Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

INVENTING ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE by James Rodger Fleming

  • Written by  Mick Herron
  • Published in Books
INVENTING ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE by James Rodger Fleming
07 Aug
2016
Every generation, writes Fleming, has felt itself on the brink of decoding the mysteries of ‘the ocean of air’ we live beneath

Initially, the goal was to be able to travel through it safely; subsequently, there’s been a drive to understand the damage we’re doing to it. Fleming’s book is both a study of the science of meteorology and the biography of three men responsible for broadening its reach throughout the 20th century.

Along the way, there are glimpses into the scientific hinterland: the obstacles to female involvement (Vilhelm Bjerknes’ wife Honoria, the first female maths student at Kristiana University, ‘was never able to pursue her interest in numbers and geometry other than through embroidery’), and the rivalry between practitioners – returning from a conference, Bjerknes wrote of an Asian scientist that ‘the turban and the oriental eloquence have been good cards in his hand’. Like many a scientist before him, Bjerknes perhaps focused too strongly on his own concerns – ‘I hope,’ he wrote in 1914, ‘that the most unnecessary and most cruel of all wars shall not disturb the work which I am performing.’

Carl-Gustaf Rossby speny much of his career working for the American Weather Bureau, making the skies safe for aeroplanes, a task not made easier by ‘free spirits’ such as Charles Lindbergh ignoring his ten-day forecasts. The American Wexler, meanwhile, – known as ‘Hurricane Harry’ after being flown into a hurricane to observe its effects at close hand – was a pioneer of ‘trajectory studies of radioactive debris’, and helped confirm the first Soviet nuclear test in 1949. This is a comprehensive account of meteorological breakthroughs and those who made them.

This review was published in the August 2016 edition of Geographical magazine.

Click here to purchase Inventing Atmospheric Science by James Rodger Fleming from Amazon

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe to Geographical!

University of Winchester

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    Hung out to dry
    Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for mill...
    REDD+ or Dead?
    The UN-backed REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme, under which developing nations would be paid not to cut dow...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Exhibitions

We all have to live with buildings, but getting the…

Books

by Bruno Latour • Polity Books • £12.99 (hardback)

Books

edited by Fearghal O’Nuallain • Summersdale • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Francis Fukuyama • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Pascal Bruckner • Polity Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Kevin Begos • Algonquin Books • £20.99 (hardback)

Books

by Karl Schlögel (translated by Gerrit Jackson) • Reaktion Books • £18 (hardback)

Films

Space race biopic tries to uncover the real Neil Armstrong,…

Exhibitions

Four new galleries at Royal Museums Greenwich explore Britain’s maritime…

Books

by John Foot • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Deborah Baker • Chatto & Windus • £25 (hardback)

Books

By Lucy Seigle • Trapexe • £12.99/£6.99 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin • Pelican • £8.99 (paperback)

Books

by Christoph Baumer • IB Tauris • £30 (hardback)

Books

by Charles Lane • River Books • £40 (hardback)

Books

by Graham Hoyland• William Collins • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Dr Lucy Jones• Doubleday Books • £19.99 (hardback)

Books

by Daniel Pinchbeck• Watkins • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Jasper Winn • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Nathan H Lents • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £16.99…