Radiation is the driving force for the general circulation of the atmosphere and controls the Earth's climate. Ozone is responsible for the warm stratosphere and protects life on Earth from harmful solar ultraviolet radiation. In July 1959, the International Radiation Commission and the International Ozone Commission organized a joint meeting in Oxford, United Kingdom. The meeting took place just after the conclusion of the world's first international global observing program in the Earth sciences—the International Geophysical Year of 1957/58. The “Symposia on Radiation and Ozone” at the Oxford meeting included many reports with first results from the IGY, but there were also papers that foreshadowed future developments in atmospheric science. We take this opportunity on the 50th anniversary of the Oxford meeting to present a brief account of the roles of the Radiation and Ozone Commissions, and, more broadly, their interactions with the international science structure, in advancing atmospheric science over the last century. We also take a look at some of the topics discussed and the key figures at the 1959 Oxford meeting.

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College Park, Maryland

Radebeul, Germany

Munich, Germany

University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany