Thompson describes his career in numerical meteorology. He discusses attitudes of the early 1940s, including those of Victor Starr and Jules Charney, towards the work of L. F. Richardson and the possibilities of predicting the weather numerically. He describes the Numerical Meteorology Project at the Institute for Advanced Study and the roles of Charney and John von Neumann in that project, partly from his first-hand experience there in 1946-47. Next he recounts the activities of the meteorology research group he organized at the Cambridge Air Force Research Center and the calculations they did in the early 1950s on electromechanical calculators and on an IBM 701. He describes the establishment of the Joint Numerical Weather Prediction Unit in Washington, and his work there from its founding in 1954 until 1958. Thompson discusses the U.S. Air Force research center he established in Sweden in association with the work being conducted at the Institute of Meteorology at the University of Stockholm. He then recalls how he left Stockholm in 1960 to become associate director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His interview concludes with some general comments about recent research in numerical meteorology and the revolutionary impact of the computer on meteorology.
Philip Duncan Thompson, OH 125. Oral history interview by William Aspray, 5 December 1986, Boulder, Colorado. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. http://purl.umn.edu/107668
Transcript, 40 pp. Audio file available at http://purl.umn.edu/95488
Thompson, Philip Duncan.
Oral history interview with Philip Thompson.
Charles Babbage Institute.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.
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