Joseph Smagorinsky (1924–2005) was a forceful and powerful figure in meteorology during the last half of the twentieth century. He served as director of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) for nearly 30 yr (1955–83); and during his tenure as director, this organization substantially contributed to advances in weather forecasting and climate diagnostics/prediction. The purpose of this research is to explore Smagorinsky s philosophy of science and style of management which were central to the success of GFDL. Information herein comes from his early scientific publications, personal letters and notes in the possession of his family, several oral histories, and letters of reminiscence from scientists who worked within and outside GFDL.

The principal results of the study are that 1) early inspiration and development of Smagorinsky's scientific philosophy came from his contact with Jule Charney and Harry Wexler, 2) his doctoral dissertation ideally prepared him for appointment as director of the U.S. Weather Bureau's long-range numerical prediction project in 1955—the General Circulation Research Section (later renamed GFDL), 3) he masterfully assembled a team of researchers to attack the challenging problem of general circulation modeling, and 4) he exhibited an authoritarian style of rule tempered by protection of the scientists from disrupting outside influence while celebrating the elitism and esprit de corps that characterized the laboratory.

A list of Smagorinsky's management principles is found in the appendix. Several of these tenets have been interspersed in the main body of the paper in support of actions he took at GFDL.

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Footnotes

National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma, and Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada