't?
I'd love to see it.
Oh, it was the bible, a book called Blue Book. We're getting ahead of ourselves. Well, that's after the Berkner Report.
Yeah. But this is now the early 1960s very close on that, isn't it? That you're referring to?
Yeah, well, it was the blue print for NCAR.
Yeah, so, yeah, late '50s or early '60s. Okay.
Yeah, you should — well, if you’re a Historian and interested in this thing, you should — I'll find — see if I can get a copy of it, they reprinted it in 1990. It was first issued in 1959, I think.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. I know that there's a copy of that at Princeton, but I haven't been able to get up there to see it.
It has the Berkner Report in it; it has the University Committee Report. It has the plans for the NCAR, the budget, the buildings, the aircraft facility. In fact, the reason they reprinted it in 1990 is, that you know, it's still a broad blueprint.
Yeah, yeah. And in part, because of it being an un — not fully realized blueprint.
That's right. That's Right. Mm-Hum.
Yeah. I was curious because, clearly, you have such a mix of different institutional players, Rikelderfern and Wexler represented the government and the Weather Bureau interest in the time, and the university players. Was that — was there much of a debate that you recall, over how to situate and structure a research center of sorts?
No, surprising little. At the New York being that Braunt had insisted we have, there was one objection that came from Woods Hole, I can't remember who it was — I don't think it was Columbus Islam was there. But there was surprising unit in the team. And of course, after the report came out, the university group formed their own university committee on meteorological research.
Or I guess they called it Atmospheric Research, and they looked at it, and of course, the big question was, would this big center bleed away the support of the universities?
Very real consideration. This was discussed at considerable length, and finally decided it wouldn't. And, of course, you know the membership of UCAR and the number of degree granting institutions has gone from 14 in those days to, oh, around 70 or something like that to date. So, it hasn't.
Right. That, of course, was something that Berkner was also involved in, having the Brook Haven Consortium as a model.
That's right. And as a matter of fact, in our deliberations he made sure that we met with Lee Hayworth.
In fact, we met at New York, as they had — Associate Universities had an executive office in Manhattan someplace, and Lee Hayworth came in and we spent a whole afternoon telling us how that worked, you know. And Lloyd was obviously — well, it's imperative Lloyd Berkner, you know, and [???] Associated Universities Brook Haven experience.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. And I gather he felt that this model would work without serious modification for meteorology?
That's right. That's Right. Yeah. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
That was something that Berkner clearly communicated to you during this period.
That's right. Mm-Hum. I'm sure he was the one that put Lee Hayworth in as Director of the National Science Foundation, because I remember he had to leave some meeting's that had become very, very important meeting in Washington, this was when Jim Kelly was the science advisor.
And a week or two later they announced Lee Hayworth as a successor to Allan Waterman.
And the report itself — of course, as you mentioned, Henry Houghten was chair.
And the report — you were one of the preparers and there were — Von Ox was also involved in that, and —
Bill and Roscoe Bram.
Yeah. How did you — was it a division among the sections of the report, or did each of you take turns in re-drafting the entire document? How did you resolve —
Bill did the — Bill did the architect of the — [laughs] you know he was [???].
He drew plans, you know, he had the whole thing designed. Of course, when Pay came along, you know quite different. Didn't look a lot like Bill but — and Roscoe had been involved in the thunderstorm project, so he addressed the facilities — the particular aircraft facilities.
So was it a distinction along operational and [???] lines.
One thing I'm curious about in general, clearly the sputnik launch was a catalyst for enormous expansion in various fields, IGY, helped — here's the whole thing.
Oh, thank you.
Let me just ask one quick question and then we can cut off the tape recorder and go directly into — (Woman: In case you have sugar withdrawal, there are some cookies.)
Oh, what are the cookies?
Looks like it could be brownies in there, doesn't it. Thank you.
Would you like some coffee?
Yeah. Why don't we — we'll stop. [tape off then on]
It was on a less than significant topic. We did of course break for lunch just a moment ago.
And the one question I had wanted to ask you regarding the report that led to NCAR and all those subsequent developments, because it was occurring at the same time in that post sputnik period were enormous federal funds began to go towards certain areas of space science. The oceanography panel was active at that time for consolidating support for oceanography. Was there a concern that atmospheric sciences were not getting sufficient support from the government as the effort began to expand globally towards other science disciplines?
Well, I don't think it was a visa v-them it was whether they were expanding or not, it was felt that we weren't developing this aspect of a science society in a relationship with the vigor that it should be developed in.
