Storms Above the Desert is the fourteenth volume in the series co-published by the University of New Mexico Press and the Historical Society of New Mexico. This series of books brings to the interested public topics that might not otherwise be available, such as this present study. Storms Above the Desert, for example, delves into the realm of the history of science in New Mexico. Not only is this book the first in this series to deal with science, but Storms Above the Desert is also one of only a few book-length studies on scientific research in a state that for over forty years has been the site of investigations that are on the leading edge in their fields.
There are, of course, many individuals and organizations that devote themselves to the study of the history of science. The focus of this book is the Langmuir Atmospheric Laboratory on the crest of the Magdalena Mountains some twenty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. At first brush this would seem a very limited subject indeed; however, as so often happens in science, the history of an institution and the people associated with it reflect major currents in scientific debate as well as concerns of society in general. In Storms Above the Desert, a study of the Langmuir Atmospheric Laboratory is inseparable from the broader areas of thunderstorm research and weather modification. As this book makes clear, weather modification has general application to economic, social, and even political issues. This book develops these larger themes as a background to set the stage for the particulars of Langmuir and the scientists who continue to work there.
The authors did not content themselves with the narrative history of the founding of the Langmuir Laboratory. They delve into the technical matters of scientific research, but they do so in a most engaging and easily understood account. While the scientific debates associated with weather modification and atmospheric research are beyond the ken of many historians and non-specialists, the authors and researchers of this volume are trained to write and also have the technical education to address the subject. This book is a fine example of the contribution practitioners of the Technical Communications degree offered at New Mexico Tech can make in presenting scientific work that is accessible to all readers. Professor James Corey and his students, and in particular Joe Chew, present in Storms Above the Desert an authoritative and captivating history of the atmospheric research conducted in New Mexico since 1935. The members of the Publication Committee of the Historical Society Board are delighted to sponsor this book.
The Board of Directors of the Historical Society of New Mexico is made up of interested citizens and representatives from the academic community. The current officers and members of the board are: Spencer Wilson, president; Charles Bennett, 1st vice president; Michael L. Olsen, 2nd vice president; John W. Grassham, secretary; M. M. Bloom, Jr., treasurer; and Carol Cellucci, executive director. The members of the board are: John P. Conron, Thomas E. Chavez, Richard N. Ellis, Austin Hoover, John P. Wilson, Albert H. Schroeder, Loraine Lavender, William J. Lock, Octavia Fellin, Myra Ellen Jenkins, Susan Berry, Darlis Miller, Morgan Nelson, Robert R. White, Robert J.Torrez, and Elvis E. Fleming.