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The "Bulletin" Interviews



I like this book.


It contains 32 interviews with well-known meteorologists. Each interview was originally published in the WMO Bulletin. In the book, the author Hessam Taba recalls where the idea of the interviews came from : "...when I came back from my summer holiday in Sept 1980, I heard that Professor Jacques Van Mieghem had died. His sudden disappearance affected me deeply; we had worked together for many years and I had conceived a profound respect for him. I wished very much that I had kept something - his thoughts expressed in a letter or his recorded voice ... It was then that it occurred to me that, even if I had missed my chance with Van Mieghem, I could still document the reminiscences and reflections of other eminent scientists."

What I like is that each interview touches on the personal side of the meteorologist, as well as the professional ... how they came to be interested in meteorology, why they'd chosen it as their profession. There is also a hilarious account of the author's student-teacher relationship with Professor Carl-Gustaf Rossby (which for some reason I keep reading over again because it's so funny, I didn't know Rossby was such a character), and a delightful description of one of the meteorologists' houses (J. Bessemoulin) in the Pyrenees which was converted from an old water mill so that the river flowed under the living room. This captured my imagination but I wonder what happens when there's a flood and the river rises. Although in a remote spot the house had modern amenities and even a fax to receive met. analyses and forecast maps.

At the end of the interview, Mr Taba would usually ask the interviewee if he had any advice to give to a young person who was aspiring to be a meteorologist. I agree with a lot of the answers they gave :

"...it is a happy profession...The subject is intrinsically attractive, it is related to nature and the environment, it has no unpleasant overtones and is entirely beneficial to the human race..." - Professor R.C. Sutcliffe

"...Personally, I am very glad that I chose meteorology. It enabled me to get to know many interesting people ... and not only meteorologists, since meteorology interacts with many other fields of human activity. It was wonderful for me to be able to meet so many eminent people from different countries at WMO meetings ..." - Mr J. Bessemoulin

"...one thing that I would advocate is that the young person spend as much time as possible out of doors; climb mountains, go to the seashore, get a feel for the atmosphere and the environment. I cannot help feeling that a great many of our modern meteorologists do not know how the atmosphere operates; they are rarely outside, most have never made regular weather observations ... They see satellite pictures, synoptic analyses, but I have the impression that they are not acquainted with Nature as she actually runs. Since the atmospheric sciences deal with natural phenomena, you should live with them for a while ..." - Professor H.E. Landsburg


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