And you know, speaking about the Air Force Cambridge, there was a period back in 19 — I don't know '55 - '57, but there was a dramatic decline.
And that just played havoc with the university programs, you know we're facing something like that again, I think now.
Nationally, but the instability of support was almost worse than inadequate support. If you know what I mean?
Yes, I do. That was a complaint of many scientists at the time that someone would get a project started and then would have to end it because funding had ended.
And it was that dis-stability that — I know because I was involved with people that was.
All the department heads were concerned about them. And Houghten was very concerned.
So, no I wouldn't say that it was the envy of other areas moving ahead, it was — we just fortunately got on this area.
What it should do, regardless of what others did or did not do.
That was honestly not all [???] that honestly the way it was supposed to be.
And I was there enough to know what was in people’s minds.
Let me see if I can find — I just want you to take a look at that blue book [???] [tape off then on]
It's clearly a significant document. We were talking a moment ago about design and formation of NCAR. Was there any significant debate over the ultimate structure and size of the — of what becomes NCAR, among the committee members, or was that also one of the areas that there really was pretty strong uniformity and viewpoints? For example, you propose that by 1965 there ought to be about 108 scientists on board that there would be focused research on particular problems from cloud physics to aspects of the general circulation.
We had about a five year horizon.
And I think we got to a minimum of $15 million was what the figure was at the end of that time. But you know the thing's a hundred million dollars a year now?
And you see we got working groups together you see these areas.
Took them up to the mountain top outside Hartford there, we had a cliff house. Travelers had a cliff house they made available to us. Took them up there and had about a day and a half, or two day session — over night session.
And so there was — we'd reached in the community and defined each of the areas that should be looked at.
And got from five to ten people together for a couple days to really — So, when we got through we had a consensus.
And though there was not much debate about that at all.
Right. Did you have a sense of what the budget would actually be as you began to put together the proposal, say, for the permanent number of airplanes that would be —
Oh, yeah, yeah, Roscoe did a beautiful job of that. Yes. Oh yes, yeah.
And this was a sense of what would be forth coming from the government —
— in so doing so it was all worked out within that parameter of reasonable probability of —
No, there were not prior consultations with the government. The plan was drawn up.
And it said, "This is what —"
That's what I was asking about, whether you — whether — how — whether at that time, you felt that you could reasonably ask for —
— the full proposal and hope to have that funded?
And clearly those are the times when one could do that.
Yeah. You see we had governor's resolutions, we had Mary's resolutions, we had a big clam bake at New York, the city investment company put on a great big dinner. Dept Braunt came up — flew up from Washington, landed in a 200 ft. ceiling, came in, I was panicked, because he was the principal speaker, and he was a great speaker. I don't know if you've ever heard him or not, but oh boy.
I haven't heard him.
Put up the flag up there, you know. Talk about Norman Cousins, Dept didn't think about for five minutes.
And we had this guy, Bob Dollin, who used to run the City Investors — if you know your power structure in New York. And they got them all together we had close to 500 people there in the business industry, and well, we had a statement issued to college presidents, you know, and a statement of Killing — the science adviser. And a statement of Rikelderfern, you know?
So believe me, the case was made and the figures were credible and realistic. And then we patched it all up. And then of course, Paul Clopstick, bless his heart, made this eloquent plea out at Jackson Hole. Mainly it was possible to do that in those days. You couldn't do that today.
Well, the funding environment was very different to then.
The funding environment was absolutely different now.
Was there any expectation of industrial funding for what became NCAR at the time?
No, not — well, maybe a little bit of talk about it, but —
It wasn't really a —
It was meant as a government funded operation.
That's right. That's Right. In fact, the Berkner Report fingered the National Science Foundation.
Yeah. Yeah. As it was interesting to find some of the early documents of the IGY that there was even then consideration of foundation support, for the development of geophysics.
Well, I did know —
I was just curious — the pre and post sputnik funding environments are, of course, very different.
So, it's good to hear —
But you know foundation support is not in that mode. They like to get things going.
And unless they can see someone else carrying it on, they're very cautious about getting it started.
Precisely. Operational expenses are not what foundations want to be involved in.
No, no, no. In garp — well, we're getting ahead of ourselves.
But not by much.
Alright. The key was a 75 thousand dollar grant from the Ford Foundation.
Yeah. I wanted to ask you about that, because that was a critical step in — absolutely critical —
Absolutely, because without that, we would be the poor boy knocking at the door. When we had that, we could do some things. And I went down and talked to this guy at the Ford Foundation, and —
Carl Borgman [?], I believe that was?
