A woman in weather we should all know

My NWC lanyard with all the shiny trinkets.

At the National Weather Center, we are required to wear ID at all times for security purposes. Over the years, many of us have collected lanyard-swag like strange birds collecting shiny things for our nests. Last week at AMS, my friend Jamison Hawkins of Lockheed Martin (they funded my first year of graduate study via the AMS-Lockheed Martin fellowship) gave me the upper right button showing a woman’s face. He asked me to wear it, and hopefully people will ask me who she is, because we should all know who she is.

At the Lockheed Martin booth at AMS, Jamison Hawkins gave a quick presentation to a mixed group of Lockheed Martin employees and various fellowship winners about the woman on the button, Ann Louise Beck. In summary, Ann Louise Beck traveled to Norway in 1920 to study at the Bergen School of Meteorology, famous in our science’s history. Ann Louise Beck was two years older than Carl-Gustaf Rossby, a name all meteorologists know. They were part of the same exchange program (except she was first), and they actually overlapped for a shot time at Bergen. They both worked to bring the Bergen methods and understanding back to the US, her thesis and publication on the topic coming many years earlier than Rossby’s. Today, we only know Rossby’s name. There are many reasons for this I’m sure, some innocent enough, some not so much. In any case, we should all know her name today.

Read more about Ann Louise Beck in an excerpt from Inventing Atmospheric Science: Bjerknes, Rossby, Wexler, and the Foundations of Modern Meteorology by James Rodger Fleming which was published in AMS’s BAMS journal