NCAR at 50: A 37–year perspective

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010: 2:00 PM
B303 (GWCC)
Robert Serafin, NCAR, Boulder, CO

I will introduce this talk with a short history of the events and people that brought me to NCAR. I will discuss the roles that friends and colleagues played as I moved through the labyrinth of atmospheric science including its famous scientists, many key but not famous people, and the role of funding agencies.

I came as an engineer with little understanding of the breadth of the atmospheric sciences, or of the multifaceted mission of NCAR, its governance, or the unique partnership among the universities, NCAR, and the NSF. I learned quickly the many nuances of research at NCAR, the critical role of facility support and NCAR's prominence as a national and international center of excellence in the atmospheric sciences.

Through the years NCAR's research, activities, programs, organizational structure, and funding, broadened in ways that were fully consistent with the vision of the founding fathers and their institutions. Often this broadening was met with some resistance and concern from the community. The university governance and strong sense of ownership by the universities and the National Science Foundation have been central to NCAR's continued success. Several programs and events have been particularly noteworthy and will be discussed.