Borgman, yes. Gosh, you know everything. And he was, you know, less than possessive. So I wrote him a letter.
You had known Borgman prior to the meeting?
I had him.
So then he got on the phone and he called Davies in Switzerland, and talked with a few people around here, and came through with $75 thousand. In fact, this is one of the pieces — I have the letter from Jim Harrison, who was the President of Vic's [?] at that time, acknowledging this graph.
And Carl Borgman was the guy who did it. I don't know how he did it; it was more of an officer's grant, so I don't know how it did it. That made it possible to go to Stockholm and really draw up the plan.
And — well, anyway, absolutely critical. We could not have got this merger of the year, or wedding, or whatever it is, of the non-engeo [?] climate community and the inter-governmental apparatus without that. It was the first time Bert Boling [?] and I went to Stockholm. We were called in and interrogated by the staff. They were suspicious because they had their own committee.
But they didn't have any ideas. And Walt sat on that committee, he was a liaison — Walt Roberts. We had all the ideas. Of course we had Charney. You know Charney was a — if you want to single out a person who was the intellectual driver, it was Jewel Charney.
And I was sort of — so to make it happen. And that'd be the only thing that would have to been to have nothing. That's — I [???] foundation sent me.
Yeah, no, but was Ford Foundation the single likely candidate for that kind of funding at the time or did other foundations come to mind?
Well, I was very naive I didn't know about foundations. I knew there was a Ford Foundation.
Somehow or another I had a —
I was just wondering how you thought of Ford Foundation? Because they had only gotten into science funding in the mid-1950s —
— for the first time.
I don't recall how we happened on Ford.
You didn't have contact, for example, with anyone else in the Ford Foundation, like Paul Hoffman [?], or others —
— who worked in the regard of policies?
And the guys who were so active in the environment later, I don't think they're even on board. What's his name's in New York now. I had never met Carl Borgman before.
And I don't know who he talked to.
We have some kind of way to get in there, but not a Paul Hoffman.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Okay. That's interesting. You had planned in the design of NCAR, for chemical, physical, mathematical — chemical, physical laboratories, mathematical facilities. Was there any concern on the part of any of the people involved with you on that of keeping the inter-connectedness, keeping the interdisciplinary —
— of NCAR? How — I'm just wondering what thoughts there were as to how to sustain the lengths in developing an institution that would be so interdisciplinary at the time?
One of the reasons for that is that you can do that easier at that kind of institute than you can at a university.
You know the problems in university. Even MIT. They've got more disciplinary laboratories than most — I think probably more than any of the universities in the country — any other research university in the country. Cornell is one of them, too.
Indeed they do.
Yes, you'll find the word interdisciplinary in the Berkner Report. I'm still mouthing that word, damn near 40 years later [laughs].
Where it remains — it was certainly a major issue in the early 20th Century even at the time that you were born, it began to come about as a critical question.
Yeah. Are you familiar with Boyer's Scholarship Reconsidered?
You should get that. He's right there in Princeton. And it's at the Carnegie Foundation for the Bachelor Teaching. When I talk about discovery, integration, dissemination, application, that's straight out of Boyer.
I elaborate a little bit.
Right. Right. Right. No, I do recall you meant — seeing that citation in your writing.
And I think as a historian of science, I would say that that's a seminal document. And it's just interesting. And he writes well.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. That's quite so.
Oh, that's right; you're not at Princeton, are you?
Had been. I rather miss being on that campus as well. You mentioned earlier, and I wanted to get back to a little bit about your efforts in AGU, and you mentioned already, of course, Lloyd Berkner's role in bringing you on board, and in AGU. When you became —
I think I'll tell you —
Interesting. I was putting, you know, there are sections of AGU?
And sections of meteorology.
So I was put up for president of that thing. Vice President, maybe it was, I don't know.
You were first put up as Vice President, then became — I'm looking at my notes here — now you were elected President of AGU in '61.
Yeah. Right. But I was elected, I think it was the Vice President of the Section of Meteorology.
And the guy who I ran against was Bernard Horrowitz.
Is that right?
Well, you know, it's very hard to beat a text book author. [laughter] And, do you know, I won by one vote?
Is that right?
Yeah. This marvelous guy, Jay Murray Mitchell, you probably never met him —
I've heard the name.
