Some of the contributions of Victor Paul Starr (1909–76) as a scholar and teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are described. His work on the atmospheric branch of the earth's angular momentum cycle is emphasized. Certain recent efforts to include the oceanic and solid earth branches of the cycle are discussed.

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* Revised version of Tenth Annual Victor Paul Starr Memorial Lecture on “Unity and Diversity in the Climatic System” held on 16 November 1988 at the Center for Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA