1.4 The American Meteorological Society and the National Science Foundation—Common Goals in the Service and Support of Science for the Benefit of Society

Monday, 13 January 2020: 9:15 AM
104A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Richard A. Anthes, UCAR, Boulder, CO

The AMS began in 1919 with a membership of about 600 coming mainly from the U.S. Signal Corps, the U.S. Weather Bureau and some enthusiastic weather hobbyists. At this time the AMS created the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as a supplement to the Monthly Weather Review, which was published by the Weather Bureau.

The NSF may said to have begun with a letter from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Vannevar Bush in 1944: “The information, the techniques, and the research experience developed by the Office of Scientific Research and Development and by the thousands of scientists in the universities and in private industry should be used in the days of peace ahead for the improvement of the national health, the creation of new enterprises bringing new jobs, and the betterment of the national standard of living.”

At this time, Professor C.-G. Rossby was president of the AMS. Rossby led the development of the AMS first scientific journal, the Journal of Meteorology, marking the beginning of a long and productive history of advancing science through the production of serious peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Both the AMS and the NSF have played crucial roles in the development and nurturing of scientists and educators in this country and abroad. In my talk, I present examples of how these remarkable institutions have advanced my career, and the career of thousands of other atmospheric scientists and teachers, through their support of science, education, diversity, and international scientific relations. Though very different institutions, this support of common goals links them in fundamental ways for the betterment of human life and welfare.

Looking forward, the challenges facing the AMS, NSF and science in general should not be underestimated. The environment today is very different from 1944, with a fragmented society, much of which distrusts science and education and makes up and believes its own set of “facts.” Meeting these challenges will require strong leadership and hard work at many levels. We look to the AMS, NSF and other institutions to be focal points in the effort to restore confidence and support of science, education, and international cooperation.

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