— he's a real gentlemen. Just a — he happened to be the ballot counter — he counted the ballots. And since we're old friends, he said, "Tom, I think you'd be interested to know you won by one vote." [laughter] And if I hadn't won by that one vote at — down there the vice president of the section, which made me eligible for president and then I was president of that section, so —
— you know, Lloyd's — Lloyd had a way to get this, what he wanted anyway.
Yeah, right. And this was year, to year, to year increments, wasn't it?
Yeah. And so one vote over my mentor and the author of a famous text book. Well, talk about chaos. Little things — wings of a butterfly.
[???] through the system, indeed.
Forgive me for getting off on these.
[rattling of paper, can't hear what he says] What I'm curious about, in general, by 1961 for the time that you became president, one of the critical issues you had to deal with, was the General Assembly in Berkeley, in 1963. Were there other — and I want to talk about that in a moment — but were there other critical issues that you felt AGU needed to address in that period of time? There was controversy, for example, over whether a separate space science division ought to be set up in the union, or its elements absorbed within the spectrum of existing sections.
Noise, noise. It's the kind of thing that goes on all the time.
No, I think — you see, Lloyd had revolutionized AGU, so you know, really.
He started the JGR. Got Phil Ableson [?] to come in and —
Phil Ableson and Jack from Kansas, anyway, they were creditors [?]. But Phil was the —
— driving [???] of that, and of course that — you know, deep from transactions to the JGRs —
— and that's opened up all the stuff that Spillie's [?] son is doing now.
So, they didn't need another revolution. [laughs] But —
So you saw your role more as maintaining a ship that was already —
But I was also pulling off a credible general assembly —
— you know, and that was a big thing.
I wanted to ask, particularly about — there were difficulties for many of the unions to have meetings in the United States. Particularly in the late '50s, but it continued into the early '60s. You had the unrecognized Rosheem [?] problem.
I had to fly to Paris to get that resolved, because Balusof [?], who was President of the IAGG —
— was absolutely adamant that it would be cancelled if — and I forget now, it was either unless East Germany got in, or Taiwan got in. I forgot which one it was.
But he was going to cancel the whole thing. And so I went over and met with Georges Locklavere [?], who was the Secretary General of IAGG.
And his son-in-law, Mike Baker, who eventually became the guru of IKSUE and we sat around in Georges' apartment for about mid-night, and finally got a hold of Balusof. I don't remember how we worked — anyway we worked it out. But it was that close to having the whole thing cancelled. So, no, there wasn't much room for Jenny got revolution.
And you had things like that. And even when we got there, we had the — what you had on the badge, you know?
Yes. Oh, I'm, I'm —
How helpful, or otherwise, was the State Department at that time? Walt Whitman was the science advisor, wasn't he?
Oh he was a [???] guy. Yeah. Mm-Hum. Wally Atwood was the — not — yeah.
Wally Atwood was on the —
He was on the academy side. The International Relations Office at the academy.
Not the, not the Wally Atwood, the —
At least he had been in the 1950s.
The big heavy-set Wally. The great big fat guy.
I think so.
Yeah. No, there was another guy, what was his name? He was the State Department man. He worked [???] in IGY. He was the man inside the government. What the hell — Joyce. Wally Joyce.
Yes. Yes. Right.
And, of course, Walt Whitman is a prince of a guy. He'd been chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT.
Mm-Hum. Had you known him during that time?
Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But — and met Rikelderfern on board. And what Rikelderfern did was, he'd ginned up a fund to put that thing on, and went around and passed the hat and got every agency to put in $25 thousand. As a matter of fact, he gathered so much money, we couldn't spend it all. And today that's funding some kind of a — you know there's a residue in — I think —
Well, that's interesting, and it's still — the legacy is going [laughter] [???]
But Rike really left no stone unturned to — you know, inside the government, he really got the USGS, and pretty soon $25 thousand, here, we had $200 thousand.
Right. But was there any particular position that the State Department felt it had to make upon unrecognized Rozeems, and so on?
Yeah, that's right. That was our problem, you know. And keeping the Balusofs happy, and keeping the State Department happy [laughs] that was a full time job.
Because they had Taiwan in one hand, and — no, no, it was PRC, they wanted Taiwan, and the Soviets didn't want Taiwan.
And they wanted East Germany, and we didn't want East Germany. You know?
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Do you recall how that was resolved? Those were the two critical —
Oh yes it was a little something on the badge. Germans, I think, had to have a little GDR down here, and I don't remember how the Taiwan's resolved, anyway, the guy from Taiwan was there.
Balusof and his wife stayed the whole time.
Yeah. How strong was atmospheric science or geophysics in general, in Taiwan by the early 1960s?
