An Introduction to Joach Kuettner—A Renaissance man of meteorology

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 11:00 AM
B203 (GWCC)
Richard A. Anthes, UCAR, Boulder, CO

Joach Kuettner was born on September 21, 1909 in Breslau, Germany. My challenge in these few minutes is to briefly review the one hundred year history of this remarkable man. Inheriting a love and interest in nature from his father, Joach was introduced to meteorology in Finland while visiting Professors Erik Palmén and Vilho Väisälä. His doctorate thesis from the University of Hamburg was on the first description and theoretical explanation of mountain waves, a passion that continues to this day. He has studied these beautiful waves in every possible way – riding them to record altitudes in gliders, probing them using instrumented aircraft, and more recently interpreting numerical simulations of them.

Recognized for his extraordinary organizational skills and ability to successfully design and carry out complex projects, Joach has held a variety of important leadership positions, including Chief of Zugspitze Mountain Observatory in the Alps, Director of the Sierra Wave Project, Director of Project Mercury at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Chief Scientist at the National Satellite Center in Washington, and Director or senior scientist of many international field programs such as BOMEX, GATE, Winter and Summer MONEX, ALPEX, GALE, TAMEX, TOGA-COARE, CEPEX, MAP, and most recently (2006) T-REX.

At a luncheon speech in 1963, which was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Joach asked the question, “Shall I stick to the field which is close to my heart and which I am an expert in? Or shall I try to keep up with the fast moving front of research at the risk of appearing ignorant and inexperienced? Of course, the first alternative is the more comfortable one. But I think that, once you have decided not to leave your snug den, you have provided yourself with the best definition of growing old.”

By Joach's own definition, he remains a young man today. I consider it an honor and a privilege to call him a colleague and friend, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce him to you today.