LeRoy Meisinger was a U.S. Weather Bureau meteorologist and aeronaut who worked vigorously to bring meteorology to the aid of aviation in the post–World War I period. He was killed at the age of 29 in a scientific ballooning accident that has been detailed in a companion paper by Lewis and Moore. Meisinger's personality and scientific profile are reconstructed by examination of his oeuvre, which contains research contributions augmented by popular articles in the magazines of the period.
Meisinger's personal characteristics were those of a quiet, scholarly man with strong interests in science, music, and art. His experiences as a Signal Corps weather officer during World War I inclined him toward a career in meteorology. While stationed at the Fort Omaha Balloon School, he became intrigued with the possibilities of using the free balloon as a platform for tracking air currents.
As a research meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Bureau after the war, Meisinger melded adventurous scientific ballooning with the more painstaking and arduous task of scrutinizing data from the limited upper-air network of kite stations. His principal research contribution was a form of differential analysis that extrapolated surface data to the 1- and 2-km levels by using climatological statistics from the upper-air network. The impressive line of research he pioneered at the bureau came to an immediate and abrupt end with his accidental death in 1924.
Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series on the life of LeRoy Meisinger. Part II will appear in our February 1995 issue.