Modern Meterology


Who came up with the idea for volunteer weather observers?

That credit goes to American physicist and mathematician Joseph Henry (1797–1878), the second president of the National Academy of Sciences who was also the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Henry made advances in the area of electromagnetics, which led to his study in electromagnetic relays, which, finally, was the basis for Samuel Morse’s (1791–1872) invention of the telegraph. While secretary at the Smithsonian, it dawned on Henry that the wonderful new telegraph could be used to link together weather observers throughout the country who could then relay the information to Washington, D.C. This became the network of volunteer observers that we have today.


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