Meteorologists Make the First Computerized Weather Prediction (Great Events from History II: Ecology and the Environment Series)
Article abstract: Using one of the first electronic digital computers, John von Neumann and his colleagues attempted to prove that future weather could be quantitatively predicted from current information about the atmosphere.
Summary of Event
In 1950, in one of the first applications of electronic computers to civilian use, mathematician John von Neumann and two collaborators attempted to predict the weather over the North American continent over a twenty-four-hour period. Electronic digital computers had been developed during World War II, in order to perform mathematical calculations of military interest much more quickly than could be done by pencil-and-paper calculation. At the close of the war, scientists were eager to identify civilian applications for the new computing machines.
Von Neumann had been one of the many eminent intellectuals to emigrate from Germany as the Nazi Party came to power. He had come to the United States in 1933, settling in Princeton, New Jersey, where he was given a position at the Institute for Advanced Study, a research institute set up on the Princeton University campus at which leading scientists, mathematicians, and other scholars could devote their full energies to basic research, freed of the teaching responsibilities of most university faculty members. Within a decade, von Neumann had become a consultant to numerous government projects, including the atomic bomb...
(The entire section is 1950 words.)
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