Not very strong. The guy that came was a joker, in my opinion.
Yeah. There was a similar situation —
Juan something or other.
— in astronomy in the results of the Berkeley meeting for the IAU in 1961, with those issues were equally in the floor, so to speak. One question — this relates to this period of time, I didn't mean for it to be out of sequence — how did people who stayed at MIT, Houghten, or any of the successors, feel about the eventual consolidation of meteorology into the earth sciences once the grain bequest went to MIT? Did they see this as a positive development, or were there anxieties over what the integration would mean?
I don't know what Houghten's view. I know that Bob White —
— who sat on some kind of visiting committee up at MIT, or on a cooperation, or something.
He was quite distressed when they sort of submerged the Department of Meteorology, to whom we all had a certain nostalgic affection, you know?
Into geophysics, or whatever it was. But I never detected any bitterness on Houghten's part. So, I think it — when this thing generally go at MIT they somehow maneuver these things so that no one gets mad — too mad.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Did you feel that it had any adverse effect on meteorological research at MIT? The consolidation?
No. I don't. I think that it is maturing, and it's — it dissolved or eroded some of the parochialism, or isolation of the meteorological community from the communities in which it's embedded.
Mm-Hum. So then it opened up more interest, perhaps, or at least more consideration of cross coupling from [???].
Yeah, see meteorology is quite different now than it was 40 years ago.
Yeah. Right. Right.
It's all interrelated in this whole physical, chemical, biological, system. And, well, I'm sure you run into this Brotherton [?] Report. The Earth System Science, have you run into that thing?
Yeah. See, that's a step on the way. So, that's the way things are going in the future.
Clearly so. One thing that was certainly an issue in this period, you elude to it in one of your articles in Science, on — by the weather modification. I think that was 1967. About the deliberate or inadvertent attempts to modify the climate. I'm wondering if part of that concern was over continued military research on weather modification. Or whether it was — you meant by that, more the what became Killing's evidence of potential of the —
Yes, yes, the latter.
It was the latter.
Yeah. I was concerned about the military more where there was some possibility of weather control. And we finally got Sigmore [?] Pell [?] to — you know, there's a UN resolution, you know —
— I think that we'd adhere to the non-something use of — non-military use of environmental and weather, or something like that.
It was a treaty of some kind that Clayborn [?] was very —
Yeah. Interesting. Yeah.
I remember testifying once at his committee.
When was that? The Pell Resolution, to the UN?
About that time. About '68 something like that.
Sixty-eight or there abouts. And when were you more concerned about weather control by the military? Did you mean in the 1950s, or up to that period?
No, in the '60s, yeah.
Sixties, until then.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum.
In general — realizing that you wouldn't necessarily have access to all of military research, did you have a sense — a clear sense of what the military was attempting to do on its own research programs of that sort?
Well, it's hard. I had a top secret clearance in the '70s and I was familiar with the concerns in the CIA about this type of thing.
General Louis De Flores was very much interested in this kind of thing. But if there was black a program, I didn't know about it.
And it had to be fairly black or I would have, because there's that kind of communication, you know, all over.
Yeah. The community isn't all that large, too, to not know of one or two members.
No, no, no, no.
Yeah. Of course that sort of thing was a concern for Lloyd Berkner as well, in the issue of Science and the State Department.
That's one of the things that I meant to ask you, had Lloyd ever talked about other parts of that State Department Berkner Report, the secret supplement, for example, to it?
Okay. Okay. And as we've discussed off tape, I know that we're going to be running out of time, and I just have a few more questions that I wanted to ask you before we bring this session to a close. You mentioned a moment ago about you’re becoming involved in the National Academy the Foreign Secretaries Office working under Harrison Brown. How did that come about, when you and Roger Ravel became initially under the deputy of the Foreign Secretaries Office?
Well, it came about as a result of the IAGG meeting. Harrison Brown was very pleased with the outcome. And I happened to be the point man, you know?
And so Harrison said, "Hey, I want you involved." And so there was a thing called the Committee of International Organizations and Programs.
Which was sort of an advisory to the International Affairs, and I sat on that when they had a chairman from Texas — what was his name? Chemist. Anyway —
We can put that on the record.
Yeah. Noise. Al — Albert Noise.
Was chairman of that thing.
And I don't remember exactly when I was put on it before or after Berkeley. And then I began going to the General Assemblies of IKSUE every two years with Harrison, and sooner or later I was chairman of that International Organization Programs Committee, and Roger Ravel was Chairman of the Board and Science Technology for National Development.
