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January 15, 2011 History of the AOSC Academic Program

Summary: 1
January 15, 2011
History of the AOSC Academic Program
The association of Helmut E. Landsberg (1906-1985), world-renowned climatologist,
with meteorology at University of Maryland is rather widely known1
. But the origins of
the present Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science can be traced back to the
beginnings of computational fluid dynamics and efforts by Joe Smagorinsky in the 1960s
to move NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory to a university campus. Here
Professor Alan Faller, who came to the University of Maryland having already done
fundamental research on rotating fluids, recounts these early events:
1. The Background.
In the 1950s a group of dynamic meteorologists working at Princeton University under the supervision
of mathematician John von Neumann (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann) had produced the
first large-scale numerical model of the atmosphere using the famous Eniac computer. This group
included such notables as Jule Charney, Norman Phillips, George Platzman, George Cressmman, and
Joseph Smagorinsky. When this unit disbanded in the mid 1950s Charney and Philips went to M.I.T.,
Platzman returned to the University of Chicago, and Cressman became Director of the Joint Numerical
Weather Prediction (JNWP) unit representing both civilian and military branches of the U.S.
Government. Von Neumann brought Joseph Smagorinsky to the University of Maryland where his


Source: Anisimov, Mikhail - Institute for Physical Science and Technology & Department of Chemical Engineering and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Maryland at College Park


Collections: Physics; Materials Science