Tuesday Talk on Zoom – “A First Woman in Meteorology: Joanne Simpson & the Tropical Atmosphere”

July 6, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

A leading authority on weather, climate and human affairs, Prof. James Rodger Fleming will give a visual presentation on the subject of his recent book First Woman: Joanne Simpson and the Tropical Atmosphere for a Tuesday Talk on July 6 at 4:00 pm.  He will give his lecture on this trailblazing female meteorologist via Zoom only as part of our summer series of talks.

Fleming is a professor of science, technology and society, and his subject is the story of the first American woman to earn a Ph.D. in meteorology.  Her discovery?  Clouds are the spark plugs in the heat engine of the tropical atmosphere, and heat from the tropics drives the planet’s general circulation. Atmospheric scientists did not know this in the 1950s, but Simpson did. She held a passion for clouds and severe storms. She flew into and above them, photographed, modeled and attempted to modify them, studying them from all angles.

Most histories of meteorology focus on polar and temperate regions and the accomplishments of male scientists.  Simpson’s work on tropical atmosphere did not fit this pattern. She held two university professorships, mentored a generation of meteorologists and blazed a trail for women in a male-dominated field.

Fleming is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Colby College, Waterville, ME, and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. His teaching bridges the sciences and the humanities, and his research interests involve the history of geophysical sciences, especially meteorology and climate change.  He has written extensively on the history of weather, climate, technology and the environment including social, cultural and intellectual aspects.

The admission for the Fleming talk is $20 per person and is available on Zoom only. To order visit https://ventfort07062021.eventbrite.com  The Summer 2021 series of Tuesday Talks is sponsored by Ventfort Hall board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.