And Harrison decided he wanted to have, you know, there was some symmetry there.
Right. Right. Right. Did you — go ahead.
And then I was elected to the academy in something like '68 I guess.
Yes, indeed. How much direct contact did you have then, with Roger Ravel over substantive issues in International Relations.
[laughs] Well, when I was President of AGU, I was a representative AGU on the US Commission for National Commission of [???].
That this grand old guy Branscom [?], who's President of Vanderbuilt [?] — What was his name? You know Lou Branscom?
Was the chairman of the thing. And I guess I made enough noise or something but anyway, his term was up, so he asked me to, you know, would I?
So I did. And Roger was very much involved and Roger, you know, because the Oceanographic thing in Munesco [?] is very important. There are two things in the International Center — SCORE [?], which is an IKSUE thing, and there's a mechanism in the Munesco, and I can't.
Again, we can — I have that.
You know the one I mean.
And of course, Roger had a hand in both of those.
And he was got a lot of things done. Well, again it was a SCORE and this thing interacting.
There was a little tension once in a while. So, we had a good time, and — anyway, Roger talked me into it. Between Roger and Branscom. So, from then on, Roger and I worked together extremely close. Just like Jewel Chaney and I worked together. Extremely closely.
Mm-Hum. Mm-Hum. Was Roger Ravel easy or difficult to work with on such issues? In your experience.
He was delightful to work with. Just difficult enough to make it interesting.
I count him as just a marvelous colleague.
And my wife and I have traveled with Roger and Ellen, Pugwash [?], and IKSUE.
So you gave a range of social and special contacts with him at that point.
Yes, yes, yes, yeah, yeah. Mm-Hum. My wife and Ellen are very, very close friends.
Okay. That's good to know. Let me — there are a number of questions I won't ask you now, about the 1960s, given that our time is short, and we'll cover those in the subsequent interview. Let me just ask — and close and ask a little bit more about the 1967 article in Science that you — on Weather Modification, Implications of the New Horizons in Research. It was written, of course, not long after the NSF had its special commission on weather modification —
Which I sat on.
— and the AAAS panel. I'm wondering, what — clearly when one writes an article of this sort, that's covering general terms there's a number of objectives that you hope to get across to the readers of science, the broader community that will be interested in that, and I'm wondering, in a general way, what you wanted to make sure that article accomplished when you wrote that?
That it show on both sides of that sort. It's — if the [???] had been — bare in mind at that time the Russians were making great claims about hail modification.
As a matter of fact, we had a big [???] program in [???] on Emery [?] Hail Program. In the days of Ran, remember Ran?
And if they had been realized, it would have been another kind of dimension of the interaction of science and society. And I thought that should be brought out. It was a consciousness raising effort.
Right. If I understand right one critical issue then, that all of you shared was whether indeed the Soviets had succeeded to the degree that some of the claims were made about? Or was it —
No, I was more impressed with the fact that as we talked quite frankly with Federof [?]
Who was — he was a believer.
And they kept saying, "We can do it." And it was not so much a military weapon, but dog gone, if they can do it, there must be something there, we should at least know how to do it.
Yes. Yes. Yeah.
It was more that than it was are they going to use that as a club?
Indeed, that makes sense, and I know what you mean. Right. Right. So that it becomes — in that instance, it then becomes a fundamental scientific question —
— of, if indeed those results are valid.
And it would have practical implications. I mean, as a boy in South Dakota, I saw years ruined with a single hail storm.
Right. And this —
I served as an advisor to the Crop Hail Insurance Association, it was a federal thing, so I knew all about hail. [laughter]
All of this is something that I want to get into when we particularly focus on environment issues in the next interview. But let me just close with a very general question. Clearly by this point, your writings discussing environmental issues and in an environmental framework in a way that we'd recognize in later times. Was that point of view becoming — in your view — widely accepted by that point? Or did you feel that you were somewhat different — out from many of your colleagues in making those arguments.
Well, that's not — conscious consideration is a better term than profit.
Clearly you've —
[???] cutting issues on the interface between science and society, they're still not resolved. Not at all, no.
This would be a good spring board to think about getting back into this when we resume at a future occasion. But, let me — and indeed there are issues that still are not resolved. We'll cover that in the second interview. At the moment, I want to thank you very much for the long session that we've had today. And this — we will of course, and this should go on the tape, not make this tape available to anyone or its transcript without your expressed knowledge and approval as defined in the permission forms that we will be sending you, regarding the interview.