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10 Famous Meteorologists


4 of 10

Alfred Wegener
Famous meteorologist and interdisciplinary scientist Alfred Wegener was born in Berlin, Germany in November of 1880 and passed away in Greenland in November of 1930. He was most famous for his theory of Continental Drift. Early in his life, he studied astronomy and received his Ph.D. in this field from the University of Berlin in 1904. Eventually, however, he became fascinated by meteorology, which was a relatively new field at that time.

Wegener was a record-holding balloonist and married the daughter of another famous meteorologist, Wladimir Peter Köppen. Because he was so interested in balloons, he created the first balloons that were used to track weather and air masses. He lectured on meteorology quite often, and eventually these lectures were compiled into a book. Called The Thermodynamics of the Atmosphere, it became a standard textbook for meteorological students.

In order to better study the circulation of polar air, Wegener was part of several expeditions that went to Greenland. At that time, he was trying to prove that the jet stream actually existed. Whether it was real or not was a highly controversial topic at the time. He and a companion went missing in November of 1930 on a Greenland expedition. Wegener’s body was not found until May of 1931.

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