1.4 An academic family tree of the tropical meteorology community

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 4:15 PM
Room 19B (Austin Convention Center)
Robert E. Hart, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL; and J. Cossuth

An academic family tree of the tropical meteorology community has been created through the aggregation of thousands of pieces of historical information. Archived information includes an individual's alma mater for his or her highest degree, year of that degree, and advisor/major professor. The first draft of the tree was presented at the 30th AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology in April 2012, and was a huge success. Information was solicited through numerous means: professional discussion lists, direct contact with university historians, and web searches (including obituaries, encyclopaedic entries, and library dissertation records).

The tree is evolving as additional information is received, and its current scope exceeds 1,000 scientists. In its current form, the tree extends back to 1822, although that break point is subjective as most branches back to the 19th century can be extended further backward for centuries into the classical mathematics and physics lineages. There are a handful of variously sized roots into the tree, including: J. Muller (and his student Helmholtz, grandstudent Hertz, and great-grandstudent V. Bjerknes), E. Routh (and his student Lord Rayleigh and grandstudent J. J. Thomson), J. Straton, S. Syono, F. Ludlam, E. Palmen, H. Armstrong, and H. Panofsky, among others. While the field of tropical meteorology has its roots in the above scientists, it flowered through Rossby's student Herbert Riehl .

In this presentation we discuss the process by which the tree was created, the structure of the tree itself, key historical benchmarks in the history, and estimates on percentages of the tree that are attributable to key figures such as Rossby, Riehl and Charney. We plan to also present some of the most memorable anecdotes on historical figures that many academic offspring have shared. It is apparent that the tree has considerable overlap with branches of other meteorology subdisciplines, including mid-latitude meteorology, numerical weather prediction, and climatology. Consequently, we suggest a family tree of the entire meteorology community be pursued, using this work as a starting point. Separate from this talk, the family tree will be available as a large poster either in the Exhibit Hall or in the lobby outside the presentation rooms, and forms will be available for those who wish to add their information to the tree.

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