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Atmospheric Research in New Mexico



With the Assistance of Jim Corey

Introduction by Bernard Vonnegut

Located high in the Magdalena Mountains of west-central New Mexico, the Irving Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research is the only such lab in the United States. For the past twenty-five years, scientists there have pioneered the exploration of the anatomy and life cycle of thunderstorms and lightning.

Before Langmuir Laboratory opened, scientists operated on a shoestring, using military-surplus equipment to track, test, and penetrate thunderstorms. From these early studies in the 1940s through cloud-seeding experiments in the 1950s to modern studies of the physical dynamics of thunderclouds, research in New Mexico and at Langmuir has been in the forefront of the field. These achievements are due both to a succession of strong leaders and dedicated researchers and to the unique advantages of New Mexico’s climate.

This authoritative history of Langmuir Laboratory and atmospheric research in New Mexico is rich with anecdotes that reveal the human side of the scientific enterprise. The author (who first became interested in the subject as a student technician at Langmuir) interviewed many of the leading figures in the field and drew on unpublished archival material as well as a wide variety of popular and technical articles. Historical photographs, many by the scientists themselves, are also featured in the book.

Joe Chew is a technical writer for a microcomputer firm in San Francisco.

Published in cooperation with the Historical Society of New Mexico

Published on the web with permission of the author, Joe Chew

Cover photograph by Bill Winn   UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO PRESS
Cover design by Milenda Nan Oh Lee   ISBN 0-8263-0984-4

Table of Contents

Next: Foreword

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