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  • Aug 1, 1913
    (b.) -
    May 28, 1998
    (d.)

Bio/Description

An internationally-recognized Norwegian meteorologist. He was part of a Princeton, New Jersey team that performed the first successful numerical weather prediction using the ENIAC electronic computer in 1950. He was also a professor of meteorology at the University of Copenhagen and director of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. He was born in Kristiania, Norway to the deaf teacher Lauritz Hansen Fjørtoft and his wife Anne Birgitte Marie Schultze. The family eventually moved to Trondheim, where he took his examen artium in 1933. He thereupon moved to Oslo to study natural science, with meteorology as specialization. His teacher was Halvor Solberg, who earlier had been a student of Vilhelm Bjerknes. On 29 March 1939, he married and in the same year, moved to Bergen, where he became a meteorologist at the Forecasting Division of Western Norway. Both in Oslo and Bergen, he was engaged in political left-wing activism, and was a member of the socialist students' league Sosialistisk studenterlag in Bergen. In 1946, he published a treatise on the stability of circular vortices, which gained international recognition. In the same year, he was appointed meteorologist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, where he came in contact with Arnt Eliassen. In 1949, he was invited to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, United States. Here, he joined a team composed of the American meteorologists Jule Charney, Philip Thomson, Larry Gates, and applied mathematician John von Neumann, who performed the first successful numerical prediction using the ENIAC electronic computer. They published their work on numerical weather prediction in the periodical Tellus in November 1950. In 1951, he moved back to Norway, where he took a grand doctorate at the University of Oslo on the stability of atmospheric waves. In 1953, he moved back to Princeton, where he stayed for a year. He was also a professor in theoretical meteorology at the University of Copenhagen from 1950 to 1955. In 1956, he joined the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Upon leaving the University of Copenhagen in 1955, he was appointed director of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, where he stayed until 1978. He was also Professor II at the University of Oslo from 1967 to 1983. He was the recipient of several decorations in his later life. In 1967, he was decorated as Knight, First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. He was awarded the Fridtjof Nansen Prize for Excellent Research in 1977, and the International Meteorological Organization Prize in 1991. In “Turing’s Cathedral” by George Dyson he is seen in a photo of The ENIAC meteorological expedition, Aberdeen Proving Ground, March 1950.
  • Date of Birth:

    Aug 1, 1913
  • Date of Death:

    May 28, 1998
  • Gender:

    Male
  • Noted For:

    Participant on a Princeton, New Jersey team that performed the first successful numerical weather prediction using the ENIAC electronic computer in 1950
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: